Two Views on Helena Guergis: 2) No Sympathy

by | April 16, 2010
filed under Can-Con, Feminism, Politics

And here’s another take on it from Darcy A.

Helena Guergis: No Sympathy

I must admit, I’ve been waiting for the online Globe and Mail to post a headline without Helena Guergis’s name in it for more than a week now. As much as I wish this story had never happened or for it to just go away already, allow me to keep it alive for one more headline.

For those of you who don’t know, this is a story about a female politician—a cabinet minister at that—who erupted in the Charlottetown airport (over being asked to obey the very laws her government enacted), caught the fascination of the media, turns out to have made some very bad (possibly illegal) choices and now finds herself marred in scandal and expelled from the Conservative caucus.

There are women I know who are enraged over the hard treatment Guergis has received. “If she was a man,” they say, “none of this would have happened.” Or “If she was a man, the Prime Minister wouldn’t have been so quick to dump her.” While I agree with them, I still find it hard to sympathize with Guergis.

I’m not going to disagree with anyone who says that women are held to different (Higher! Tougher!) standards then their male colleagues and that this is unfair (Unjust!). In my mind, all the more reason to be angry with Guergis. She’s a woman who made it pretty darn close to the top, only to support policies that reduced the power of women in Canada, and then put on a public display that reinforces the negative stereotypes of women in power.

Just because a politician is a woman doesn’t mean she actually supports women’s interests. Guergis is part of a party that doesn’t care about women’s shelters, childcare, LGBT rights, or poverty. Furthermore, one of the first things the Conservatives did when they came to power was dismantle the Ministry for the Status of women, making it more difficult for women across the country to access their Constitutional rights because they can’t personally afford our justice system. If Guergis had no problem sitting at the helm of that enfeebled ministry, I have no problem not defending her.


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  • Carla

    Thanks, Darcy. I posted on the other post too b/c I thought this whole thing was really interesting. I agree with both of you guys about the sexist media coverage but I like how you pointed out that we dont’ need to stand up for all women politicians just cause they’re women, because there’s also the fact that not all of them actually stand up for women’s equality!

  • E. Cain

    I also really liked your article.

    Personaly, I DO NOT want to come across as a supporter of the Conservative party because I most definitely am not. But I feel compelled to defend her because I truly believe that the way in which Guergis has been treated in the media is not so much about her partisan identity or what she stands for, but it is related to her gender. In other words, the way I see it, it doesnt matter if you are conservative, NDP, liberal or bloc, if your female you are going to be treated differently in the media than males.

    So while I totally understand why you dont defend Guergis, I wonder, how can we end this double standard and how can we hope to obtain fairer treatment for female politicians in the media if we’re so divided by party politics?

    Id be interested to hear your thoughts on this. :)