Tuesday, 21 October 2014

"I hope you are not going to say I am a sexist misogynist" - Australian Finance Minister Mathias Cormann

The problem that the Labor Party has today is that Bill Shorten is an economic girlie man. [Australian Finance Minister Senator Mathias Cormann, Sky News Agenda, 18 October 2014]

On 18 October 2014 another Liberal Party politician was caught dragging his knuckles along the ground, when Finance Minister Mathias Cormann called Opposition Leader Bill Shorten an economic girlie man.

He obviously wasn't expecting the reaction to this comment and sought to douse the flames in a somewhat unusual manner:

The Belgian-born MP argued that “girlie man’’ was a gender free zone. “I am not talking about girls. I am talking about economic girlie men,’’ he said.
“I don’t think there’s anything gender specific here. Not girls, girlies, it’s very different. I hope you are not going to say I am a sexist misogynist.’’
[Mathias Cormann, Herald Sun, 18 October 2014]

Mathias Cormann's hope he would not seen as a sexist misogynist was short-lived.

As women reacted negatively to his initial insult and subsequent 'excuse', Cormann decided to try another tack the next day:

"It is not in any way intended as a reflection on girls, it is entirely intended as a reflection on Bill Shorten".

“Girlie” according to my Australian dictionary is a colloquial term for girl (a female child or young female) and, when this word is combined with “man”  the user is implying that a man is acting like the stereotypical weak young girl - a characterization which seems to uniquely inhabit the minds of chauvinistic individuals.

Even lexicographers don't support Cormann's assertion that the term is not linked negatively to the female gender:

girlie man. noun. A male who is wimpy or soft; a male who likes to participate in activities or events thought to be mainly feminine: That girly man loves chick flicks. [The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.]

In the aftermath of his bizarre and unsuccessful attempts to characterize the derogatory term “girlie man” as having nothing to do with a sexist view of females, perhaps he would rather be seen as an ignorant excuse for a member of parliament instead.

* Photograph found at Google Images

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