Published on Facebook on the 18th August, 2017
I wrote a rant.
It still a shock when you are in the Labour Party, you thought you shared values with your male colleagues, then you realise, even whilst you campaign together for an end to poverty being a barrier to aspiration and achievement, there is still an assumption that gender is a legitimate ceiling to ambition.
When you hear that you have “sharp elbows” need to “talk less”, “shut up”, that you are “stupid”, “who does she think she is”, “what does she think she loo…ks like”, “is she pregnant” “why isn’t she pregnant” “why doesn’t she have children – what is wrong with her?”, “why is she fat” “hahaha she is so fat we could sort out the AGM with a football match and put her in goal, nothing would get past her”, “You can’t wear that”, “who the f*ck does she think she is”, “why won’t she do what she is told”, “she should keep her head down if she knows what is good for her”, “I know that ……. (insert name of random bloke) is really controlling her”, “I’ll teach her a lesson”, “watch yourself”, “I know where you live” “I’m going to finish you, and finish your family”, “I’ll skin her alive if she doesn’t do what she is told”, and you know your male peers don’t have to deal with any of it. Sexism in the Labour Party can get a bit exhausting. In person, not twitter. Day after day, year after year.
“It’s hard to tackle intimidation of women – the political dynamics are complex”.
“Are you sure she was telling the truth?”.
Men bitter because of “tokenism”, when they deserve little on merit. Men slapping each other on the back for their brilliant ideas, nicked from a woman they ignored earlier in the meeting.
Sexism is an issue across political groups, across society, but we all join the Labour Party because we want to make the world a better place. Then we realise that, for many men, political leaders can only be men, community leaders can only be men, power can only be held by men.
Making the world a better place seems an unlikely ambition, if we can’t deal with this.