Monday, June 6, 2011

Clothes maketh the woman

Out of sheer boredom today, I went onto Stuff to see if anything interesting was happening in New Zealand at the moment. I have been boycotting Stuff since Chaz Harris' blog was cancelled, but thought I should quickly check out any major news in our great nation. Imagine my surprise when I discovered the top headline was 'MP kicked out for Highlanders shirt'. I will forgo discussing the issue of the media yet again reporting something which is so obviously not news and move on to discussing the issues that have been brought up from this non event.

Clare Curran was only ejected because she was a woman
I am at a loss to figure out how her being a woman has anything to do with her showing up to Parliament, her workplace, in a rugby jersey and being asked to leave. Is there sexism in Parliament? I believe there probably is so maybe it would be helpful for people to take their job seriously and not show up for work dressed like they have just finished gardening. I get angry when women play the sexist card when it is uncalled for. There are real instances of gender inequality in this country and for someone to play that card over something so ridiculous, it puts those with actual claims on the back foot. And, as Nana Ross would say, just because someone else shows up to Parliament wearing a rugby scarf, doesn't mean you should show up in a rugby jersey.

Curran was raising awareness to an important issue
Now I will admit I am a little rugby mad. Okay I am a full blown fanatic. But to describe the Highlander's change of kit as an important issue seems extremely far fetched, especially when the economy is in the toilet and our child abuse rate is still one of the highest in the Western world. This is not an issue for the government. This is an issue for talk back and bloggers. I would be deeply concerned if we as a nation thought that Parliament was a suitable forum for discussing what shirts our rugby players wore. I'm sure they could use their time better discussing how to cut down our $71.6 billion national debt.

There is not a clear enough description of what is normal business wear for women
I don't know about you, but I want the people who are in charge of spending my tax dollars to know the difference between business clothes and gardening clothes. My father in law to be has often spoken about 'casual Fridays' being the strangest New Zealand custom he has come across since he moved here from Scotland. No matter what job you are in, there is a level of dress that is expected. I have the ugliest uniform in the world, but it is practical for my job and I know if I turned up to work in anything else, I would be sent home WITHOUT PAY and told to come back to work in my work clothes. If Curran really doesn't know what is expected of her in regards to her attire, then maybe she shouldn't be making decisions that affect us all.

Although this is a minor issue in the grand scheme of things, I think it needs to be mentioned that our politicians represent us to the rest of the world. I want the rest of the world to view this country as a place that can be taken seriously in economic, political and social matters. I also want them to view this government as being a professional group of people who can make big decisions and doesn't need babysitting. When someone shows up to Parliament wearing a rugby jersey and has to be told it is inappropriate, I wonder how the rest of the world views us.

So I ask of the politicians of this country, please feel free to call your mother if you have trouble figuring out what to wear to work. I know my three year old often finds it difficult to figure out what to wear to kindy, so maybe your mum can help.