Unfortunately For All Of Us, The Background Of Theresa May’s Brexit Video Said Far More Than She Did

Her body language and production choices were the most interesting part...

Theresa May

by Georgia Aspinall |

Yesterday, Theresa May did what we’ve all been waiting for for the past three years. She explained what the fuck is going on with Brexit. April fools. She didn’t. What she actually did was attempt a PR revival as her prime ministerial ship sinks faster and faster, ultimately saying more with her body language and prop choice than her actual mouth.

Set in the House of Commons, the video shows May lounging on a sofa (or at least attempting to lounge), delivering an informal style speech going over the basics of what we already now. She tried to negotiate a deal, brought it to Parliament only to be rejected three times, and now she’s conducting cross-party talks to find what deal would be suitable – and actually approved by parliament.

Her defensive take on discussing Brexit with the Labour party says a lot more about her own party’s criticisms than it does the public, whom are patiently waiting for our MPs to act like actual professional adults elected to serve our best interest and you know, work together as one would expect of any democratic government. However, she does clarify one important detail that we’ve been waiting for, if parliament can’t agree a deal – we won’t leave the EU.

‘The choice that lies ahead of us is either leaving the European Union with a deal or not leaving at all’ she says, before confirming she wants to honour the result of the 2016 EU Referendum. As has become typical of May’s Brexit speeches, she said little that we do not already know, and resultingly many are more interested in her body language and production choices.

The shaky camera is the most notably strange tactic. Are handheld cameras meant to dictate some sort of vulnerability and make her seem more human? Honestly, they just give most of us a headache, and imply everyone at Downing Street has abandoned a sinking ship, leaving her only with an intern and an iPhone. The laidback ‘sitting on a sofa’ setting is of course meant to imply the same humanity – a world away from her typical stiff speeches. However, her obvious discomfort with such an informal setting only makes for awkward viewing.

Body language expert Mike Carter agrees, analysing May’s obvious media training and picking apart just how paradoxical the video really is. ‘In many ways her body language reveals that she’s a bit of a contradiction,’ he told Grazia, ‘trying to be warm and approachable but in reality, stubborn and inflexible.’ Pointing to her hand movements, head tilts and pattern of breathing- he had the following insights when watching her video...

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Theresa May Brexit Video Body Language - Grazia (stacked)
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CREDIT: Twitter @theresa_may

Theresa May Brexit Video Body Language - Grazia (stacked)

'Her hand movements are restrained,' says Carter, 'She often turns her palms up which suggests warmth and gentle persuasion. Palms down is much more authoritative. This is a bit hard to see as only the top half of her body is lit and the words obscure her hands - but look closely!'

Of course, non-experts also had a lot to say about the video. Many pointed to her choice of a glass of filled water at her side as a show of optimism, although some are assuming it's a tumbler full of gin to drown our sorrows (it's a fair assumption, to be honest- we'd need that much gin too in her position).

Whether or not you're here for May's new brand of awkward nonchalance (kind of like every indy-teen hero from a noughties rom com) or not, it's a clear attempt at a PR revival as her resignation seems imminent. Quite sad really, who else will give us Brexit videos with production reminiscent of The Blair Witch Project?

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