Election sexism watch (episode 2)
Posted on April 8, 2010
I was sort of hoping I’d set myself a difficult task in looking for evidence of sexist shite* in this election campaign: what with it being 2010 and all. But it turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong. It’s everywhere.
Here’s Amanda Platell in today’s Mail:
Have Cameron’s cuties really got what it takes to transform politics?
“As a study of female ambition it’s worthy of a Vanity Fair picture spread: the Tories proudly parading their latest clutch of female candidates in a glossy photoshoot.
These are Dave’s Dolls, the real women he’s promoted and, in some cases, selected, to fight and win safe Conservative seats in the General Election. And what a fascinating bunch they are. No twin sets and pearls here.
Some blue blood, but not a blue rinse in sight, they are his new fighting force; the secret weapon with which he believes he will win the war.”
Cameron’s cuties, Dave’s dolls: Amanda Platell is Shakespeare and I claim my 5 groats!
Jan Moir, writing in the same paper, reckons that the (mythical, entirely invented by journos) “war of the wives” is starting to hot up:
War of the wives: Saintly but sinister Sarah vs outspoken Miriam
On Miriam Clegg:
“The 42-year-old brainbox is head of international trade practice for the multinational law firm DLA Piper.
So she hasn’t got time to tuck Cleggy’s shirt into his underpants or stop him walking into cupboards as he kisses babies and chats to pensioners at a meet and greet in Scunthorpe.
And her refusal to trail behind her husband on his electoral, glad-handing tour of the country is winning her a sudden flash mob of admirers. So you go, Miriam! Or rather, don’t go. That is why they all like you so much.
Asked last month if she were willing to be a political ‘secret weapon’ in the manner of SamCam and Sarah, Mrs Clegg sniffed: ‘Well, listen, I don’t have the luxury of having a job that I can simply abandon for five weeks, and I imagine that that is the situation for most people in the country.’
Ooh, handbags! Smythson handbags, at that.”
Ooh, just fuck off Jan why don’t you.
Here’s what Moir has to say about Sarah Brown:
“Out on the hustings, Mummy Sarah fusses around Gordon, pushing him on to trains, making sure he eats his greens, trying to be a walking sandwich board that advertises his human side – or (unwittingly) the fact he doesn’t seem to have one.
She tweets, she has her own YouTube channel, yet she is careful, always, to say nothing of note”
Yeah, and the words pot and kettle spring to mind….
Over in the Express meanwhile, the (mythical, entirely invented by journos) “war of the wives” is all about the clothes:
General election 2010 Wife Watch: Sarah Brown and SamCam’s fashion-off gets underway
“THEIR husbands may be hitting the general election 2010 campaign trail in earnest but Sarah Brown and Samantha Cameron will be fighting their very own sartorial battle.
Gordon Brown and David Cameron’s other halves will be standing firmly by their men in the countdown to the general election next month – hoping to sway votes through their fashion choices.”
While Glen Oglaza at Sky News thinks it’s all about how attractive “the wives” are. Or rather he doesn’t, “a viewer” does: nudge nudge wink wink say no more….
“I’ve always known which party to vote for in the past, but this year I have no idea what to do.
Sarah Brown seems very nice, committed to her husband, and does a lot for charity. But then I saw Samanatha’s interview and see that today she is on WebCam being really normal in a glamorous I’m-on-camera kind of way. I thought she seemmed very appealing, positively fragrant, and well worth voting for.
“On the other hand, that Miriam Clegg seems very foxy in a sassy Spanish way that I find very appealing.
So I have no idea who to vote for. Think I might go Lib Dem this time, but I need to check out the Ukip leader’s wife.”
And speaking of attractiveness, here’s the Sun:
“TORY leader David Cameron says pretty wife Samantha is “eclipsing” him on the campaign trail.
Mr Cameron praised pregnant Sam, 38, in a fly-on-the-wall clip filmed at the couple’s home on Friday and posted on YouTube.”
