Wednesday, June 27, 2007



Pure misogyny

Yesterday in the House, National MP Jonathan Coleman Nick Smith abused Judith Tizard by implying she was a witch and telling her to get back on her "broomstick". For those like DPF who seem to be having a problem understanding why this is so offensive, here's a hint: "witch" is the traditional term for an uppity woman. It is thus a denigration purely on the basis of gender, the misogynist's equivalent of the racist's "nigger" or the homophobe's "faggot" (which DPF's spiritual kin likewise attempted to defend by attacking those who objected to their use as "thin skinned"). Civilised people don't use such terms today - but then, we already knew Coleman wasn't civilised, didn't we?

For those who still don't understand, just turn it around. How would DPF and his misogynist commenters react if male MPs were routinely abused by being referred to as "rapists"? They'd be squealing. The hypocrisy - and misogyny - couldn't be any clearer.

Correction: As DPF points out in the comments, initial reports that it was Jonathan Coleman were incorrect. In fact, it was Nick Smith (who I'd have thought would know better).

21 comments:

This comment has been removed by the author. Posted by Craig Ranapia : 6/27/2007 04:40:00 PM

Well, as one of DPF's 'misogynist' commentators, I made the observation that (IMO) Coleman was out of line, but it's very hard to feel much sympathy for folks like Tizard and Jill Pettis whose conduct in the House (including towards women on the Opposition benches) is less than impressive.

And here's something else you fail to mention from DPF's original post:
Maybe Judith could have a chat to her colleagues about their propensity to yell out "go take your pills" to Nick Smith whenever he is speaking. Personally I find that far more offensive.

Perhaps Judith and Jill think that kind of interjection is clever. As someone who has a long history of severe depression - in common with at least one of their caucus, BTW - , I'm not impressed.

As someone who has a long history of severe depression - which I have in common with at least one of Tizard's own colleagues, BTW - I couldn't agree more. Makes all those JK-fronted adverts sound a bit hollow, doesn't it?

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 6/27/2007 04:49:00 PM

Craig: I agree, poking at Smith's problems is also beyond the pale. That doesn't excuse Coleman's behaviour, though.

Neither does it excuse the rest of his party. Coleman's outburst is just one example of a party with a deep-seated culture of misogyny, one which thinks it is quite acceptable in this day and age to openly refer to "feminazis" and "the sisterhood", and make snide remarks about a "lesbian cabal". At the same time, of course, it is trying to win women's votes.

Here's a hint: can the misogyny, and ditch the dinosaurs who heap abuse on those who challenge the old assumption that mere posession of a penis should be a guarantor of privilege and power.

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/27/2007 05:09:00 PM

Idiot, a sex-specific insult is not misogyny. I think you are overreacting here.

Posted by Lucyna : 6/27/2007 05:28:00 PM

I agree, poking at Smith's problems is also beyond the pale. That doesn't excuse Coleman's behaviour, though.

No it doesn't, and I never suggested any such thing. As I did say, it's hard to feel much sympathy for someone whose is quite happy to encourage - and participate in - a deep-seated culture of Parliamentary bullying from her own front bench. Much of which, IMO, has a really nasty edge.

Posted by Craig Ranapia : 6/27/2007 05:44:00 PM

Lucyna,

You're missing the point - to some people, a man insulting a woman, any woman, is evidence of misogyny on the part of the man.

For example, I've been called a misogynist for my criticism of the employee who was dismissed by Subway over theft.

How calling someone a thief is indicative of misogyny I don't know, but I've been banned from commenting on that particular thread by the blog owner, so I can't exactly ask the poster for an explanation.

Posted by Duncan Bayne : 6/27/2007 05:49:00 PM

Where were you when Labour engaged in hate speech in parliament?

"And we all know he's a man who likes to get to the bottom of things."
"Chinless scarf wearers."
"How's Diane this week."
"Speaking of affairs."
"No one could accuse him of working too hard." (Code: Fat therefore Lazy)

And so on, and so on, and so on. Homophobia, vilification of religious women, outing of affairs, and just straightforward abuse.

Yet when National respond in kind, you leap in to paste them. That is a fairly straightforward demonstration of support for Labour's hate strategy.

If you want to talk the talk, you need to walk the walk. Anything else is a party political broadcast. You should be better than that.

Posted by kiwi_donkey : 6/27/2007 07:18:00 PM

Actually I think this is insulting to the Pagan community.

Posted by muerk : 6/27/2007 07:27:00 PM

And I/S might want to rethink his use of a mental illness as a derogatory term if I/S has a problem with the insult "witch".

Just to keep thing fair.

