Article of Guardian’s author Melissa Kite rightly points out the problem of sexism in politics. However, immediately after this she shifts the attention from the real issue and adopts a sexist narrative when talking about the solutions.
The author recognizes that sexist behavior that male politicians engage in is responsible for sexist climate. She also establishes the fact that this repeatedly drives female politicians out of the politics. Then however she concludes that the problem isn’t in men but in women:
The problem is not that male politicians can be childish and offensive, but that today’s female politicians don’t seem to know how to handle them.
So her solution isn’t to support female politicians or hold those men responsible for their actions. Instead she proposes that the victims of sexist male behavior need to ‘toughen up’:
This sort of sexist intimidation is wrong, of course. But I would argue that, rather than wait for the utopian day when men stop being misogynistic, female MPs should toughen up.
What is also problematic, is the term in the headline. “Man up” implies the dualist division men/strong, female/weak, connecting femininity to something undesirable, something one should change if one is to be perceived positively.
While arguing that female politicians should simply “man up”, Melissa Kite actually tells them they should stop being women. And this claim is problematic from two aspects. Firstly because it implies that politics is something only for men. And secondly because it accepts the current sexist state of politics as normal.
So instead of challenging the current norms of male dominated politics, the author simply accepts them as a norm and expects that everyone adjusts accordingly.