British Man/Woman Posters

Posted by Steven Seidman on Saturday, June 24, 2017

British election propaganda campaigns—on billboards and posters—have increasingly emphasized party leaders, rather than issues. Some have said that this is a manifestation of British political marketing becoming more "Americanized" (see my previous post on this development). Image over substance has become more prominent.

Most attention getting is the visually outrageous merger of male and female features on posters.

The first example of this was probably issued by the British Labour Party in 2001. It caricatured Conservative Party opposition leader William Hague sporting Margaret Thatcher's hairdo and earrings. Later, Thatcher's hairstyle appeared a number of times on opposition leaders on posters and billboards.

A recent example of this image-manipulation creativity was produced by the British Liberal Democrats, which featured the face of Nigel Farage (the former leader of the UK Independence Party) wearing women's clothing, a giant pearl necklace, and with Prime Minister Theresa May's hair. The slogan made the Lib Dems's point clear: "Vote her get him." Farage was and is all for "Brexit" (the exit of Britain from the European Union), and the poster attempted to link May with the "UKIP model of Brexit," according to the Liberal Democrats.