Theresa may has had a hard time of late, too many critics and not enough noble moderates who see beyond sex.
Each of us has experienced either directly or indirectly the phenomenon of exclusion and bullying.
The familiar, ‘what you say is not credible because you’re a girl’ retort is quite common in schools among classmates. But, sometimes, this can even manifest in politics – a supposedly democratic arena.
It is of course nothing new that within our representative institutions men continue to dominate. There is a democratic deficit: a deficit in seats and a deficit in having your voice heard when it comes to being a different gender. This generates a different perception of male-female politics. The man is perceived as the unassailable champion of justice, ready to meet the interests of all. The woman, however, is generally (and respectfully) thought of as the frail and weak part of society — someone who is necessarily unable to maintain a strong position within the professional sphere.
This unfortunate mindset is something that our Prime minster, Theresa May, has come to experience on a near- daily basis as a result of being in charge of bringing Brexit. She is that lonely, outnumbered and outshouted outcast on the playground, knowing that if she opens her mouth to say something, she will receive a torrent of contemptuous sarcasm.
The PM is ‘dead to emotions or empathy’, says The Guardian‘s Polly Toynbee about Mrs May’s conduct with respect to the Grenfell tragedy. And further represents her as the extinct dodo with a beak, utilizing the play of words to create ‘Brextinct’. ‘Dismay’ — another tabloid pun — further claims the PM is ‘fighting for her life’. While Julian Glover tweets (along with millions of others) a photo of her chatting to firemen next to a photo of Corbyn hugging a volunteer, writing: ‘Contrast between these two pics is devastating’.
Comments like these are designed to flag the writer’s exceptional empathy and niceness. They’re saying: ‘I am good but you, Mrs May, are a mad evil witch’. A woman with a country on her shoulders is being torn to pieces, and the people doing it are feeling chuffed with their own sense of virtue.
Can we just stop this, please?
When you fall under the obsessive-compulsive control of the people around you, it is difficult to give your best self because you feel under pressure, and this pressure only diminishes your capabilities. Theresa May certainly felt the strain of that pressure when her party members and the media didn’t understand her political moves and sometimes conspired and openly denounced her choices. This behaviour doesn’t merely extend to her political preferences and the management of Brexit; it has become an almost strategic starting point when it comes to this PM.
Pay attention: we are not presently talking about differences in political viewpoints. But rather, about understanding another human being; a flesh and blood person that happens to also be a woman, just like me and some of you.
Perhaps public hatred of women continues to be more virulent than hatred of men, bringing with it that unfortunate stain of misogyny that still lurks beneath the surface. But why must it all be so extreme? Why do we have to absolutely love or absolutely hate the Prime Minister? Why can’t we be moderate and say: ‘Well, I like her. She has strong points and weak points, like every other person I know out there’. But social media has made us into mini-extremists where there is supposedly no room for seeing two sides of an argument. We have no patience for evaluating this woman’s full essence — the way we do with the people closest to us.
It is sad to see how so many are waiting to block her next move, whether through criticism or political uprising, when they should instead appreciate a simple fact: May was given a broken ship when Cameron excused himself from the premiership, and instead of washing her hands, she’s boldly taken on the challenge. But no one cares to recall this.
For my part, I look forward to the day when it will no longer be necessary to write an article such as this. It will mean that becoming a female Prime Minister will no longer be news. And it will also mean that we will judge a person’s conduct not by their dress code but according to the effort they exert and the convictions they standby.