i got sent an article today from the northern advocate, written by one eva bradley. it's not available on the internet, which is a good thing cos i don't want to link to it anyway. but in the interests of having any kind of informed discussion on it, i'm going to have to include some excerpts.
the title of the piece is "can't we have some pretty pollies". and here are some of the points ms bradley makes:
...And that's when I saw the text: the new Italian cabinet. Was this for real? Were these women beautiful and intelligent? Was it actually possible to be sexy and be taken seriously at the same time? In Europe, apparently so.
... Italian PM Silvio Berlusconi has an ex-showgirl in his cabinet and boasts of his right-wing female politicians looking hotter than the opposition's. In Italy, according to the boss, it's politically relevant to point out your rivals have "no taste" in women.
... Across the Med in Spain... A publicity shot with Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zaperto shows him centre stage with what appears to be a virtual harem of high heels and short skirts.
... And so here it is, straight: our female politicians are ugly. With a few forgettable exceptions, they are old, thick around the middle and apparently shop and do their hair at the same place as their male counterparts.
Which wouldn't be a problem if they were there only for their brains. But they're not. They work in an entertainment industry, surrounded by cameras, leading news bulletins...
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to work out that John Key has had expensive dental work, while Helen Clark has not. There is your answer for the latest swing to the right.
... Judge me if you will but in a country of four million, is it unreasonable to ask that the few we must look at, read about and listen to, are hot as well as brainy?
i don't even know where to start with this. perhaps the sheer misogyny - why has she failed to turn similar scrutiny to male politicians? why is it only women that have to be eye-candy as well as being smart? at the very least, we should be asking the same of murray mccully, wayne mapp, gerry brownlee, peter brown, bob clarkson, etc etc etc. girls deserve some eye-candy too, don't we, when we watch the news and read the papers?
or maybe it's just the shallowness i should complain about. i should list the numbers of women who have contributed so much to the world, yet remained dowdy, frumpy and totally unconcerned about their appearance. mother teresa, anyone?
i could rant about a culture that places so much value on appearance and so little on personality and behaviour. "handsome is as handsome does" seems to be a dead or terminally ill notion these days. i could challenge those women who contend that popular culture, music videos, girls and women's magazines etc don't have an impact. they clearly have an impact on ms bradley. she has bought into the notion that a women's worth is dependent on her attractiveness, which is what the weight loss and cosmetics industries have spent millions drumming into our heads.
i could rage about the class discrimination inherent in her writing. what about the women from poor backgrounds whose parents couldn't afford expensvie dental work; or even a decent healthy diet? should they be shut out of a political career because they didn't have the money to put towards their appearance at the time it would have made a difference?
i could challenge her by asking if we really want our top women politicians to be spending more time on their appearance than they already do? time that their male counterparts can spend reading cabinet papers or getting out in the community to garner valuable feedback. ms bradley effectively wants women to be spending less time on the actual job, meaning they will be worse at it than males and much less likely to progress and succeed in their careers. either that or women should simply not apply for the job unless they have stunning natural beauty, a perfect figure and a killer metabolism.
i could raise any number of other points, but i know they will fall on deaf ears. from the way the full article is written, one concludes that ms bradley is taking joy at thumbing her nose at us politically correct types. she's enjoying being a rebel in her own way, and should we deign to criticise her, she would simply toss her head and tell us to get a sense of humour. and a decent haircut.
Update: on the off-chance that you would like to inform ms bradley of your unhappiness with her views, please feel free to write a letter to the editor. the email is firstname.lastname@example.org or you can click on "letters" on their website http://www.northernadvocate%20.co.nz/.