Gender and Politics in the media

UK: A free Oxbridge tutorial for Boris Johnson on sexism.

Boris Johnson raised ‘the level of interest in politics up several pegs’, said Lord Hurd (BBC)

Boris Johnson: Ludicrous to suggest I think women only go to university to … …Attempting to clarify his remarks, Mr Johnson said that it was “utterly ludicrous and infuriating” to suggest that he believes women attend university in order to find a husband.

He insisted that he was merely pointing out that when a large number of students are female, you intensify so-called “assortative mating” – whereby people choose to choose a partner similar to themselves.

“Some people seem to have misconstrued something I said at a press conference five days ago, about relative male underachievement in university entrance,” Mr Johnson said.

“It is utterly ludicrous and infuriating to suggest that I think women go to university to find a husband. I was merely pointing out something that I’ve said several times before – that with a graduate cohort 68 per cent female you intensify the phenomenon sociologists identify as assortative mating.”

Kate Green MP, Labour’s Shadow Equality Minister, called on Mr Johnson to apologise for his “outdated opinions”.

“Boris Johnson may think his buffoonery allows him to get away with his outdated opinions but this isn’t funny,” she said.

A free Oxbridge tutorial for Boris Johnson on sexism The Independent Anyway Boris, here’s a little tutorial for you, for next time you think about discussing women’s issues. I’ll make it as simple as possible.

  1. Sexism is prejudice based upon a person’s sex. That means treating someone in a certain way because they have a vagina or a penis. That’s what sex is (in case you weren’t sure on that either).
  2. You can be sexist by being ‘nice’ to someone. If you treat someone differently because of their sex, you are being sexist.
  3. Although one doesn’t need to treat someone badly to be sexist, typically, sexism has manifested as men treating women badly because of their sex. Examples of this are women being criticized because of characteristics associated with their gender. (I don’t think I’ll attempt to explain the difference between sex and gender to you Boris; let’s not try and run before we can walk, eh?)
  4. One of the most common types of sexism women encounter in the workplace is that of their intellectual capacity being challenged (epistemic injustice). Being patronized is one of the worst forms of sexism because it belittles the speaker and calls into question their authority within a professional group. I think you might have had a bit of trouble with this sort of thing before. It’s not very nice to be patronized, especially when you’ve spent a long, long time studying and working and hard things like that.
  5. Casual sexism, like making jokes about women as a group, maintains a culture wherein women are perceived as less significant than men, which leads directly to sexual harassment, rape, and other forms of sexual violence. You could read the tweets of @EverydaySexism for infinite examples of these. I believe you’ve recently been made aware of the project after a few of their followers tweeted you today.

If you were my undergraduate, Boris, I’d be expecting a 1,000 word essay with the title ‘What is Sexism?’ from you by next Monday.

Jessica Lee MP: Whether you opt-in or volunteer, we need many more people … Ed Miliband’s proposals for revamping the union political levy gets Jessica Lee MP thinking about why you would join a political party in the first place. For some it’s simply to meet people, others have a strong ideological link. Either way, we need you, she says.

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