During this whole campaign, Better Together and the No campaign have frequently, and almost obsessively, told us (us being women) that Alex Salmond and the Yes campaign have a problem with women. The two men who are in charge of Better Together seem to have been completely hammering this message home over the last couple of years. According to the No campaign, Yes’s commitment to improving childcare to a guaranteed 600 hours is ‘pie in the sky’ or a ploy to try and win round women voters. How cynical can you get? This commitment should be hailed as progressive and ambitious, as many women and families genuinely struggle with the affordability and availability of childcare. I don’t have children, and I’m not planning any at any time soon, but it will affect future decisions I make about by career and it shouldn’t.
There is no empirical proof that women and men think about politics differently or make decisions in a different way. There is only experience of making said decisions. I think, based on personal experience, that I do tend to talk about politics differently to men. But everyone is different. The way you make decisions is not based on your gender and it is offensive to suggest that it is.
Better Together have offended just about every Scottish woman by producing this utter sexist claptrap. This is chauvinist and ill advised. So why is this political broadcast so offensive:
- “The woman who made up her mind” is shown sitting in the kitchen. I don’t think I have to say anymore than that, to be honest.
- We are never actually learn “The woman who made up her mind”‘s name.
- She starts by talking about what her HUSBAND thinks about the referendum, not what she thinks, implying that women are incapable of making independent political decisions. She’s also portrayed as someone who can’t talk about politics before 9am in the morning, even though Breakfast television talks about politics. There has to be a certain time of the day.
- They then imply that this woman is incapable of thinking about politics because she has other things on her mind, like work and looking after her family.
- It implies that women aren’t capable of knowing the name of Scotland’s First Minister which is perhaps the most insulting of all.
- It implies that women should take into consideration what the men in their lives say about #Indyref before making up their mind. “Paul says ‘we need to do what’s best for the country’.
Ultimately, what this broadcast has shown, is a very sinister side to Better Together. It really gives us an insight to how Better Together see women and, it is frightening. I’m not completely surprised though.
A Women For Independence speaker, at a public debate, told us how a No representative muttered over and interrupted her while she was speaking, he stroked her arm inappropriately and winked at her during the debate. A few months ago, I attended a Better Together lecture given by Gordon Brown and when questions were being taken afterwards, a woman asked a particularly difficult and awkward question about devolution and the Scottish Parliament. I observed that the chair of the event failed to take any more questions from women after that, despite there being no shortage of us putting our hands up. I made this observation to a man I know (I won’t call him a friend, he isn’t a friend of mine) and he dismissed my claims. Of course he did. We need to remember who it is that runs Better Together. Rich, middle aged, white, straight men. We need to remember who made this video, who directed it and who gave the ultimate go ahead for this video to be made and broadcasted.
As a woman who is involved in the Independence campaign, I am appalled at this video. It is patronising, it belittled women and it tapped into outdated sexist stereotypes that women can’t make decisions and don’t care about politics. This video has certainly given a worrying insight to how Better Together see women voters. Not as women voters, or indeed people, but as a demographic to be chased for votes. Somehow, I think they may have achieved the opposite.