Posted by muerk : 6/27/2007 07:31:00 PM

Colman might be disgraceful but the whole standard of debate appears to be disgraceful. In the end hours of heckling and wasting of our time might easily be considered more offensive than a few seconds of language offensive to pagans.

Posted by Anonymous : 6/27/2007 07:38:00 PM

On anyone else's blog, this might be taken seriously.

Here, one can be charitable and assume you're trying to be funny.

Key word: trying.

Posted by scrubone : 6/27/2007 09:03:00 PM

What's wrong with a broomstick comment here and there in the so-called "PC Me Generation " , poor Judith is the product of a modern philosophy advocating a lifesyle that says " If it feels good -do it" . Witches will always be witches while male heroes have long gone .I have been bombarded from every side, and the beating just makes me laugh, as sticks and stones may break my bones but names don't hurt me . Get a life wimps .

Posted by dad4justice : 6/27/2007 09:19:00 PM

My point summed up more fully
here.

Posted by scrubone : 6/27/2007 10:06:00 PM

Hey, dad4justice, burnt any crosses lately.

Uptight fuckwit. You really need to get laid.

Millsy

Posted by Anonymous : 6/27/2007 10:09:00 PM

Sure, it was an insult pure and simple; whether it was right or wrong is a point of debate I suppose, but misogynist?

I don't think so. It was just a sex-appropriate insult. Here's my child-like point-of-view: He couldn't really call her a bastard could he? That's an insult directed at a male; next choice for female is 'bitch', but that's a bit heavy-handed for the house; 'witch' is like bitch (it rhymes) but with some of the sting taken out; he then took it back a step and implied witch by the broomstick comment.

OK? :)

But seriously, as far as the comment itself goes, David Lange said pretty much the same thing to Margaret Thatcher. According to Mark Sainsbury, Lange and Thatcher were in some kind of meeting with reporters waiting outside. Obviously they didn't reach an agreement because Thatcher came out of the room first, quickly followed by Lange who yelled "Hey! You forgot your broomstick". Sainsbury was there to see it - everyone laughed according to him.

In other words, it's OK for someone in Labour to make the same comment but when it comes to someone in National saying the same thing it's suddenly misogynistic? Perhaps you have to be lauded as a great statesman to be able to say it...

Posted by I.M Fletcher : 6/27/2007 10:18:00 PM

We've found a witch- may we burn her!

Along with that Millsy pansy !

Posted by Oswald Bastable : 6/27/2007 10:23:00 PM

Pure misogyny sounds like the same sort of oxymoron as pure filth.

Posted by woppo : 6/27/2007 10:57:00 PM

Good on you, I/S. Most of the arguments against your enlightened stance are of the “they do it, too” variety. Nary a principle in sight.

What this incident illustrates is that some of National’s male MPs and their cheerleaders are uncomfortable with the idea of sharing power with women. It's not an isolated incident, but part of a pattern that strategists like McCully promote. But only men who are insecure in their masculinity resort to sexist humour to demean and objectify women. DPF reveals this insecurity with his periodic babes ‘n boobs pics. Lange was a sexist old fart, too. And then there's d4j... See, it doesn’t matter what sort of blowhard or buffoon or slob or ignoramus or violent toerag you are, you can always feel superior to a woman, eh?

Posted by Anonymous : 6/27/2007 11:39:00 PM

. . . it doesn’t matter what sort of blowhard or buffoon or slob or ignoramus or violent toerag you are, you can always feel superior to a woman, eh?

Provided you don't meet too many.

Lange was a sexist old fart, too.

Until he met Margaret.

Posted by woppo : 6/27/2007 11:54:00 PM

1) Cowardly anon commenters should not deem to psychoanalyse people

2) If anyone seriously thinks calling someone a rapist is even comparable to implying someone is a witch, they are trivialising rape

3) It was not Coleman who made the remark - it was in fact Nick Smith. The media misreported it - they were listening on the radio and got the voices wrong. So apologies are due to Coleman.

Posted by David Farrar : 6/27/2007 11:58:00 PM

Craig: it's hard to feel much sympathy for someone whose is quite happy to encourage - and participate in - a deep-seated culture of Parliamentary bullying from her own front bench. Much of which, IMO, has a really nasty edge.

And that's the real problem here: the toxic Parliamentary culture which normalises such abuse. Unfortunately, it's not going to change unless we in the electorate send a clear message that it is unacceptable. And given that some voters like the bullying (as seen in their reaction to the death of Folole Muliaga), and that certain political parties like to pander to them, that seems unlikely.

(Meanwhile we seem to have developed a toxic culture of our own here. Time to pull the plug on that, I think)

Posted by Idiot/Savant : 6/28/2007 02:06:00 AM