Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Distaff Side

The electioneering car-crash of "Gordon Brown meets Gillian Duffy" may just have put paid to all hope of Labour surviving another day courtesy of the resurgence of the Lib Dems.

The irony. Throughout this campaign, women have been virtually invisible. And I say this with no disrespect to our new First Ladies of politics, but frankly they've been there to look decorative, supportive, and ideally fecund. They are allowed the occasional innocuous tweet or video appearance, but let's not fool ourselves, they are not there because they have spent decades on the political frontline and have something to say.

There have been a few low-key outings for Labour's Yvette Cooper and the Tories shoe-tree Theresa May, but Harriet Harman, Labour's most senior woman was told to shut up by Lord Mandelson when she ventured an opinion on election strategy. How dare she? What was she thinking? The men were talking. According to The Daily Telegraph quoting a Labour party spokesman: "Harriet said she made a suggestion – only for Peter to tell her to shut up and that he didn't want to hear from her again. She has been virtually invisible ever since."

Three male party leaders. No serious role for any frontline female politician. Silent, fragrant political wives. Male pundit after male pundit pontificating on the papers. Massed ranks of silly female floating voters who couldn't make their mind up. And the entire election jumps track when a gobby Rochdale pensioner who doesn't know she is supposed to keep quiet and nod a lot, says what she thinks.

Vagina monologue? We didn't get a word in. Up to now.

Stop press: Women have Opinions. Does that make them bigots? Don't think so.

Election 2010 - "Women are to be seen and not heard". Somebody write it on a piece of scented lavender-coloured notepaper and pass it to Mrs Duffy and all the women like her who know what they think. (Make sure the cameras don't catch you doing it though.)

16 comments:

billatbingley said...

Caught the event on the BBC Political News on the internet.
What a wonderful gaffe for Glorious Gordon. He has really shot himself in the foot this time!

Well done for your speedy posting of the event.

Steve said...

Looks like you picked a good election to blog. Hang on to your hat -- apparently he went back to apologize!

Potty Mummy said...

Which makes it all the more ironic that this was billed as 'the mumsnet election' - but you knew that anyone. Keep up the good work is all I can say Wifey - they need their balloon puncturing and you're doing a great job of that.

Sarah said...

Why should any sane woman want to play a man's game?
Really
The Greek democratic model was never perfect, never really democratic. Can we just get on an make something of our lives while the suits make a big song and dance about nothing?

Julia Manning said...

At 2020health we aimed to make a point with our all-women authored manifesto for health: some great ideas from some inspiring women who are just not given the platforms they deserve! Just got to keep going!
http://www.2020health.org/export/sites/2020/pdf/2020womanMASTERfinal.pdf

John Woodman said...

Sorry....what's your point?!

Troy said...

Read between the lines John, can't you sense a wistfully yearning for the return of Margaret Thatcher?

gordon-bennett said...

I don't agree that a woman's place is in the kitchen, I think a woman's place is in the wrong.

Emma said...

Having an opinion doesn't make you a bigot. Being racist and having bigoted opinions does.

A Modern Mother said...

I like Emma's comment. Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

Retiredandcrazy said...

I think that us women are cute! We need strong men to look after us. Which one of us would have thought up the jolly jape of selling off the country's gold just as it was going to double in price, taxing our pension funds until they became bankrupt and useless, ruining the economny and letting the bad guy bankers off the hook? Well done Gordy, you are my hero.

Retiredandcrazy said...

And a man wouldn't have misspelt economy. (Or should that be mis-spelt?)

Jennifer@alphamummy said...

It is completely lame that there are so few women in politics. I think the Rochdale pensioner issue is less about her being a woman than her being an actual civilian talking to a politician. It's all so "handled" these days that the whole process seems remote from anything real.

Troutie said...

Couldn't agree more.

On a totally different subject, when I saw Andrew Lloyd Webber tell a failed contestant of that ridiculous programme that she was "the prettiest little thing"
I nearly threw my television out of the window! I cannot believe that women are still subjected to such patronising B.S.

I'm always thinking how far we haven't come.......

mutleythedog said...

I agree - we need more women in politics... ahem....not for any personal reasons obviously....

Gappy said...

Really interesting post. Interesting comments too!

I've just written a post about Bigotgate, immigration and the election myself and have linked to you - hope that's o.k.