“I speak for me” was the clear message that Mississippi Mills Mayor and Former Lanark County Warden Christa Lowry issued this past week in response to a vicious social media posting that accused her of photoshopping her headshot picture for an election campaign announcement. The post contained two pictures; her new campaign photo and one taken within a few days of the first. It went on to state she was sending a negative message to those suffering from poor self-esteem and poor body images. Lowry has indicated her intention to run for reelection as mayor. She posted the following on her Facebook page along with screen shots from the original attack post.
“Someone sent me these screenshots today. The post and accusations hit so far below the belt a response was required. For well over 4 years I have not responded to any of the ludicrous statements, or the fictitious (and sometimes vicious) assertions made by this person about me. But these latest comments cross way over the line and are far beyond what could be considered political discourse. I respect myself too much to sit by and let someone attempt to body-shame me or suggest how I feel about my own body. No one speaks for me.
For the record, these photos were taken days apart and no photoshop was used. I don’t even have photoshop. The differences: on the left I’m standing in front of a big sunny window wearing makeup and used a flattering camera angle (campaign photo). On the right, my makeup and hair aren’t “done” and the photo is taken from a lower position (outdoor shot). That’s it. (Although, I did notice this person altered the photo on the right – I was wearing a bright turquoise shirt that day but it has all been made to look grey…funny).
And you know what; I think I look great in both! One is planned and intentional, and in the other I was just happy to see my good friend Linda Seccaspina and have strawberry shortcake at the Appleton Museum. Both are awesome photos and neither makes me feel even a drop less confident, beautiful or worthy. It’s about damn time we stopped telling women otherwise.
When did it become OK in our society to make baseless accusations and provide uninvited comments about women’s bodies? And what does any of that have to do with my politics or community leadership?
We must stop accepting this kind of behaviour in our community and in politics at ALL levels. We need to do so much better than this.”
Hometown News caught up with Lowry for her take on the situation and the outpouring of support received from the community. She agreed that sometimes you need to let things go but sometimes you have to stand up. She also remarked that by speaking out for herself she hopes it gives confidence to others in similar situations. She stressed that politicians should be judged on their policies, platforms, and performance, not their physical appearance. In the humble opinion of the author she excels on all of those points and the residents of Mississippi Mills have been well served by her leadership.
The benefit of her positive response is making the public aware that, even in this day and age there are troglodytes and dinosaurs still roaming among us and that we all need to be ready to stand up for what’s right and for our rights, just like Mayor Lowry.