Sexism in politics is nauseating

Sexism in politics is nauseating

At eight weeks pregnant, most of my workday was spent suppressing the urge to vomit on whomever I was interviewing.

That memory was why I was momentarily floored by the recent revelation that Serena Williams won the Australian Open final while at the same stage in her pregnancy, triumphing 6-4, 6-4 in the final.

My amazement abated when I also remembered she’s a supreme athlete and sports role model for the ages—an absolute pro.

Why shouldn’t she prevail in her area of expertise while her uterus was occupied? I certainly wasn’t less able to quote ’90s TV like a pro—my area of expertise— when I had a tummy-expanding tenant.

Thing is, being a woman isn’t an impediment. Sure, we have socially constructed road-blocks, but we, in our respective areas of expertise, are good enough, smart enough and it really doesn’t matter at all whether you like us as we succeed. (Ten points if you can identify that bungled ’90s-ism.)

That’s what I like about our premier, actually.

She is an ace politician. She can deliver and take sharp political blows in equal measure and still come out unruffled, mastering the balance between light and serious better than the majority of her contemporaries.

She’s confident, knows her material and doesn’t back down. Like Williams with tennis. Like me, with ’90s TV quotes.

BC Liberals know this, I’d assume. That’s why she’s their party leader.

Yet lately they seem to want to make her sound like she’s a victim and I can’t help but think that it’s a terrible bit of strategy that not only undermines the premier but women in general.

This all came up in a debate a week ago when BC NDP leader John Horgan repeatedly interrupted Clark. He was snarky—like everyone else—and at one point he said she should ”take a few minutes and read something.”

Clark handled it well, but party supporters were ridiculously excited about it.

Mike McDonald, who was previously Clark’s chief of staff got onto the Twitter and wrote “…But today’s radio debate takes the cake. (Horgan) is clearly threatened by a strong female leader.”

Pamela Martin, another party insider, took to Huffington Post to talk about Horgan’s comments and equated them to casual sexism, noting it has no place in our political system.

Then all these women on the a political gossip page I follow took her words to heart and started posting about how they couldn’t vote for the NDP, now that they know Horgan is a sexist.

This threw me for a loop and made me actually wonder: Is John Horgan really a universal-daycare shilling sexist or was he simply utilizing the rules of engagement?

It’s the latter, in case you don’t know where I’m going with this.

Politicians are unpleasant during debates. They’re not making a case to be invited for dinner.

That’s where they’re supposed to be elbowing their way in and making a point, and we as observers take the theatrical with a grain of salt while we listen to where they stand on issues that affect our lives. As for how they conducted themselves, Horgan doesn’t have to like Clark. Clark doesn’t have to like Horgan. They’re opponents of equal skill fighting for different things.

Calling what happened during the debate sexism doesn’t forward the case for women’s equality. What it did was capitalize on these unfortunate themes for the sake of political gain and that makes me a little nauseated.

BC Election 2017

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