“Deliberately barren”

More on the fact that apparently the most important thing about female politicians is whether or not they have had children:

In Australia, Liberal Senator Bill Heffernan is quoted as questioning whether or not Gillard could fully understand her voters, having chosen not to have children; or, as he put it, being “deliberately barren”. In a later interview, he stood by his statement, saying

“I won’t walk away from that,” he said. “So rude, crude and unattractive as it was … if you’re leader, you’ve got to understand your community.

“One of the great understandings in a community is family and the relationship between mum, dads and a bucket of nappies.”

Right, this old stuff again. Women without children (and it’s always women they focus on, isn’t it?) can’t ever really ‘get’ the needs of their fellow people because the only way to learn empathy and understanding (and the general ability to fire a fucking brain cell or two) is to have children of their own. I loathe how this completely underestimates the ability of people: it basically says we are too stupid to feel empathy and learn about the needs of others on our own. Which is downright insulting.

And what about women who can’t have children? It’s a huge slap in the face to them, because it essentially says “hey, you’re already a weird anomaly because you can’t have children, but on top of that you will never be able to understand other people. Enjoy!”

I’m over this.

(There is also a nice discussion of this over at Blue Milk, talking about how comments like this also hurt people who do have children.)

One Comment

  1. […] Even commentators across the Tasman got in on the act, trotting out all the tired tropes they used when Helen Clark was PM. Steph at LadyNews sorts out some of the issues for Deborah Coddington: Oh, Deborah. Let’s have a chat. And she is oh so over the ‘deliberately barren’ slut. […]

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