The story on page one: chauvinism

The Calgary Sun has once again proven itself a role-model for aspiring journalists, publishing an article by Ian Robinson entitled “Right-wing women rock: Looking at the shoes tells a lot about a female’s political persuasion.” The name alone demonstrates Robinson relies on heavily researched data uncorrupted by misogynistic prejudice.

For example, the article features such perspicacious lines as: “The only sensible footwear you’ll find in a right-wing woman’s closet are the Nike cross-trainers that go with her gym membership. Everything else has a three-inch heel. Minimum,” or “A right-wing woman wants to get elected, she runs for office. If she wins, great. If she loses [ . . .] well, there’s always more shoe shopping,” and my personal favourite, “A right-wing woman hits the gym, swings past Sobey’s and has dinner on the table by the time you get home [ . . .] while her left-wing counterpart is still stuck in traffic listening to Sarah McLachlan on her iPod and feeling morally superior about her carrot choices.” A left-wing woman is also described by Robinson as sexually unattractive due to her unshaven legs, tweed skirts and Birkenstocks; whereas The View panelist Elizabeth Hasselbeck is identified as a fine example of the right-wing variant. If writing for the Sun doesn’t work out for Robinson, I’m sure Fox News is looking for fact-checkers to ensure their own “fair and balanced” reporting.

Robinson’s opinion column is demeaning to women regardless of their political affiliation. Left-wing women are depicted as quasi-sasquatches who have invaded society to wreak havoc on finances and families, whereas right-wing women are slaves to their households and the maintenance of their husbands’ notion of an idealized appearance. What’s worse is that this description of a right-wing female is supposedly complimentary and a persuasive reason these ladies are more fit for politics than their left-wing counterparts. Obviously, the kind of shoes a woman wears is the best indicator of her competency regarding political concerns like health care or environmental policy.

So, in the next election, I hope everyone looks past the drivel their candidate spews regarding economic reform. Don’t be distracted by intelligent debate or informed experience! Robinson has, fortunately for us, brought forward a sure indicator of political prowess: physical appearance. If a woman’s feet are not ensconced in a pair of Jimmy Choo’s, then she is unfit for the legislature, and if a man is wearing . . . oh wait, never mind, Robinson doesn’t argue that a man’s political ability is based on his appearance or fashion acumen. I guess a man’s attractiveness is not indicative of his political aptitude like a woman’s is. Glad that’s cleared up.

I am not incensed by this scrap of “writing” because I am left-wing. I am offended because this blatant and rather overwhelming display of sexism fails to credit women with having substance — with being intelligent, observant and competent individuals regardless of their appearance. I may not agree with Margaret Thatcher’s policies, but she is one of the most accomplished politicians of our century. I guess Robinson must think she’s a fox.

If Robinson intended to publish a satirical piece, he failed due to abysmal writing and outdated references. If he actually holds the opinions he describes, I pity any women around him — unless it’s Ann Coulter.

Congratulations Calgary Sun, for proving me wrong — I really thought the Sunshine Girl was the most sexist thing a newspaper could publish. Fortunately, you found Ian Robinson, and your editors lost their ability to read. Have a wonderfully chauvinistic future together.

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