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Women and Politics - The Gender Divide

17/05/2013 12:30 BST | Updated 16/07/2013 10:12 BST
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I am a little bit of an activist, and I am also a woman. This means that a lot of pressures are forced onto me that men don't have to face- I have to be polite and calm at all times, never show passion or anger, lest I am heckled and accused of being 'hysterical' and 'irrational'- the very reasons that women were refused the vote.

This reflects throughout the political world, with womens' views being silenced because of irrelevant points on how 'good' a mother they are, speculations on why they are wearing a certain outfit and of course the cries of 'this woman is hysterical! Don't listen to her' and the misogynistic 'calm down dear' exhibited by our very own Prime Minister.

Are we then surprised that less than 30% of MPs are women? As well as having to rise to the top of the political field, women are expected to be well-dressed, perfect mothers and wives, calm but not 'cold' and never ever to show emotion- if they dare to exhibit passion they are labeled as 'hysterical' and bullied by the media.

We are being bullied out of politics. No one can handle that burden, that perfect trope, that men do not have to embody at all. Men can be total shits in politics and people see them as strong, they can be sexual abusers and no one bats an eyelid. A woman merely has to shout too loudly or show 'too much' cleavage and she is shunned and seen as unfit.

Now let's go on to the 'cold bitch' trope. I can't count the number of times that I have heard of strong female leaders such as Angela Merkel and Margaret Thatcher referred to as 'unfeeling' or 'cold bitches'. Women such as these act in a strong way and don't succumb to the idea that all women are warm and touchy-feely and yielding , and they are hated for it. Men who act similarly are seen as focused and command respect rather than hate.

Look at Hollywood movies at the way that female bosses are portrayed. They are portayed as evil and 'bitchy' and unfeeling, or as crazy 'hysterical' nymphomaniacs. Male bosses are portrayed, on the other hand, as strong and authoritative. They get respect for it where women get shouted down and detested. It's a way for the patriarchy to take away our power.

Is it any wonder that women are afraid to stand up and fight for their causes? Admittedly, I am no Thatcher. I am no Merkel. I have only tiptoed into political spaces at University with trepidation, but the few campaigns that I have got involved in have resulted in me receiving a large amount of misogynistic hatred. I am not surprised that women are loath to enter into politics.

It is currently a men's club, and god help any woman who tries to break through the glass ceiling, which is shrouded but still very much there. Politics is currently very white, very upper class, and very male. We can only change this by changing the perception of women. So next time you think of calling a woman who dares to stick her neck out 'hysterical' or a 'cold bitch', please think of what I just said, and consider the fact that your actions are shutting women out of politics.