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Badmouthing Women: A Male Disorder

This week British Prime Minister David Cameron did something that his voters had not selected him for: apologize, after making derogatory comments about two of his women colleagues. Cameron first told Angela Eagle - a senior Labor MP and the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, "calm down, dear'' while replying to a question in the House of Commons. Later, he also passed a crude remark about Tory MP Nadine Dorries, calling her sexually frustrated.

Ugly the comments sure were, but I would say that Mr. Cameroon is at least man enough to apologize. Some even don’t have that ability. And one such person that I can think of right now is the late Pramod Mahajan – a former minister from Mumbai.

In 1999 Mahajan – a senior leader of India’s main opposition party BJP, hurled insults at Sonia Gandhi, the Congress party president and the then PM hopeful, equating her with Monica Lewinsky (White House intern). Not satisfied with this, he later went one step ahead and said that Sonia Gandhi’s only contribution to India was producing two babies and adding to the country’s growing population. It’s a cheap, devoid of all decency and respect for women and saw widespread protests. But Mahajan never apologized!

(Mahajan was shot dead by his own brother in 2006. Years later, his twice married son Rahul Mahajan has been accused of battering both his wives. Ill manner can run in the genes!)

Mahajan and Cameroon have many followers!

Ghana’s deputy minister for the Interior, Kobby Acheampong is certainly one of them. Last week, Kobbe was being interviewed on a TV show by a female host. Asked some tough questions, the minister lost his self control, and went for the jugular of the host, Shamima Muslim, attacking her personality. The nation watched in horror as the minister, live on TV, pushed his fingers directly into the face of Shamima as he refused to allow her to play her role as host. He
continued even outside the studio, drawing the attention of a small crowd to watch the drama of a deputy Minister insulting a female television host in public, calling her a “stupid girl” who “jumps from one place to another” and an ‘aboa’, a fool.

This year in June we saw Nobel laureate writer V S Naipaul bad mouthing women writers, saying that they have narrow view of the world that makes their writing inferior to that of men. He went on to say that since the woman is not a complete master of a house, it comes over in her writing too.

In July, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi made a derogatory comment about Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling her as ‘an un****able fat ****’.

As I go from one example to another of famous, powerful (and very public figure) men insulting their colleagues publicly, I wonder, what it is really that pushes them into stooping so low. Is it jealousy? Insecurity? A poor upbringing? Or is it a genetic disorder? I would like to believe that it’s a mental disorder and these men need psychiatric help.


Titilope's picture

It is disheartening to see

It is disheartening to see the long list of supposedly honourable men degrading women. This reminds me of on of the posters on women's right which says "Real men don't violate women". Apart from the fact that they have mental disorder they are not real men as created by God. when people in position of authority publicly insult their colleagues you can imagine what ordinary men will do. What then is the future of women's right and gender equality? your guess is a good as mine.
This is a good piece, let us continue to expose, name and shame those who have no regard for womanhood.

Stella Paul's picture

Thank you my friend

I can't thank you enough for this strong message! As you guessed right, ordinary men insult their female colleagues even more. And, often it frustrates me when I see many of my female colleagues just gulp down the insult they receive! As more and more of us are stepping out of homes and entering different fields of professions, its really important that we get fair treatment - like we deserve.

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

When one cannot match another's intellect or is exposed as inept and not up to standard, they tend to revert to the cave men mentality aim low and try to deflect their shortcomings - men ! so silly


Stella Paul's picture

Yes, silly and damaging

Dear Maggs

Of course it is silly,but sometimes it can be really damaging for the woman concerned. Let me tell you of an incident that happened here. A Muslim (girl) friend of mine struggled really hard and finally got a newscaster's role in a TV news channel. She traveled to another city to join her post. Meanwhile, a male colleague of hers who wanted the newscaster's role, but was rejected (because of his unclear pronunciation), started a whispering campaign that my friend was actually working as a porn star. The result is this: even after years, my friend hasn't been able to find a boy from her community willing to marry her. Slander can really weave deep suspicion.

Thanks so much for reading! Love

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Carlotta's picture

I so agree with you sister!

I so agree with you sister!

Teresa Temweka's picture

Good piece

It is important Stella that we write about these things. As i read through, i almost got angry at how men insult women. What wrong did women commit to deserve such treatment? Being born a woman? Its frustrating but i think with time people will change. Good piece.


Stella Paul's picture

Yes Teresa

Dear Teresa

I think its important to remember what you say, that time will change. After all, we are working so hard to make that happen. It has to change. Thanks so much for reading!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Annie Malia's picture

Thanks for your expose

Hi Stella
What a litany of ills. Yes, what did women do to deserve any of this? Do we not give birth to these men, nurture & support them in countless ways? Sometimes I think it is what Helen Caldicott calls an "aberrant gene - because we're destroying the planet." (though she wasn't referring specifically to men) - But who are the creators of weapons & bombs & earthdiggers & cars...& all that is destroying our Mother Earth? Not women, that's for sure.

