Tsai Ing-wen, who made history by becoming the first female president of the self-governing island nation, Taiwan, last Saturday, was reduced to the cliche of 'crazy old cat lady' by the Chinese media.
Tsai ing-wen accorded with the title of most powerful woman by the TIME magazine, came under the scrutiny of the Chinese media, on Tuesday, by virtue of her singledom.
In an extremely personal attack, Wang Weixing, an analyst with China's People's Liberation Army and board member of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, wrote in an opinion piece, how Tsai Wen was "extreme" in her political approach, owing to her status as an unmarried woman, thus "lacking the emotional encumbrance of love, the constraints of family or the worries of children." as reported by The Daily Mail.
"Her style and strategy in pursuing politics constantly skew toward the emotional, personal and extreme," Wang wrote, adding that Tsai was prone to focussing excessively on details and short-term goals rather than overall strategic considerations.
The piece appeared on Tuesday on the website of the International Herald Leader, which is published by China's official Xinhua News Agency. The piece was soon taken down from the official website as well as other Chinese news portals, reported by CNN. The piece invariably generated widespread criticism. The media was accused of being extremely sexist and falling prey to 'Straight man cancer' a popular Chinese term that refers to chauvinist, judgmental behavior that belittles women.
While the opinion piece failed to prove anything about Tsai, it did stand testimony to the practice of chauvinism rampant in the governments all over the world.
This instance, in the larger picture exemplifies just another misguided trope that female politicians are subjected to the trope of women not being successful leaders owing to their perceived lack of reason. Time and time again, across borders, women politicians have had to trudge through gender discrimination, not just from the general public, but also their colleagues.
Much closer to home, the newly elected BJP MLA Angoorlata Deka, from the Batadroba constituency in Assam, has also had her fair share of skewed media coverage. Rather than focusing on her campaign, the media's entire focus has been on her looks.
Former Australian President Julia Gilard had to speak out about sexism in politics. She also praised Hillary Clinton, who has been subjected to sexist jibes by the Republican front-runner Donald Trump. This practice of subjugating women to mere stereotypes runs deep and strong. While the world indulges, one can only hope that the number of women like Angoortala and Tsai ing-wen debunking these cliches continue to rise.
Updated Date: May 25, 2016 20:03:10 IST