Female Government Official's Cleavage Should Never Have Been Photoshopped

Rathika SitsabaiesanOur friends to the north are in the midst of a Photoshopping scandal. It seems the cleavage shown by MP (that's member of Parliament) Rathika Sitsabaiesan, a 29-year-old New Democrat, in her headshot offended someone involved in placing photos of government officials on Canada's official Parliament website. So they closed up the gap with a few moves of the mouse.

Naughty, naughty! Uncovered by The Contrarian, the "parliamentary cover-up" has been dubbed CleavageGate by Jezebel, the site that makes it a point to uncover Photoshopping disasters. I'll agree, it was bad form for anyone to go messing around with an MP's boobies. But can we just talk about Sitsabaiesan's twins for a moment? After all, she put them out there.


The MP knew she was sitting down for a photo shoot that would be displayed on the government website, and she chose a shirt that displayed her ample decolletage. Didn't she take a gander at the other pictures on a government site? These photos are traditionally similar to those on corporate sites; they reflect the garb worn by the employees of the corporation.

Professional attire is pretty standard. The same guidelines your high school guidance counselor offered for your college interview outfit should hold in an office or the House of Commons. I have a hard time seeing any corporation OKing a shot on their website that features a woman in a low-cut shirt. Just as I'm willing to bet they wouldn't let a man wear a tank top or a baseball cap in their photo.

This isn't about femininity or sexism. It's about respect for one's office.

The House of Commons should have left Sitsabaiesan's chest alone, but not because boobs are off-limits. The picture should have been left for the sake of transparency on the government's behalf. Her constituents should have had their own chance to make up their mind about whether or not they think their MP has the appropriate reverence for the job. It looks like this Photoshopper did this MP a favor.

Do you think a low-cut shirt is inappropriate in a professional headshot? What about the removal of her cleavage?


Image via House of Commons

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