Even after so many years of women’s emancipation, the percentage of female representatives in politics is still low. While there are several factors underlining it, the sexist political system could be the biggest reason. Why are female politicians attacked for their dress sense, their appearance and the fact that they are women while they could be countered on their policies and ideologies? Recently Pyotr Ammosov, a Russian politician, said that he could not concentrate on a female colleague’s speech because he was busy staring at her chest. Read about others such politicians and the sexist remarks they passed:
Russian politician Pyotr Ammosov recently set the worst example by shamelessly staring a female colleague’s chest while she was making her parliamentary speech. On top of it, the minister proudly confessed it when he told Irina Vyosokikh, the entrepreneurship minister, that as a “healthy man” he couldn’t take his eyes off “a bare part” of her body. As reported by the DailyMail and seen on the video clip, Vyosokikh was wearing a formal coat. When Vyosokikh objected to Ammosov’s regressive comment, she was shunned by other members of the parliament.
A similar incident took place in South Africa when John Jeffery, a politician, along with his other male colleagues criticized their Lindiwe Mazibuko, then opposition leader, who her dressing sense in the parliament. Jeffrey had said, “ while honourable Mazibuko may be a person of substantial weight, her stature is questionable.”
Later Jeffrey’s party issued a public statement stating Mazibuko’s “inappropriate” manner of dressing. According to a Guardian report, Mazibuko was wearing a black dress, tights and a red jacket.
Just because Julia Gillard, the 27th Prime Minister of Australia, decided to not have children many male politicians found convenient and sexist arguments to object her policies. Mark Latham, former leader of labour party said that Gillard hasn’t got much love in her life because she has made the decision to not have children. He questioned her empathy when he said, “I’ve also had some experience where around small children she was wooden. And I think the two go together.”
Infamous for many sexist comments, Berlusconi has repeatedly offended female politicians with his misogynist arrogance. When José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the former prime minister of Spain appointed female leaders in his cabinet, Berlusconi had said called Zapatero’s government “too pink”. “He will have problems leading them (female cabinet members). Now he’s asked for it,” he added.
American politician Ted Yoho reportedly accosted his female colleague and congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on the steps of Capitol when as he literally abused her. He allegedly told Cortez, “You are out of your freaking mind” and called her “disgusting”. Cortez also alleged that Yoho called her a “fucking bitch” which was also overheard by a reporter but Yoho denied as he said he used the word “bullshit”. He also apologized to Cortez in the parliament in which he in a way implied that just because he is married to a woman and has two daughters, he is not the one to use such derogatory remarks against other women. When will men stop using the women in their family as shields? Does having a wife and two daughters justifies Yoho’s apology?
The list of offensive and sexist remarks made by Donald Trump, the president of the United States of America is exhaustive. Right from his campaigning days, Trump has repeatedly downgraded women with his objectionable comments. From slut-shaming women to reducing them to their looks and appearance, Trump has been successful in portraying himself as one of the most sexist world leaders. While fighting against his opponent, Hillary Clinton, in the US elections, Trump accused her of playing the “woman’s card”. He had said, “She’s got nothing else to offer and frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 per cent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the woman’s card, and the beautiful thing is, women don’t like her.”
Also read: 8 Times Meghan Markle Gave Us Feminist Goals
The views expressed are the author’s own.