Implicit sexism in the Gauntlet

By Michael Jensen

Editors, the Gauntlet,

Re: "The secret life of Nancy Betkowski," March 8, 2001

I was disturbed by the implicit sexism of Lawrence Bailey’s column on Nancy MacBeth. Bailey overlooked obvious facts. From his first campaign as mayor to today, Ralph Klein has jumped from being a populist NDP’er, to a Liberal (which he left being after it was obvious he would not win the leadership from Laureance Decore) to the Tories. Yet, there are no articles by Bailey or anybody else about Klein being ruthlessly ambitious and power-crazed. Maybe if Ralph changed his name Bailey would write about it. How a woman politician’s name-change is an indication of Machiavellian ambition seems like a double standard to me. The continual double entendres to "Lady Macbeth" imply that all female politicians have to be more subdued in wanting to be Premier during elections or any other time than their male counterparts or be branded with such terms.

To MacBeth’s defence, she was always labelled on the left of the centre-right Lougheed-Getty Tories. That’s where the Alberta Liberals are now as the Tories have veered to
the far right. There’s no significant inconsistency. Only in one-party dictatorships (perhaps Alberta?) are individuals expected to stay with a party for life. Isn’t that what democracy is about–being able to switch parties?

How ironic the Gauntlet advertised its upcoming feminist supplement below Bailey’s column! The ad advertises feminism as a movement thought to be dead. With polemics like Bailey writing for the Gauntlet opinion pages, I’m wondering that too.

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