Honourable Nakedness: The Female Parliamentarian

The confidence and motivation of a female parliamentarian to do her best for both Parliamentary Portfolio Committee and open Parliament has been undermined by parliamentary sexualisation. Whilst this may not be very common in Parliamentary Portfolio Committees, it has been rife in open Parliament. The sexual insinuations are very disturbing. They are usually started when female Parliamentary Portfolio Committee leaders stand up to present their reports or recommendations for debates. The bringing in of a female Parliamentary ridicule just before the start of a presentation reduces, for a moment, the inherent and acquired female buoyancy. This has a tendency of affecting the first part of the articulation – which is usually the most important – even if they would regain confidence in due course of the presentation.

The form of clumsy mortification that the female Parliamentarian has been subjected to by male counterpart takes the form of hisses, whistles and psssy psssys. Common targets and excitement areas for the parliamentary sexual bullies are facial features, breasts, buttocks, legs, hips or “curves”. They are shouted in different explanations from all over the gallery to the extent of making every woman in the Honourable House feel some form of “honourable” nakedness.

Other randomly shouted messages abound: “prostitute, whore sit down, you cannot tell us anything”; “you are a husband snatcher – you take other people’s husbands…sit down”; “pull up your falling skirts before you start talking to us…” “you make up is funny… you look like a witch”. Female parliamentarian sexualisation is well organised and self coordinated process intended to reduce the confidence of female Parliamentary presenters to assert and sustain the male patriarchal dominance where high level decision making platforms were dominated by men. This is not really surprising because women are arguably better speakers than man: they speak facts and general issues whilst pride and conceit conceal men’s expressiveness.

There has been a natural acceptance of parliamentary sexualisation as if it is part of Parliamentary agenda or political life that begins in communities at political rallies. Whilst crying has rarely been used as a strategy to fight male bigotry in Parliament, some female parliamentarians have learnt to ignore and not to pay heed.

Some female Parliamentarians who have been subjected to parliamentary booing have developed some strategies to stand firm, claim their spaces and to be heard. Though exhibiting some form of resistance, they have inescapably fallen in the same trap as their male Parliamentarians with similar fighting and shouting back as female Parliamentarian solution to parliamentary sexualisation. Or a relief, perhaps! Filled with loath, vengeance and retribution, some female Parliamentarians have braved to shout back with similar booing which at most does little other than hyping the male ego: “give me time to speak, you don’t deserve to talk to us because you were recently caught committing adultery”; “you are a male prostitute”; “you steal state resources”. Whatever the parliamentary gender sexualisation competition that arises, it is the numbers of male Parliamentarians, their unity in harassment and the depth of their voices that leaves the female Parliamentarian less honourable, subdued and devoid of the highest possible Parliamentary contributions.

Though some All Female Parliamentary caucuses have provided spaces for solidarity and mutual Parliament character strengthening, the situation has been made better by the rise of male parliamentary gender champions. They are committed to protecting female Parliamentarians from male parliamentary sexualisation. But there has not been equal solidarity with male victims of parliamentary abuse. Ministers who are, for example, booed or jeered in Parliament similarly become ruthless and political. They end up pretending responses. They provide flimsy excuses for disregarding Parliamentary Portfolio Committee oversight recommendations and suggestions. And they do it without losing anything…

Source: Arkmore Kori

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