Piggygate and Women in Politics

Credit to Maman Poulet for the video and the story, which is now all over the actual and not just internet news.

Skip to 1:09 to hear three of our sterling independent male TDs – Shane Ross, Luke “Ming” Flanagan and Mick Wallace – discuss the clothing choices of female TD Mary Mitchell O’Connor, and compare her to one of the Muppets. Guess which! It’s Miss Piggy. Good guessing, because you guessed the one that lends itself most easily to sexist insults!

This video is exactly why so many young, bright, politically-motivated women will emigrate instead of running for public office. Because incidents like this serve to remind them that they are not lads. You know, lads! Who can have the craic with other lads. While having the craic and taking a joke and learning to take jokes about having the craic with lads. And hey, some of the jokes are about men! Sometimes men get joked about! You know, men, the people who represent 141 of the Dáil’s 166 TDs. They can take a joke! Why can’t you, hugely under-represented minority? What’s your problem with our hilarious contempt for your clothing? You chose to dress like that! Which is to say that patriarchal gender roles more or less insisted you dress like that from birth to differentiate yourself from the group with whom power really belongs.

Taking a joke is great and all, but you know what I feel is politically superior? Being considerate of those who are faced with the challenge of speaking from a minority position when those they speak for are not a minority, and trying not to make Dáil culture, of which Ross, Wallace and Flanagan are very privileged members, any more toxic for women (or any other minority group) than it already is. Irish politics fails so consistently and so egregiously because it is at heart a club of schoolboys who never left the classroom.

In addressing gender balance in Irish politics, the question is not “why don’t women run?”. The question is, why the fuck would they?

If you want to tell Luke “Ming” Flanagan – the only TD involved that has not so far apologised – what you think of his complicity with these remarks, his email address is luke@lukemingflanagan.ie.


About Sally

I'm an English student with a minor speaking role in my own life.
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3 Responses to Piggygate and Women in Politics

  1. Jack says:

    It Happens with ambitious young males too. They go into politics wanting to do some good, but they have to deal with the likes of wallace in town and county councils for years before they even get to run for the dail. By this time their spirit has been broken and any bit of ambition they had is gone. it’s a vicious cycle that creates the kind of politician like wallace. “the lad” as you put it.

    • Sally says:

      I agree it has a detrimental effect across the board, at least for people more interested in political ideology than parochial vote-grabbing, but I think it’s particularly severe when it comes to women.

      • twangman says:

        Indeed, why would anyone want to put up with that sort of behavior in the work place. It doesn’t seem like the sort of environment where a lot of work gets done.

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