This Wednesday, ex-New Zealand Labour Party leader Andrew Little announced that he was stepping down, to be replaced by Jacinda Ardern. Ardern is a charismatic, conventionally attractive young woman, so the media storm to follow was predictable. The ink was not yet dry before journalists began to have nightmare visions of a debating chamber splattered with sweat, blood, and bits of placenta with the whole country broken out in a state of epidemic sibling rivalry. So they asked, will you have babies? We have a right to know! Just exactly who is going to clean up the mess? Who?
So yes. Sexism happened.
This was quite rightly pointed out, several times, by media outlets like The Spinoff. “So,” wrote
on day one of Ardern’s leadership, instead of focusing on Labour’s policies or her leadership strategy, we are instead reopening a retrograde debate about whether all women should have to reveal the plan for their uteruses to people who may employ them, and whether discrimination on that basis is acceptable.
Look at all the misogyny she has suffered, just because she has a uterus. And it has only been 24 hours! It’s like a bad smell – sexism, sexism, everywhere!
Well – perhaps not everywhere. Maybe like, hanging around Ardern’s uterus. But few other places, really.
This is what is really obscene about leftist media and politicians, who have run at this thing like bulls to a chance to cry blue murder at conservatives. This Wednesday, in the world of leftists, sex had something to do with having a uterus, sex had something to do with being able to get pregnant. Sexism was about being discriminated against because of these things. Female bodied people suffer discrimination. That’s not cool. Hallelujah. Well doneDuncan Grieve, well done Spinoff team. You got it.
Ask the same bunch of people on any other day though, and sex is a social construct that is oppressive in itself, because men can have babies, and to say otherwise is transphobic and can kill people. And why was this case an exception? Well – Jacinda is special.
Gosh. That’s a lot of trousers and ties behind that woman. I wonder if any of those people wearing those ties can get pregnant.
It looks like this Wednesday, sexism happened to a woman with status, charisma, and a whole lot of ties backing her up. Ardern represents the political will of leftist men all over the country. The misogyny was real.
So, women. Looks like that’s what we have to do if we want the sexism we face to be more widely opposed. We just have to…. already have craploads of power. Think that’s ironic? Too bad. “Take a seat”, as they say. Misogyny only happens to winners.
What about criminalised abortion. Isn’t that sexism? No – nothing to do with sex. Men need abortions too. Prostitution then, is that sexism? Over 85% of people in the sex trade are women, mostly poor. No, that’s “work”. Hmmmm. How about being being in a violent relationship, then being told in court that the injuries you have sustained are your own doing because you clearly got them engaging in the kinky sex you are obviously into. Sexism? No. That’s not sexism. Don’t “kink shame”. Right.
What about Lions fans at the rugby hooting “How much?” at twelve year old girls doing a gymnastics presentation? Please tell me that is sexism.
Oh – yes! Sweet relief, that is sexism. Well, good. Let’s fight it.
Does this mean that girls of high school age can have education about sex-based oppression and women’s resistance? No – just gender identity and breast binding. Oh. They can still have their own private bathrooms, at least, right? I know lots of girls use those just to have some privacy where they know there are no boys! No? Oh – and I’m a bigot for asking? And violent? I’ll cause people to die?
Perhaps it’s not only when leftist men have an interest in defending a woman in power that sexism exists, though. Holden’s article about Lions fans verbally abusing girls, When rugby brings out the worst – that was published on a Wednesday, too. Same day. So perhaps that’s the rule. When women represent men’s interests, or on Wednesdays, misogyny can really exist. Duncan Grieve will confirm, yes, that was sexism. Sexism bad.
I questioned Green MP Jan Logie about this inconsistency. About her ability to flit between promoting “gender identity”, which erases sex as a concept, and then fighting sexism. This was Logie’s response: “Renée”.
I can hold concepts of sexism and transphobia/discrimination on basis of gender identity. I really can’t see how you can suggest my work on sexual violence, domestic violence, pay equity etc etc is undermined by trying to ensure basic rights for LGBTQIA+ people.
What Logie is saying here is that if she wants to, she can change the definitions of sex and gender to suit her political purpose. And that’s what The Spinoff does, and that’s what the leftist media does. It changes those definitions at will, as desired. Then it decries “white feminism” when really, only women in power see the benefits of this kind of approach to “fighting” misogyny.
An eighteen year old high school student can be accused of potentially causing suicide for defending the female-only private spaces, because in her case, having a female body means nothing and bears no relation to oppression or discrimination. She is cis. Girls can have penises. Men can give birth. “Transwomen are women”. None of this is relevant when a female MP is asked a baby question. Everyone pulls out Queen Bey and makes memes of Jacinda’s face superimposed onto Wonder Woman and reps the fallopian tubes flipping the bird. When a school girl wants privacy she’s scum.
I wonder if next Wednesday, sexism could be seen as real for the sake of these women.
The women being trashed by lawyers in court whilst fighting for a scrap of what we call justice in this culture, after being repeatedly abused by her partner. The women who are still too scared to speak to make it to court. The women told not to go to police because the police are the “army of the rich” and it’s betrayal.
The girls who at school who are too afraid about being bullied as bigots to stick up for female only bathrooms, though nobody knows, but they know they’re worried. This is where they slip away to sometimes when the porn-watching boys joke about spitroasting and “anal” all lunch time and it gets too much. Where else is there?
The Maori women being locked away at a faster rate than any other group in this country, into cells in overflowing prisons under constant surveillance, for petty offences, some with children at home. It is men who commit by far the most violent crime. Still, leftist activists do not fight this sexism. They lobby for extra punishment: for male sex offenders to be moved into the prisons these women are locked in if those men identify as “women”.
How about the women who find themselves pregnant through no fault of their own and in need of abortion, only to find abortion is a crime, only to find they have to be deemed “unfit” to be mothers to have one – only to find that when they want to advocate for their own rights they can’t speak about female anatomy. Transphobia.
Nobody at Spinoff has demonstrated that they give two shits about whether the struggles of Jacinda Ardern constitute sexism or whether men can get pregnant too and what that means for how we speak about her uterus or her body or what is happening to her. Ardern has special license for recognition.
Really – if leftists want to continue spurting their tripe about “white feminism” and “intersectionality”, they better look into a mirror. Having double standards for a woman in power as opposed to girls in school, prison or prostitution seems to me to be a blaring indicator of a politics of privilege. We, women without high status, women without visibility, women without a suit or a troupe of men in red ties behind us, or even a house or any privacy of our own – we, women as a collective, deserve to be fought for as much as Jacinda Ardern does. And we need it more. What we all face cannot be fought alone.
Something tells me though, that next Wednesday, it won’t be any of us on the agenda.
With thanks to Janet Fraser.