By Manasi Nene
The world of politics, for all its talk of social reform, is almost parodoxically ignorant of something we call casual sexism. I mean, in India it isn’t so easy to be a woman in politics; in fact, ministers have been caught watching porn during session – if our politicians can’t take this seriously, who will?
And it’s not just India, such incidents from other countries have also been making the news. Take, for example, US Senator Kamala Harris, who was told to back off (by her male colleagues) not once, but twice. An Uber director, David Bonderman has resigned after he interrupted Ariana Huffington talking about making the workplace less gendered.
Now, a new clip from Australia is slowly going viral, and it features one more example of weird interruptions like this – but this time, the woman hits back.
Labor Senator Penny Wong is the current Leader of the Opposition in the Senate, and also happens to be openly gay, and lives with her partner and children. Pretty amazing for a public figure, but this week Wong took it further by snapping back at Liberal National senator Ian Macdonald.
Macdonald, who apparently has a history of getting into tiffs with Wong, kept interrupting her this video. Unfortunately, the mic cannot always make out what he is saying to/about her, but she has a comeback with a sharp line, “Senator Macdonald really does have an unhealthy obsession with me, but I digress…”, and you can see the women around her laughing. Looks like they’ve seen this before.
After he interrupted her one more time (again, we don’t have audio of what he said), she retorted by telling him “You’re not my type either mate, don’t worry about it”.
Of course, I wish we could hear what exactly she was replying to. But if she had to say something like “you’re not my type”, does that mean the minister was saying something about her appearance, about her sexual appeal? And if he was, would we even be surprised?