“Pretty?” Is that the best they can come up with? Perhaps they need to take some tips from the Telegraph, who aren’t pulling any punches with their headline:
General election 2010: Samantha Cameron, a saucy, seductive superstar
Bryony Gordon, also in the Telegraph, has a different, and dare I say it, ever so slightly creepy take on things:
Introducing Wife Watch: Today, I want to be SamCam’s cleaner
“Judith Woods has written a brilliant piece in praise of Sam Cam. I couldn’t agree more with it – recently, I have found myself daydreaming about what it would be like to be Sam Cam’s best friend, or her younger sister, or maybe just her cleaner or something.
I have these fantasies about Sarah Brown, too. I think I have become quite obsessed with her.“
Hello, on the other hand, is sticking strictly to the wives-supporting-their-men meme. For now.
Sarah Brown and Samantha Cameron support their men on the campaign trail
And finally, last but by no means least, proof, if any were needed, that a picture can paint a thousand words…
Yep, it’s that saucy cheeky chappy John Prescott:
*If you see any glaring examples of sexist shite during the General Election campaign that you think I may have missed, feel free to email them to me at cathryne_1999 at hotmail.co.uk
I would, Cath, but I doubt your hotmail mailbox is big enough! It’s so sad that we are still talking about wives of politicians, and what they wear, and not female politicians, and what they stand for…
Ah yet another ‘boys’ election’ is well under way. Brown’s boys are busy attempting to persuade the male voters (because only men vote do they not?) whilst Cameron’s cuties (all boys of course) are also engaged in proving to voters ‘I’m your man – vote for me.’
Meanwhile Mrs. Cameron is being subjected to intense male-dominant and male-centered media scrutiny.
Does Ms. Cameron pass the ‘male gaze’ approval – or horrors – is she too in need of a ‘major makeover.’
Ah too, too many issues for women to focus on – what with reading misogynistic pseudo articles in tabloids and so-called quality newspapers concerning the female partners of the ‘boys’ I think I must be mistaken in believing women fought and some even died and/or suffered very serious ill health as a result of campaigning for all women to have the vote.
Still never mind, male-dominated media press has ‘put me straight’ – women did not gain the right to vote – instead the only right we’ve been accorded by our white male-dominated media is to worry ourselves silly concerning whether or not the boys’ female partners meet the obligitory ‘male gaze.’
Now what would be news is if the three female partners of the ‘boys’ all announced they are in the fact the political leaders of their boys’ parties and whoever wins the next election it will be one of the female partners who will become the next Prime Minister. I can wish can I not?
What interests me, though, is that there is all this talk about ‘Mrs Clegg’. However, she actually kept her maiden name. I find it troubling that newspapers insist on referring to her by a name that is not the name of that she chooses to go by, presumably because they either think the public won’t ‘get’ that she and Nick Clegg are married, or because they can’t be bothered to check and just assumed.
Funnily enough, The Sun of all papers managed to get it right. Not that there’s plenty in that article to complain about, but still.
Incidentally, the link I referenced in there is a pretty good example of sexism in the election campaign. 5 lines on career and 10 on ‘style’? Given how awesome Miriam Gonzalez Durantez’s job is, and her previous career path, it ain’t because there wasn’t much to say about it.
Yep, and I’m aware I’m guilty of doing exactly the same in the piece. If it’s any consolation I’ve made reference to my unforgivable error in tomorrow’s episode (yes folks, there’s more!)
It’s easily done – I wasn’t aware for ages that she had kept her maiden name, because I kept seeing her as ‘Mrs Clegg’ in the newspapers! I suppose I assume that those newspapers check first, but I’m learning better…
Looking forward to more Election Sexism Watch! Love it. Well, don’t love that there is election sexism, but do love that there is some good old naming and shaming.
I find offensive that newspapers still refer to Nick’s wife as “Mrs Clegg” whe she didnt drop her maiden name. In Spain women don’t use their husbands names and we tend to find the whole “husbands name” quite sexist.