The only woman who has ever served as Britain’s highest-ranking judge delivered the bombshell ruling against Mr. Johnson, and many Britons took to social media to call it the revenge of the “girly swot.”
Since becoming Prime Minister in July, Mr. Johnson has come under criticism for using sexist language against his critics, like referring to Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, as “a great big girl’s blouse” — slang for a coward.
In Britain, “swot” is an insulting term for a student who works too hard. In a recent memo, Mr. Johnson called a former prime minister, David Cameron, “a girly swot” — a double-barreled schoolboy taunt with an edge of chauvinism.
“If you want to insult a woman, call her a prostitute. If you want to insult a man, call him a woman,” said Amanda Montell, the author of “Wordslut: A Feminist guide to taking back the English language.”
Three women played central parts in Mr. Johnson’s legal setback: Lady Hale, the president of the Supreme Court, who announced the ruling; and the principal plaintiffs in the two cases against the prime minister that the court decided — Gina Miller, a businesswoman and activist, and Joanna Cherry, a member of Parliament.
Social media users were quick to note the role of women and link it to Mr. Johnson’s own words.
“Girly Swot Power” and “Never underestimate the girly swot,” people wrote, above pictures of the women.
“I’m a Girly Swot too and I wanted to signal my admiration and respect for Lady Hale,” Trudy Harpham, a professor at London South Bank University, wrote on Twitter. “Hope she becomes a role model for many young women/girls.”
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