National

Nine sexist statements that rocked 2012

Verashni Pillay

Important people make idiotic remarks all the time, but these are now so much easier to appreciate thanks to the viral power of social media.

Mitt Romney is infamous for his 'binders full of women' gaffe. (AFP)

These days your average celebrity or politician barely has time to take their foot out of their mouth before their quote is responded to by an imaginary Ryan Gosling or dubbed over a clip of Hitler on the internet.

It happens all the time, on a variety of topics, but 2012 has offered more striking quotes than is usual on one topic in particular: women.  

And it wasn't just Americans opining about how rape works or what we should do with our wombs. These days everyone and their senator has an opinion about the fairer sex. Herewith a round-up of the most ridiculous gender statements of 2012.

Get married. Have children.

In a televised interview South African President Jacob Zuma spoke about his daughter Duduzile's marriage to Lonwabo Sambudla, saying he was very happy for her. If only he had left it there. He went on to add: "I was also happy because I wouldn't want to stay with daughters who are not getting married. Because that in itself is a problem in society. I know that people today think being single is nice. It's actually not right. That's a distortion. You've got to have kids. Kids are important to a woman because they actually give an extra training to a woman, to be a mother."

When all else fails, blame the feminists

Controversial pastor Errol Naidoo from the Family Policy Institute trended briefly on Twitter in August after publishing this gem in the institute's newsletter, shortly after the shooting of miners in Marikana. Ten points for news awareness, zero for, well, everything else.

"Abortion-on-demand, driven by radical feminist activists and the homosexual agenda, lie at the heart of the culture of death. These anti-family groups are responsible for population decline ... There has been much hand wringing and recrimination about the Marikana [tragedy]. But when human life is diminished in the womb, that callousness will find its way into the national psyche."

Sexism down under

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard made a searing speech in Parliament, tearing apart the opposition leader for his sexism. Whether she was in the right or not, one thing was sure: the insults directed at Gillard during the year were beyond the pale.

Protests organised by the opposition were responsible for such choice slogans as "ditch the witch" among others. How about playing the ball and not the man – or the woman, as it were.

Illegitimate comments

Todd Akin, a member of the House of Representatives and Republican Senate nominee for Missouri, made the now notorious claim during an interview in which he attempted to explain his no-exceptions policy in regard to abortion. In reference to pregnancy resulting from rape, Akin told KTVI-TV: "First of all, from what I understand from doctors, that is really rare." He continued: "If it is a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try and shut that whole thing down."

How not to refer to rape

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan rapidly distanced themselves from Akin. But it wasn't long before Ryan tripped up on the same topic. Responding in another interview on the same topic he made the magnificent blunder of referring to rape as a "method of conception". As recent history has taught us, it was all downhill from there for the Republican campaign.

Bind your language

Speaking of Republicans, Romney has his fair share of unfortunate statements about women. He ran into a verbal minefield while explaining his position on hiring women during a presidential debate against Barack Obama on October 16. Boasting of his efforts to find women to hire, he dropped the phrase "binders of women" in reference to his stockpile of possible candidates while in office. It was the stuff meme dreams are made of. "I went to a number of women's groups and said 'Can you help us find folks?' and they brought us whole binders full of women." 

More?

We could go on about the numerous other Republican sexist gaffes made this year but as one site put it, they're professionals. It hardly seems fair. Thanks to this awesome article, we dug up a few more from across the world. (For more American examples try this handy round-up).

Everybody puts baby in a corner

Justice Bhaktavatsala, an Indian judge, on single female lawyers: "[F]amily matters should be argued only by married people, not spinsters." 

Prove him wrong. Please.

Gallus Strobel, the German mayor who recently marked "difficult" male and "easy" female parking spaces in his small town of Triberg: "It's been a great marketing gimmick. Women can come here and prove me wrong, and while they're at it they can see the town's attractions."

The taming of the shrew gone wrong

Hong Kong billionaire Cecil Chao Sze-tsung on his £40-million pound bounty to any man who successfully courts his recently-married lesbian daughter: "[The money is] an inducement to attract someone who has the talent but not the capital to start his own business."

We're all out of patriarchy after that round-up. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments section.


Topics In This Section

Comments

blog comments powered by Disqus