Wednesday, 2 April 2008

personal attack

following on from yesterday's post, i've been really disturbed to hear about the personal attacks on kate sutton, labour party candidate for epsom. here is another reason why women may step back from leadership positions.

i'm not going to link to the blog that has attacked her, nor any others that mention what was said, even if to condemn it. the reason for the latter is that the comments sections are also pretty nasty. i haven't read the offending material myself, and hope i never have to come across it.

let's just say it was an attack that was composed largely of lies, and was below the belt. i know this attempt to sully her character must be personally distressing to kate, following attacks on her body size.

the unfairness and nastiness of these right wing bloggers and commentators are a significant deterrant for women thinking of entering politics. attacks like the one on kathy sierra or the practice of photoshopping women's heads onto porn (as has been done to the prime minister) reduce women's space on the internet. similarly, personal attacks of this nature on women candidates reduce the space for women to be involved in politics. because the results is for women to withdraw from the public sphere.

these attacks, that are inherently sexual in nature, seem to be reserved largely for women. unless we, as a society, are going to do something about the way women are attacked, we will be one where women retreat back into their homes, back to being chained to the kitchen sink. or at the least, they will stay well below the glass ceiling.

in any case, i know kate to be a person of strength who is well supported. she certainly won't be giving up because of something like this. let's hope the voters of epsom will give her the support she deserves.

on a more positive note, a great range of policies come into place today. lyndon hood captures them pretty well here. what's great is the mix of measure, improving the situation of those at the bottom through raising the minimum wage, making cpi adjustments to benefits and student allowances, and abolishing youth rates; also incentives to business through the business tax cuts and incentives for research & development; and finally the incentives to saving through the employer contribution to kiwisaver.

it's debate about these kinds of policies that should the focus of our attention during this year's campaign.

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