Hi. You’re being sexist.

Over the last few days, since Jo Swinson announced that she will not be standing for leader of the Liberal Democrats (since Tim Farron resigned and that’s a whole other blog post in itself) the sexism from party members has really started to surface.

And unfortunately, from what I’m seeing, the majority to be coming from those who call themselves feminists.

There has been disappointment directed at Jo Swinson for not running because we need a female leader. Almost as if her gender matters more to these critics than her skills, intellect, abilities and characteristics. This is sexism.

There have been calls for her to reconsider her position or suggestions that people will write-in her name on the ballot paper. Almost as if these critics don’t accept the decision she has made herself and think they can make a better decision for her than she can. This is sexism.

The anger at her for not wanting to lead the party after having just been re-elected after the SNP unseating her in 2015 doesn’t make sense either. She’s got to readjust to this way of life and is suddenly being hounded with tweets and facebook messages and emails telling her she *must* stand. Because we say so. Because the Liberal Democrats have never had a female leader and she just so happens to have the right gender identity and parliamentary experience, regardless of the fact she doesn’t want to do it. Attempting to force a woman to do something against her wishes is sexist, please stop it. 

Layla Moran wasn’t even on people’s radars for leader until Jo Swinson ruled herself out. That speaks volumes to me. We have people with such internalised misogyny that we think we can force women to do things because it’s what we want them to do.

Jo Swinson, Layla Moran, Christine Jardine and Wera Hobhouse are all intelligent, talented, skilled MPs who will work wonders for their constituencies. They are not your token female leadership candidate.

By all means, support these ladies if you feel they’d be great leaders and I think they all could be. But supporting them means accepting their decisions. Accepting they know best. Accepting that their decision is the correct one. Accepting that women are people in their own rights and have no obligation on them to do something just because of their gender.

Do you really want to be responsible for forcing a woman into a role you know she doesn’t want?

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3 thoughts on “Hi. You’re being sexist.

  1. I would really like it if one of the other three Women MPs stood, so I am asking them to think about it. I really hope that doesnt feel like pressure. I dont think thats tokenism, its just that I want the contest to be a good advert for The Party & I want as much choice as we can have from such a limited field.
    At the moment the three who seem most likely to stand are all a bit similar.

  2. Hi Becca As a member of another party (you know which one) I thought Jo would have stood for the Lib Dem leadership which Tim Farron stood down.

    That said however I can totally understand her reasons not to go for it at this time and as you correctly say no woman should be forced to take a job she doesn’t want to do just because other people think she should. What kind of message does that send to women and girls, you’ll do this job because we say you should. It’s not a very liberal or democratic attitude and let’s be honest it belongs in the 12th century not the 21st.

    Best Wishes
    Gayle X

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