It only took seven hours for the new leader of the New Zealand Labour party to be publicly subjected to hoary stereotypes of sexist nonsense.
I despair that that’s unlikely to even be a record.
But there’s Jacinda Ardern – 37 years old.
Preselected unanimously and seizing the political opportunity of her life.
The great hope of a party whose hopes have long been dormant.
A young woman already with a reputation for international leadership … reduced, on a radio broadcast to the question: ‘Is it OK for a PM to take maternity leave while in office?’.
It was in the context of: ‘If you are the employer of a company you need to know that type of thing from the woman you are employing … ”
Oh Jesus Christ.
Or any god – of any faith – preferably a great avenging thousand-breasted snake-haired goddess stirring from the planet’s molten core – please come save us.
It is 2017 and a woman’s reproductive capacity is just one more time being pushed to the forefront of her consideration.
No actually – if you are the employer of a company you do not need to know ‘that type of thing’ beyond that pregnancy discrimination is illegal under at least four New Zealand laws.
This preoccupation with the potential of a female leader’s womb is a long-held cultural fixation that in more primitive times at least could be ascribed to superstition or – and even then somewhat shakily – to the demands of hereditary monarchy.
In 2017 this reduction to biology is just plain creepy.
Like being asked if you fear that your breasts will spontaneously lactate over a cabinet meeting or sessions of parliament be interrupted by the inevitable horde of bears attracted by the scent of prime ministerial menstruation.
Madam- your commitment to legislative reform is very sound but are you not afeard your labia will indent upon the furniture?