In which I defend Nadine Dorries ever so slightly

You might have noticed, I am not the biggest fan of Nadine Dorries. I really, really wish that she will get raptured and piss off and leave the rest of us alone. When I saw this, though, even I felt a little bit sorry for her.

In the clip above, Dorries asks a question at Prime Minister’s Questions. It is a silly question, a rather standard PMQs jeer jeer guffaw pantomime piece attacking the government from the right. Cameron’s response–and the response of much of the rest of the House of Commons is far nastier than Dorrie’s unpleasant question.

Cameron declares, with a schoolboy grin on his face, that he knows Dorries must be “extremely frustrated”. The House hoots like gibbons and claps like seals. HO HO HO! THE LADY ISN’T GETTING ENOUGH WILLIES UP FANNY!

This is hardly the first time Cameron and his cronies have displayed casual sexism in the House of Commons: he has a previous record of telling a woman MP to “calm down, dear“, to great honks of laughter from his regressive boys’ club buddies.

Not in the clip is Dorries storming out of the House following this.

What is shown is fairly interesting: Dorries’s immediate reaction. The face she pulls is a classic: I’ve done it, and I’ve seen it a thousand times before. The expression that says “that’s totally fucking not on, but I don’t want to look like a cunt by expressing anger, so if I just laugh sweetly, maybe they’ll like me.” Presumably after this, Dorries had her “fuck this shit” moment and stormed out.

And I’m with Dorries. It’s totally fucking not on, and fuck that shit. That sort of behaviour in a place of work is never acceptable. That sort of behaviour is never acceptable anywhere. To laugh at a person because of presumed amount of sex they are getting is not on.

The last time I received street harassment, I got told I “need a good length” when I failed to react to the “hey baby, wanna party” with the good grace the beery bastard wanted me to. This is a fairly standard response, based on some kind of notion that women are only pissed off because they are not receiving the adequate dose of cock. A similar situation takes place with men: consider the insult “sad wanker”. The implication here is that oodles of heterosex is the only thing stopping people from becoming a cavalcade of miserable gits.

With women, though, a double standard applies. We can use Dorries as an example here, too. For a short while, Dorries was dating a married man. She was met with scorn for this, and a lot of the response to it looked like slut-shaming. Certainly, there is a legitimate criticism of hypocrisy when Dorries claims to believe in abstinence and the sanctity of marriage, but is it really acceptable to attack her for the sexual behaviour alone? Of course not.

Dorries manages to be both a slut and a sexually-frustrated harpy. The attacks come from both critics and her own allies. And that isn’t fair, and I do not think that this should have to happen to anyone.

My sympathy to Dorries stretches as far as this. However, on the same day Dorries encountered sexism in Parliament, she pushed her own sexist agenda and tried to shove through an amendment which would pave the way for biased abortion counselling. She also voted to begin the destruction of the NHS that same day.

In terms of basic human rights, I have Nadine Dorries’s back, and do not think she deserves some of the shit she gets, because nobody does. As a politician, though, I sincerely hope that come the revolution she finds herself at the back of a human centipede. Nobody deserves oppression, but, equally, people must not pursue oppressive policy.


13 responses to “In which I defend Nadine Dorries ever so slightly

  • Tom

    Much as I dislike what Dorries stands for, the way she’s been attacked (both in this most recent campaign and in general) has been sexist. Many of the articles I’ve read have dodged or diminished Frank Field’s role in drafting the abortion amendment entirely, and even when they’re credited together, it’s usually Dorries’ role that’s foregrounded. It might be to do with how much she’s argued about abortion in the past, but even so it does seem off to me.

    • stavvers

      I do think she’s generally more prominent. Interestingly, even Field seems to be trying to distance himself from her now. I do wonder why that is.

  • Sciamachy

    TBH though I think if anyone deserves this, it’s her. She’s done so much to undermine & destroy feminism, it’s only fair that she should experience life without the progress feminists have fought for. How else will she ever wake up to herself & stop? It’s karma – the harvest she has sown. Better that she suffer it than be somehow immune in an ivory tower while everyone else suffers from her crap.

  • sianushka

    Well said Stavvers. It’s one thing to criticise and condemn her policies and ideas, quite another to silence someone with sexist jokes and infantile sexist behaviour.

  • The Unknown James (@unknownj)

    I have to admit to being a bit conflicted.

    The sexism and in-crowd bullying type stuff, that I can’t stand. No question there.

    But I don’t know if I can feel sorry for Dorries – her question was after all designed to humiliate the PM, and when one person tries to humiliate another, I can’t help but feel that it’s just and right that it should come back on them.

    The nature of it was crap, but for me to feel sorry for her being humiliated, I think I would have to somehow feel like she didn’t deserve to be.

    Like I said, it’s conflicting. I think, on the whole, I feel very negatively about Cameron, quite negatively about everyone who laughed, and about neutral about Dorries on this occasion…

    • stavvers

      I don’t think I pity her. It just pisses me off that on live TV there’s an instance of blatant workplace sexism and dickery, and it’s largely allowed to slip.

    • Finisterre

      Yes, the problem here for me is that this happening to Dorries (should) make every woman cringe, because it happens to all of us. It’s the mob rule, ‘shut up, sit down’ tactics that ensure that a sexual put-down nearly always beats even the most cogent and reasonably-presented argument in terms of audience support.

      If she had succeeded in humiliating Cameron (Clegg, surely?), it wouldn’t have been part of a pattern of behaviour in the same way.

      I think stavvers makes this clear; it’s not Dorries the person with odious views and tactics she’s defending, it’s Dorries the woman who’s just been subjected to an age-old trope of sexual humiliation, because that is a universal problem that we need to stand together on.

  • Veruca Salt

    I agree with you, but crikey, it’s an odd sensation to find oneself wanting to defend Dorries.

    I feel slightly soiled now.

  • MryMac

    Completely agree. I always dread the abortion debate coming up because of the torrents of misogynistic abuse unleashed from all parties male and female too. Why???? If women join in with it we aren’t doing ourselves any favours and it’s the sort of thing that I try to chlalenge as best I can when it’s coming from males.

  • Laura

    I wholeheartedly agree with the concept of what you’re saying in terms of the sexism thats rife in the commons, but I can’t sympathise with Dorries for one reason. I distinctly remember her going live on Radio 2 to defend those who made the ‘calm down dear’ comments, actually head to head with the MP to whom they had been made, saying it was a huge overreaction, she should get a sense of humour, and that the commons wasn’t even slightly misogynistic. I was outraged, and undoubtedly her fellow female and fellow MP felt the same. I would be interested to see if her opinions have changed in line with the publicity she constantly seeks.

  • Finisterre

    So glad you picked up on this, btw. It gave me the major fucking RAGE to see all those suited twats haw-hawing away, and Cameron playing up to it for all he was worth and using it to ignore her question.

    In our fucking Parliament, in 20fucking11, an adult woman getting shouted down by adult men responsible for legislating the laws that govern our lives, by way of some puerile schoolboy innuendo SHITE.

    And breathe.

  • Leave Dorries alone! The misogyny against her coming from so-called feminists is utterly despicable | Silicone Valley

    […] club in Parliament, attacking Cameron and Osborne for being ‘arrogant posh boys.’ She has received gender-based dismissal directly from Cameron, and doubtless lives with misogyny from her party every […]

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