monitory tales


Institutionalized sexism is in the news in Japan today. I suppose the big surprise is that it's made it into the news here at all, for a change. (English link to the story here.)




Brief summary: At a hearing of the Tokyo Metropolitan Assembly on May 18, Assemblywoman Ayaka Shiomura was asking a question related to the national trend toward marriage and childbirth later in life when, from the Liberal Democratic Party seating area of the assembly hall, male assemblymembers heckled her, calling out, "Why don't you hurry up and get married then?" and "What, can't you have any children?"


This despicable outburst was met, as you might guess, by gales of laughter from the mostly male assembly membership.


I wonder if I myself would have laughed.


There was a time in life when I certainly would have. I was raised in a religious and social environment in which women were, if not denigrated, at least not held to be entirely equal in dignity. I adopted this attitude even beyond the age at which I ought to have begun thinking for myself and to have known better.


By the way, the leadership of the conservative Liberal Democratic Party, in what amounts to a tacit admission of wrongdoing, has refused to name the assemblymen who made the sexually harrassing remarks. What, can't you take a joke?