THAILAND: Sexist Comment Against PM Further Marginalizes Women in Politics

ELIZABETH NAAI WRITES – You will find more honor and justice in a playground sandbox than you will in most governments.

Former Prime Minister and Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva is accused of insinuating Prime Minister Yingluck is a “stupid bitch” after her visit to the reality show “Thailand’s Smart Lady,” reports Bangkok Pundit. Regardless if you believe Abhisit is the playground bully or hero, does his comment further a dangerous precedent that women are ‘foreigners’ within politics, still susceptible to sexist pushback?

Red-shirt supporters condemn the comment as an intentional wink to Democrat party supporters; yellow-shirt supporters defend the comment as a reference to a Google social media trend. Despite claims that his intentions were innocent, but refusing to apologize, Abhisit received the sarongs of female Pheu Thai Party members as a testament of his absent “gentleman qualities.” Although a meaningful protest, its seriousness was undercut by comments on social media between red-shirts and yellow-shirts, boasting of the bedded women from the opposing party. All real debate is suspended for a tit-for-tat Twitter war.

What Abhisit intended is another debate. The question we need to ask is, should our politicians be held to a higher standard of language and behavior? The language is plainly offensive, and his refusal to admit responsibility or apologize for his tasteless choice in words is hardly becoming of a public official. His total disregard for the consequences of his words and actions are most upsetting: they condone sexist insults as a viable tool to attack political opposition. Such behavior undermines women’s ability to fully participate within the political system and render them easily disregarded pawns in the war for king of the sandbox.

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