Calling Out Misogyny

I admit it, I’m a bit of a dinosaur. I don’t have Tik Tok.

And whilst I do technically have an MSP Twitter account, it is operated by my staff who tell me it’s best I don’t see the abuse directed at me from some quarters.

Facebook is the only social media platform I’m active on both personally and professionally.

In the former context, I enjoy it for the banter; in the latter, as a tool to communicate information. But there are days I question the wisdom of engaging in either.

I still struggle to get my head around a former Facebook follower’s response to a photo I posted of myself and Michael Russell with a newly appointed female ministerial colleague. After posting the caption “two props and a hooker”, he refused my invitation to remove the offensive comment and was subsequently blocked.

It’s said you need a thick skin to be in politics, but when it comes to social media you’d need the hide of a rhino. And I’ve come to realise that’s so much more the case if you’re a woman politician.

We often debate why more women aren’t tempted into politics. Take a look on Twitter and you’ll find the answer.

You may have noticed that my party, the SNP, has been engaged in a leadership contest. Such contests, across the political spectrum, can be robust affairs.

This one has attracted “interest” both from individuals who do not share our principal aim and from those who claim to, but whose social media output would leave you struggling to be convinced of that.

Some of the contributions from these sources have been appalling. Those directed at women colleagues for having the temerity to express a view on who might be the best choice have, in some instances, been positively vile.

The month of March marks International Women’s Day. How ironic that this March has served to remind us that misogyny remains a scourge of Scottish society and its politics.

It is incumbent on all of us to call this out whenever we encounter it, whether it involves people who share our views or oppose them.

Member of the Scottish Parliament for Angus South Constituency. Minister for Higher and Further Education; and Minister for Veterans.

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