Anyone who followed last week’s sexism crisis in Westminster could be forgiven for thinking that the tone of British politics has descended into the sort of crude farce that Viz magazine churns out.
One of the hottest topics in the UK government last week centered on the legs of Labor Deputy Leader Angela Rayner.
Another concerned how it came about that Tory MP Neil Parish decided to entertain himself during a parliamentary session by browsing pornography on his phone in front of his colleagues, some of whom then accused him of sexual harassment.
It’s all gone a bit Continue in the House of Commons, leading observers to wonder if the values underlying British politics have evolved at all since the heyday of the bad old boys club in the mid-20th century.
A report was published in the last weekend post on Sunday provided compelling evidence of the extent to which sexism and classism still thrive in Westminster and in the media covering events there.
A report that was quickly condemned as chilling misogyny quoted anonymous MPs as claiming Rayner had a habit of distracting Boris Johnson during Prime Minister’s Question Time by provocatively “crossing and uncrossing her legs” to get Johnson “off.” to bring his footsteps”. “. They compared it to the infamous scene in the film primal instinct, with Sharon Stone.
According to one of the unnamed MPs quoted in the post OfficeRayner, who comes from underprivileged background in Stockport, “knows she doesn’t match Boris’s Oxford Union debating training, but she has other skills that he lacks”.
In the fallout, senior Conservative MP Caroline Nokes condemned the general culture of “male entitlement” in the party. “I’m as hard as they come. I really don’t care if pathetic little men who want to feel more important use misogynistic nicknames and smear to harm me,” she said The times. “What worries me is that it would hurt, upset and harm a less resilient person.”
No one could describe Angela Rayner as anything but a tough person. She strongly condemned the story about her, saying she found it “shameful,” but there’s little chance it will upset her. She has seen far worse in her time. Rayner overcame a tough childhood to rise to the highest ranks in Britain’s Labor Party.
Born into the working class, she became a caregiver to her bipolar mother from the age of 10, became pregnant at 15 and dropped out of school a year later. She has even described how the dysfunction of her early life prepared her for a career in politics. “The trauma, the screaming, the unpredictability, that’s my bread and butter. That’s life, I’m used to it. In fact, I find it really weird when people are nice,” she said The times.
Regardless of their sanity, the routine sexism that women politicians face simply because they hold office, and the impact this has on the goal of better representation of women in politics, is the subject of increasing scrutiny.
Closer to home, the exam focused more on online culture. Like Rayner, female politicians in Ireland have reason to wonder when “people are nice” and to recognize a work environment often marked by “trauma and screaming”.
Recent research by data scientist Dr. Ian Richardson, quoted by the National Women’s Council of Ireland, shows that between September 2020 and September 2021, female councilors in Ireland were eight times more likely to be verbally abused online than their male counterparts.
Of course, politics is a dirty game. Men are not exempt from hate and hate online, but there is worrying evidence that the daily barrage of abuse is preventing women from pursuing or pursuing a career in politics.
Su Moore, Executive Director of the Jo Cox Foundation in the UK, said: “We know that one of the main problems preventing more women from getting involved in politics and women from leaving politics is this problem of abuse and intimidation .”
It’s a dilemma with which former Labor Party Senator Lorraine Higgins is all too familiar. Over the past year, she has admitted to constant personal attacks and death threats
sexual violence and harassment contributed to her decision to leave politics in 2015.
The toxic quality of online debate and the particular way in which women are attacked is one of the defining issues of contemporary feminist discourse, and one that we are unlikely to resolve anytime soon.
In the meantime, there are things we can do to restore balance and make politics a more welcoming, less hostile environment for women pursuing careers in it. Better, fairer and stronger representation of women in the Dáil is an important step in the right direction.
Quotas play an important role in this. One of the reasons women are disproportionately affected by a culture of abuse is that they remain a minority. The more we can nurture and encourage women to run for office, the more solidarity they will find when elected.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/sexism-and-abuse-part-and-parcel-of-political-life-41604298.html Sexism and abuse are an integral part of political life