Petty politics clashes with pregnancy

Pregnancies are fairly common – all of us have been involved in at least one in our lifetimes, many of us more than one.

New of a pregnancy is more often than not a great occasion for those directly involved, as well as their family and friends.

But politics.

There will inevitably be negative comments and attacks on Jacinda Ardern and her pregnancy. This is unfortunate but it’s how some people are – they try to make something bad out of great news.

David Farrar on Kiwiblog posted positively in Ardern pregnant:

Congratulations to Jacinda and Clarke. As I have found out, becoming a parent is life changing. It is hard to put into words how your focus changes when you have a wee one so dependent on you. He or she becomes the most important thing in your life.

Parenthood is of course very challenging, and more so with a busy job such as Prime Minister. But Benazir Bhutto managed to do it while PM of Pakistan at age 33 and Marissa Mayer had twins at age 37 while CEO of Yahoo.

Many of the comments on that post are typically negative, some nasty, but some are complimentary, as can be expected from the free for all there.

Cameron Slater posted on it with a mild political dig. He has also highlighted a comment he made claiming to have foretold the news, but he foretells many things, only some of which come to pass, so he is bound to get some things sort of right.

I have only had a brief lok at a few of the comments. One of them:

So a socialist/labour supporting unmarried woman on a massive government benefit is having a baby. Why is this news, and will be on every headline until it arrives – probably with a hand out like a true socialist.

There are also a number of comments about an ‘unmarried mother’. In 2018!

But these comments come from a couple of small corners of social media. They can be easily ignored as same old petty politics and misogyny.

However I have seen another small minority on twitter looking for negatives, in order to run petty political attacks as well.

A Reddit posts on Some Labour supporters seemed to be almost welcoming a right wing backlash after Jacinda Ardern announced she was pregnant. Unfortunately for them, it never happened.

jeffrey2ks:

It’s kinda true. I mean one die hard labour supporter at work came to gloat about her pregnancy as if I had some major opinion to hit back with… but I don’t.

Let her have the baby in peace. We get a bit of Winston which for me is more or less something I’ll watch out of curiosity and when old Clark is at the helm she’ll return to her job. This time with not only the lives of all New Zealanders but the life of a new kiwi as responsibility. And she’ll do everything she can to make NZ as good as it can be for her child and many others.

TruFalcon:

“The enevitable (sic) cries from men, that it will effect her ability to run the country, is exactly why men are not given divine power to create humans. Too stupid & lazy.” (@Eliota_Sapolu)

“The same people who were atrocious to Helen Clark for choosing not to have children are the same berating Jacinda Ardern for choosing to have children. That’s the nub of it isn’t it? It is women making choices that makes them so angry.” (@kilbrniesanders)

“While celebrating Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford’s baby news today, please spare a thought for New Zealand’s misogynistic community. The coming months will be extremely trying for them.” (#vlcnz)

Labour Party supporter Stephanie Rogers tweeted: “All right, time to roll up the sleeves and get ready for one HELL of a wave of sexist concern troll bullshit against our PM.”

While I fully appreciate that Twitter is not necessarily representative of what is happening out in the real world, the right wing backlash that many Labour followers seemed to be almost relishing, never actually eventuated. While they were tweets of dissent and criticism, as was to be expected, it could hardly be described as “one HELL of a wave of sexist concern troll bullshit.”

Dekcufsizn:

This is so true. My social media feeds are drowning in people going on about a mythical backlash that simply isn’t happening. Everyone who is anyone is wishing Jacinda nothing but the best in response to her great news. Even that Richardson fella is keeping his lips shut. Right this minute there are thousands of people desperately looking for the few exceptions, hoping to be the first to find and jump on them so they can cash in on sweet retweets, likes or karma. New Zealand has grown up. We should be happy about that!

The likes of Slater and commenters at Kiwiblog and Whale Oil will keep criticising and attacking Ardern and her pregnancy, and some on the left will keep trying to score political points and slag off opponents, but I think that most of new Zealand is likely to share Ardern’s happiness in her news.

33 Comments

  1. Alan Wilkinson

     /  January 20, 2018

    Can you imagine the nasty comments if it had happened to Jenny Shipley? Can you imagine the media smoozing her as they are and will Jacinda?

    Yes and no.

    • Corky

       /  January 20, 2018

      No.

      • Gezza

         /  January 20, 2018

        ?

        There are two questions in Sir Alan’s post, Corky. You can’t imagine any nasty comments if it happened to Jenny Shipley – Yes?

    • Gezza

       /  January 20, 2018

      Given her age at the time, & the puff pieces I have seen on Jenny & Burton

      Q1 – Yes
      Q2 – Yes

      • Kitty Catkin

         /  January 20, 2018

        I don’t see how anyone can tell or even reason that the people who were opposed to Helen Clark for being childless (I can’t remember hearing anyone saying anything about this) are now berating Jacinda Ardern.It makes no sense.

        The person who thinks that men can’t create new lives hasn’t much knowledge of how it happens.I was taught in sex education that it takes two people to do this.

        My concern is that her keeping this quiet in order to become PM was disingenuous. I don’t believe that anyone can give equal attention to a child and the job of PM. Someone will be missing out. The idea that women are great multitaskers and men aren’t is pure urban myth, She is paid by the taxpayer to run the country, and if she can’t do this properly, she should stand down.

