No not her politics (for the moment) but the reaction to her from the media, from Fine Gael head office, from her party leader?
On Tuesday afternoon when she made her speech at the MacGill Summer School (not a lot of women speakers and very few in the audience) I read snippets reported through twitter and found myself fairly shocked to agree with her. On the matter of donations to political parties she questioned if those indebted to the state and supported by NAMA should be tapped up for donations from political parties.
Specifically she was referring to the Fine Gael party fundraiser at the K Club last week and the subsequent coverage. She mentioned Fine Gael being perceived as FF lite. And she made a number of other points on political reform and standards which is the theme of the summer school. I believe that links between political parties and builders over the past twenty years has a huge part to play in the state we are in so I heard those bits and thought it was good to hear someone say it!.
Of course the media (who have been feeding well from the middleclass and fairly male MacGill trough all week) were only delighted to stir up the post heave trauma for another run out and reported with glee the challenges made to Fine Gael (and therefore Enda Kenny) in Lucinda’s remarks.
I’m no fan of Deputy Creighton’s politics as a quick trawl elsewhere will show but I find myself wondering if some of the media’s reaction to her would be different if she was male. It’s not just male journalists that seem to have a problem with her either. There’s lots of use of terms like ‘feisty’, ‘blonde ambition’, ‘stilettos flying’, ‘ambitious young lady‘ in reports and columns on Lucinda’s speeches. If you read the speech you’ll see there is discussion of the whip system and her views on it’s effects on democracy – there’s little comment anywhere else on this. She also reflects on press officer control, trust in politicians and the issue of political dissent.
When John McGuinness was sacked as a junior minister and has subsequently spoken out regarding the troubles in Fianna Fail there has been much about his business background and experience, large local vote, political dynasty etc. Not a lot about his dress, hair colour or gender.
The last straw for me was whilst watching Tonight with Vincent Browne’s review of newspapers on Tuesday night. There was a cackle fest amongst presenter and panel on Lucinda’s speech but no analysis of what she actually said, loads of personal commentary and most of it disparaging. Nothing on the farce of developers being bailed out and supporting political parties and a golf club on dodgy financial knees being the the place for the support.
Lucinda is not the only woman to have faced challenging treatment from the media recently. Tanaiste Mary Coughlan has also received a lot of attention in the past eighteen months. I’m not so sure she’s getting the rough time entirely due to her gender though. Competence surely has much to do with the matter?
On her blog yesterday Lucinda was not surprised at the coverage and has had enough of the blonde ambition and stilettos too. I doubt this means that she will be coming out all radical feminist on us anytime soon. Is her media treatment related to her gender or possibly a symptom of the poor quality of discourse and political thinking in her party that whenever she says something she’s going to be noticed ?
I hope to return to the issues of gender and dissent in future posts as it’s not restricted to party politics or blueshirts but would be interested in hearing and engaging with the views of others.