Scottish National Party MP Mhairi Black is used to breaking records.
At just 20 years of age, she became the youngest person to be elected to the House of Commons when she defeated Labour Shadow Foreign Secretary Douglas Alexander in the 2015 General Election. But this week, Black has become the first MP to achieve a very different accolade.
Speaking during a debate about misogyny in Britain, which was called by Labour MP Melanie Onn, Black became the first MP to use the C-word in Parliament. She follows Conservative peer Baroness Jenkin, who used the C-word during a debate on the abuse of political candidates in January, making her the first peer to do so in the House of Lords.
Black’s speech started off with a fairly upbeat tone, as she told the chamber that she and her friends often laugh at the most ridiculous and bizarre insults that she receives online. Though the atmosphere quickly changed when she began reciting the more harrowing and aggressive comments. While she acknowledged that the graphic language would make people uncomfortable, she stated that she was not prepared to dilute the reality of such an important issue.
I struggle to see any joke in being systematically called a dyke, a rug muncher, a slut, a w****, a scruffy bint. I've been told you can't put lipstick on a pig, let the dirty b**** each s*** and die.
I could soften some of this by talking about the C-word, but the reality is there is no softening when you are targeted with these words.
Black asserts that the the vast majority of the abuse she receives is highly sexualised and misogynistic.
All of these insults have been tailored to me because I am a woman.
We can kid ourselves that there as a few bad anonymous people on Twitter – but it’s not. This is everyday common language. When it goes unchallenged it becomes normalised – and when it becomes normalised it creates an environment that allows women to be abused.