Followers of UK politics may have heard about our referendum result regarding the European Union. My personal feeling is that we should have stayed, but no matter. What is done is done. What the result did lead to though was the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and a subsequent leadership race.
Our new PM is Theresa May, former Home Secretary and second female Prime Minister. Yet until a few days before her appointment, there was a rival for that place in Andrea Leadsom. Until the referendum, few people knew her name. Most people would not have recognised her in the street. That was until the big TV debate just before the vote.
With David Cameron’s resignation, she became one of the last two front runners – the rest of whom (“gay cure” supporter Stephen Crabb, former Foreign Secretary Liam Fox and wrecker of the education system Michael Gove) fell by the wayside. Most people wanted May to win, not because they should she would be a great PM, but because she was the lesser of the two evils.
Leadsom has proven herself on two occasions to be quite a nasty character. Her first comment that set people against her was a direct criticism of Theresa May. She said her rival was unsuitable for PM because she didn’t have children. That pissed off a large proportion of the population. It was incredibly sexist and narcissistic, not to mention demonstrative of the pompous entitlement and superiority complex that some parents feel towards the child-free and childless.
Leadsom quickly followed up with more than a strong implication that men who wanted to work with children should be refused jobs on the basis that they might be paedophiles. Men should not be allowed to become nannies and she defended this misandrist view by pointing out that we don’t choose male nannies because it is “sensible”.
Challenging These Stereotypes
Inside Man published an article by Doctor Ben Hine of the University of London recent. In it (the article is here). Inside-Man really is the site I hoped that Good Men Project would become instead of the superficial click-bait that it is. Hine explains once again the gender expectations placed on men and the demonisation of men around children.
Leadsom’s comments are more than unhelpful, they are harmful and dangerous. When we look at men with suspicion in everything we do, we make men like Doctor Hine second guess his own motivations and that is even less healthy than believing that most men are paedophiles. Interestingly, he links them to the rigid gender expectations placed on boys and men from a young age as being partly responsible for the suspicion with which we view men in these child nurturing roles.