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What’s with the “babes”?

Written By: - Date published: 10:52 am, November 7th, 2011 - 40 comments
Categories: Media, sexism - Tags: , ,

Women got the vote in this country in 1893.  We’ve had two women PMs.  But apparently more than a few men are still having a problem coming to terms with the idea of political equality.

How else to explain this widespread tendency to dub the Auckland Central contest between Labour’s Jacinda Ardern and National’s Nikki Kaye as “the battle of the babes”?  The Herald is particularly naff in this respect (e.g. here, here, here), but other outlets are also aboard the bandwagon (e.g. here, here).

As if women in politics (as in most other walks of life) didn’t have enough blatant sexism to cope with, we have to slobber over a couple of candidates in an electorate who happen to be women, and call them “babes”?

Political equality – 118 years and counting – still some way to go….

40 comments on “What’s with the “babes”? ”

  1. vto 1

    Battle of the babes

    Battle of the blokes

    Didn’t see any compaints when the blokes one was floating a few days ago. Is this like the recent highly selective posts of “balls” and the follow up post headed “bollocks”.

    It is pretty damn hard to keep up with what is fair and what is not – it is all so subjective. The incredible subjectivity weakens this issue’s credibility.

    • just saying 1.1

      It is pretty damn hard to keep up with what is fair and what is not

      A good start might be actually listening to those affected. But I have a feeling that you only care about ‘what’s fair’, when you find yourself on the downside of unfairness. Other kinds of unfairness? tosh…

    • McFlock 1.2

      “Blokes” involves qualities of toughness and easy-going sociability. “Babes” is almost purely based on sexual attractiveness.

      I suggest a male equivalent would be “Stoush of the spunkmeisters”. 🙂

    • Carol 1.3

      There were some people who commented on the Stuff site saying that the whole blokes vid was sexist.

      I found the vid a turn-off.

  2. queenstfarmer 2

    “Here’s to women – once our superiors, now our equals”


  3. One Anonymous Bloke 3

    Why do women wear makeup and perfume?
    Because they’re ugly and they stink.

    To call NZ media infantile is an insult to infants.

  4. Ianupnorth 4

    Just had to check the URL to make sure I hadn’t been flicked to whaleoil….

  5. Nick C 5

    Both Jacinda and Nikki are complicit in this. They write an opposing column for NZ Herald called ‘Broadsides’, where they give their opinion on a different issue each week. One could argue that they are using their ‘erotic capital’ to advance their political careers. Certainly seems to have worked so far; they are two better known first term MPs and both got high list rankings.

    I don’t really have a view on the issue, but it seems to be more complex than you are portraying it.

    • Shazzadude 5.1

      Yeah, that’s my opinion as well. They’re not exactly complaining about it.

      • One Anonymous Bloke 5.1.1

        Perhaps because they know that complaining will hurt their electoral chances. Not to mention the fact that they’ve probably experienced enough of this sort of crap that the more likely response is an eye-roll.

    • Ari 5.2

      Often women don’t complain even in situations they’re profoundly uncomfortable with for very good reasons- it’s often counter-attacked with accusations of humourlessness and “political correctness” gone too far, and it can be pretty intimidating to confront that, especially given that often it seems to help their careers to keep quiet. I’m not saying I support that idea, but to call being quiet and benefitting from sexism, especially the small stuff that only creates a harmful culture rather than actively hurting anyone, is a very good example of blaming the victim.

      It shouldn’t just be up to Ardern and Kaye to object, the Herald shouldn’t behave this way in the first place.

    • ropata 5.3

      Typical tabloid headline from the Herald, nothing that unusual. “Broadsides” is in poor taste, look up the etymology of “Broad”.

  6. The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6

    I wonder which of Kaye and Ardern Cunliffe would like to repopulate the planet with.

    • r0b 6.1

      Maybe he’d share Key’s preference for Liz Hurley?  Ahh what a proud moment for NZ that was.  Not.

      • The Gormless Fool formerly known as Oleolebiscuitbarrell 6.1.1

        ..and why is one side of the re-population equation being taken for granted? Why does Cunliffe get to choose? Half the population will end up as self-satisfied know-it-alls. I vote for Clooney.

      • McFlock 6.1.2

        Ewwww! I just had a vision of a future where the entire planet is populated by descendents of Key. 
        Think “Rimmerworld” but even worse.

  7. Lanthanide 7

    “we have to slobber over a couple of candidates in an electorate who happen to be women, and call them “babes”?”

    I don’t think it’s a case of “couple of candidates in an electorate who happen to be women”, but more a couple of candidates in an electorate who happen to both be attractive women.

    Paula Bennet and Carmel Sepuloni are both women fighting for the same electorate, but I don’t see any headlines calling them babes.

    If you had two male candidates that looked like models running in an electorate, I’d expect similar words to be used – hustings of the hunks maybe?

    • Shazzadude 7.1

      Yes, who knows, we could one day have Kelvin Davis, leader of the Labour Party v Simon Bridges, leader of the National Party.

  8. vto 8

    And hang on, I see on the side of this very page an advertisement headed “discoverme” with a picture of an attractive woman in dress and pose cleary designed to use her femaleness to sell the ad. Seems like the standard is happy to take advantage of this very issue for its own purposes …

    Convoluted, compromised, conned …

    Not denying the wide issue at hand but sheesh the twistings and turnings are blinding.

    • Lanthanide 8.1

      To be fair, ads just show up automatically and the site owner has to specifically object to an ad in order for it to be removed.

      This post is Anthony’s opinion, rather than The Standard’s.

    • McFlock 8.2

      BUT at the risk of dismally failing GEND101, the thing I’ve never understood is why having a scantily clad woman on a $60k car objectifies the woman but isn’t equally insulting to the male customers. Basically, the principle seems to be that I’m supposed to drop thousandson a car simply because I get a semi. WTF?

      • Ari 8.2.1

        It IS insulting (perhaps not equally) to male customers to be constantly advertised to through sex and shallow appearance. You’re not failing GEND101, you’re discovering what’s often abbreviated to FBM, or Feminism Benefits Men.

        • McFlock

          what, it’s not along the lines of  the patriarchy pleading “victim status” too in order to minimise the harm done to women?

      • wtl 8.2.2

        It’s not only insulting to male customers – it’s manipulating male customers, i.e. taking advantage of some very basic instincts present in most males to increase the chances that they buy the product. I’ve always thought whole ‘sex sells’ thing in advertising is a lot more harmful to men than women, but that does not seem to be the prevailing view.

        • One Anonymous Bloke

          Well that’s probably because the harm men experience is a sort of theoretical abstract harm.

  9. Tiger Mountain 9

    “Babe Battle Bonkfest Bonanza” etc. fits the Herald tabloid alliterative style, but is far from being everyones cup of the proverbial. I am more interested in population trends in central Auckland to help figure out the respective parties chances.

  10. King Kong 10

    comment deleted


    The battle in Epsom has more complete tits running in it than anywhere else. Does this make Epsom “The Battle of the Boobs”?

  12. fender 12

    Babeness like beauty comes from within. That bottle blonde with the inbuilt nastiness is not a babe. The only babe running for Auck. Cen. is Jacinda Ardern, and I base that opinion on her inner beauty,empathy and genuine concern for people more than her outer beauty which is undeniable also.

  13. Craig Glen Eden 13

    agreed 2

  14. Rodel 14

    Yea but Gerry Brownlee is the real South Island babe.

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