Sunday, February 06, 2005

Sexism is not 'culture'

It says something about the timidity of our elected politicians that it takes an unelected and supposedly non-partisan official to take issue with the treatment of women by Maori.
There is no excuse in the year 2005 for customs that seek to limit the participation of women or people of other ethnicities, any more than we can tolerate the notion that one ethnic group is superior to another.
Silvia Cartwright has said what has long needed to be said. This primitive tradition of belittling and subjugating women has gone on too long.
Had our 'popular and competent' leader actually attended Waitangi commerations at Te Tii Waitangi Marae on Saturday, she would have not been allowed to speak because of her gender and been made to take a seat behind a religous fundamentalist and a criminal maori extremist. What other modern country would allow their elected leader being treated this way purely because she is a woman?
Why do we allow this blatant sexism to continue under the guise of 'cultural sensitivity'? I've heard some Maori and politically neutered Pakeha justify it by claiming 'it's our protocol and our decision', which is true, just as it should be our Government's decision to refuse to endorse or financially contribute to activities of any Maori iwi (or any other ethnic/religous group for that matter) that continue to practice antiquated traditions.
I've also been told that I 'just don't understand Maori culture', that's correct, much like Islamic extremists and the use of the burqa I don't understand a 'culture' that promotes treating women as less than equal. It is 2005, not 1805. Much of the world has matured since then, it's time the sexists joined us.


Anonymous said...

I totally agree with that one. It's garbage that it can be dressed up with 'cultural sensitivy'. I have no problem with people doing it at a Marae, or in the home, but in secular, public domain it's unacceptable. 

Posted by Xavier

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear! I once had the justification for the seating position at powhiri explained to me and it goes something like this...because women bear children, the future of the hapu, iwi, rests with them.

At powhiri the two groups as yet do not know if the other side can be trusted and aggression may take place; typically it would be the men's role to take up any fighting, hence men at the front and women at the back. Of course the environment we live in now has changed, and what once was probably a good reason, no longer seems to apply. 

Posted by Maurice

Anonymous said...

Good post. It is primitive and pathetic. Post some quotes from Moaridom advocating tolerance, equal rights for women, the right of homosexuals to live their lives openly, etc. Hell, make up some quotes of your own and take them down to your local marae and ask to read them out. And, for a real good time, ask for the women to be able to sit wherever the hell they please while you do it.


Posted by Ruth