Media miss speaks up for the PM

A guest post.

A NZ Herald journalist has decided that the phrase ?stupid little girl” is offensive and sexist. ?It draws attention to the Prime Minister’s age and gender in a disparaging way,? she declares.

It is not clear why describing the prime minister as ?little? is disparaging, given that she is indeed a small woman. It is not clear why describing her as a girl is disparaging, given that the prime minister is quite young. Most women the prime minister?s age would, I think, consider it flattering to be described as a girl.

The journalist seems not to have noticed that the word ?stupid? disparages the prime minister for her intelligence, or lack thereof, not her age or her gender. I understand the word ?stupid? is a term often used in parliament to describe MPs and perhaps that is why the journalist made no mention of it. Or perhaps she thinks the prime minister is indeed stupid.

It is true that the term ?little girl? implies that the prime minister is childlike. This is rude, and the journalist asserts that ?no party should tolerate the impression that one of their MPs said something so juvenile to the country’s leader.? It is not clear why describing a person as a little girl is a juvenile thing to say. Not original perhaps, but juvenile?

This journalist is telling MPs that they are not allowed to be rude to the prime minister! Who decided, I wonder, that a Herald journalist should decide the level of politeness in parliament? Where does a journalist get the authority to decide that one Member of Parliament should be treated more politely than other MPs, because he or she is the prime minister? Or is it just this particular prime minister MPs must be polite to? The journalist does not make it clear but perhaps she is declaring politeness is due the prime minister because she is a woman. Perhaps this journalist adheres to the outdated notion that women should be treated more courteously than men. Perhaps this journalist expects doors to be opened for her, seats to be given up to her on the bus and allowances to be periodically made for her erratic behaviour when that time of the month comes around.

My mother, god bless her, is given to saying that ?if you can?t stand the heat get out of the bloody debating chamber?, or something along those lines. She displays, I think, a degree of wisdom that seems to be lacking in the hallowed and deeply non- sexist halls of the New Zealand Herald.