        • Gezza

           /  January 20, 2018

          I don’t believe that anyone can give equal attention to a child and the job of PM. Someone will be missing out.

          Let me get this right. You are saying that PM’s should be childless? Even those with stay at home partners and/or the wherewithal to have child carers. I can’t believe anyone sensible in this day and age seriously thinks that.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  January 20, 2018

            No. I am saying that her timing is most unfortunate. Babies are very time-consuming and tiring. If she had had the baby a few years ago, it would be different. What happens if it’s bawling all night and she has to come to work exhausted ? The job of PM is not like any other, Of course I am not saying that PMs should be childless, But I am saying that to have a baby when one has the most responsible job in the country is trying to have it both ways. She owes the country her total commitment. She will owe the baby the same. One will lose.

            • Gezza

               /  January 20, 2018

              What happens if it’s bawling all night and she has to come to work exhausted ?

              Big deal. Happens to billions of parents. More than once if they’re serial breeders – like Bill & Mary English. Doesn’t go on forever. And doesn’t stop breadwinners from doing their job.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              Yes, but this is not an ordinary job !!! What if there’s a crisis ? Bill English and his wife weren’t having babies when he was PM.

            • Gezza

               /  January 20, 2018

              Tony Blair and his Mrs did it.
              Didn’t stop him from being a war criminal.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              He was the PM, she wasn’t.

            • Gezza

               /  January 20, 2018

              Well if she had been I bet she wouldn’t be a war criminal.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              That is irrelevant to the issue,

            • Gezza

               /  January 20, 2018

              I know

            • phantom snowflake

               /  January 20, 2018

              I’ve grown impatient waiting for someone else to point out the obvious, so here goes. “What happens if it’s bawling all night…” With a fulltime caregiver for the baby, and presumably plenty of accommodation options, I’m sure our PM will spend plenty of restful nights out of earshot of any bawling.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              Why bother to have a baby, then, if you won’t be near it day or night ?

            • phantom snowflake

               /  January 20, 2018

              Oh Kitty; there’s that “cultivated obtuseness” again, for which I have no answer.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              Well, if she’s out at work being PM all day and out of hearing of it all night, when WILL she be with it ?

            • phantom snowflake

               /  January 20, 2018

              Kitty I’m rather skeptical about your previous claims to be imaginative and able to think laterally. Here, typically, you are demonstrating an inability to see outside of traditional gender role stereotypes. But I’ll withdraw now; have as many ‘last words’ as you wish…

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              That is nonsense to say that. Anyone who has read as much as I have would bot be unimaginative and unable to be a lateral thinker. In this case, I am being realistic. It’s the woman who has the baby, after all.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              It seems that many people are allowing sentimentalism to take over from realism here. Of course it’s a gender stereotype-who actually has the baby ? Blame mother nature.

            • Blazer

               /  January 20, 2018

              ‘Bill English and his wife weren’t having babies when he was PM’…is it O.K to have babies if you’re leader of the opposition,or minister of finance…or…

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  January 20, 2018

              Oh, don’t be stupider than you can help being, please. A question so witless doesn’t deserve an answer and I am not going to bother to give it one.

    • Kitty Catkin

       /  January 20, 2018

      The downtick was for no, Alan.

      • Gezza

         /  January 20, 2018

        No for his Q1, or his Q2?
        It’s not a very good poster survey, I have to say. The results are going to be confusing.
        It’s a balls up, really. Should be done again.

        • Kitty Catkin

           /  January 20, 2018

          I agree. Do it again.

        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  January 20, 2018

          It was an IQ test, not a survey. Results are in I’m afraid.

          • Gezza

             /  January 20, 2018

            Bollocks, Sir Alan. And the results are in doubt.

            • Alan Wilkinson

               /  January 20, 2018

              No doubt at all, but I’ll spare you the embarrassment of making them public.

            • Gezza

               /  January 20, 2018

              Preposterous, Sir Alan.
              Next time engage a professional.
              Someone with Comms Degree perhaps ? 😳

  2. I think Kitty makes some perfectly sound points, and it is unfair of folk to slap her down with just a stereotypical kneejerk “Jacinda’s a woman, it is 2018, she can do anything she wants, everyone is wonderful.”

    She is Prime Minister of a modern, complex country in quite tricky times, which requires rather more concentration and dedication than being a pop singer. Every moment she spends doing her incredibly important job – on which depends the lives of millions – she cannot spend looking after and/or bringing up her baby. The Laws of Physics do not permit it.

    So either she farms out most of the baby upbringing, the merits of which are well up for debate, or she farms out the running of the country, the merits of which are also well up for debate; especially given the apparently dubious circumstances under which ‘he who it will be farmed out to’ chose her to be PM and make him Deputy.

    If it is true that she knew of her condition before discussing a coalition with Winston Peters, and kept it quiet from we the people while making a point of telling him, then it seems to me that we the people have been cynically lied to by omission, and, instead of fawning over Ms Ardern as some faultless wonderwoman celebrity, we should be asking the pair of them some hard questions about the legitimacy of their coalition.

    • Blazer

       /  January 21, 2018

      it may have passed you and Kitty by…but NZ is not a dictatorship.There is no merit to your argument.And sour grapes are just…sour grapes.