Walk in Beauty

Stella Paul's picture

So true!

Dear Annie

You know, it sure is, as you rightly put, a litany of ills. Is it not ironic that despite all the victimization, women are the first to think of cleaning up and making the world a better place?

Thanks so much for reading!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Osai's picture

Men acting badly

I think for me the most annoying thing about this behaviour of men insulting women is the confidence that they can get away with it. It is more abhorent, when men acting badly are those in position of authority or in governance. A particular abuse women who are contesting political positions in Nigeria is an attack on their personality and status. Married women are described as cold career-focused women who neglect their family in pursuit of political power. Single/Divorced women are called prostitutes, loose women and morally bankrupt otherwise, they would have been married!

Women are developing hard skins to such abuse and violence but this is no excuse for bad behaviour. While as parents, siblings and friends we should contine to correct men acting badly, the media has a role to strongly condemn such abusive behaviour. It appears that the media find such abuse humourous or at best insignificant news. The media needs to put the pressure on our leaders to respect women and apologize when they cross the line.

Thank God for PulseWire, we can draw attention to such bad behaviour and condemn it in strongest terms.

Interesting read and very poignant too.

All the best,

Twitter: @livingtruely

Stella Paul's picture

Very happy

Dear Osai

I am extremely happy to see such a strong message from you. It is painful and very, very frustrating to see people - especially some women (who have the connections and resources to be heard) keeping mum on this crucial issue. And what you said about Nigeria, is something that prevails right in India and, I am sure everywhere else.

I went to a university in India that's known for its very progressive school of thoughts and action. Yet, one evening, I was sipping tea with 2 of my (girl0 friends when a guy (a Phd student) walked up and said something very vulgar. We complained to the student's union and they just asked us to 'forget'it as a trivial thing. Later we went to the dean of the college and a special session was called to handle it. Things fell in place, the student apologized. But in all this, the 3rd girl in our group stayed safely away. She didn't want to be part of a 'drama'!

Its this attitude that we need to rid as well. Thanks so much for reading and giving this insight!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Hummingbird's picture


May be they are intimidated by women, they might have a struggle in a hidden corner in their heads that women are inferior and they will never be like them, but when reality proves that they were wrong they still live in this male delusion that "no, this can't be! they are inferior and they will stay this way in my head".

A drop of rain can revive the earth, be the drop.


Stella Paul's picture

Funny,but true!

lol- I liked the way you put it. But that's a true observation! Like old habits, thoughts in thick heads too die hard!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Stash's picture

Thanks for this thoroughly

Thanks for this thoroughly researched piece Stella, well done. Put together like this, its scary to think that dangerous men do not dwell only in the characters of the DSKs of this world. Dangerous men are these, with very huge egos that feel threatened at the slightest display of superiority by women. Very few women of old ever challenged men, and things are a-changing, and men dont like it or the idea that the world is about to see fair and square who the real 'man' is, so to speak.

Stella Paul's picture

Thats one step forward!

Ok Stash, first of all, I am so happy to see you back (exams over, huh?). This place is going to be even livelier now :)

On this badmouthing issue, I feel every time one girl speaks up, its one step forward to a better world and one step away from the old order. If you look purely from that 'things are a-changing' perspective, the world already develops more meaning :) Lets keep the tune playing!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

MaDube's picture

They are intellectually immature

Any person in their right mind would not do the things these men do. But it is also about ego, men do not like it when someone is better than they are, worse still if the someone happens to be of the opposite sex. They feel threatened and so the only way of handling the threat is to kick and scream insults. It shows a great deficiency intellect of course to do that, but have we not always that half the time men do not think with their brains :-). We should teach our children better and create better generations of the male species.

MaDube's picture

It posted too soon. I meant

It posted too soon. I meant to say great post. You weaved all the pieces together so well. Ah, Stella, always so inspiring.

Stella Paul's picture

Horrible,isn't it?

Sets your blood boiling, isn't it? And now you know where the rot starts - right at the root, or shall I say, top? Lets start being bad and loud, so the real bad will be exposed.

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

Carlotta's picture

I always feel much more

I always feel much more informed after reading your posts, Stella, do keep writing. VS Naipaul was one of my favourite authors - until now. i liked reading a House for Mr Biswas. I think i'll re-read it using a microscope and im sure i'll see how he views women through his character portrayal. Empty vessels make the most noise, that's all i have to say about these blabber mouths. But we shan't take it lying down, we will have our day.

So what do these men, these leaders, have to say when addressing the issue of the abuse of women, huh?

Pushpa Achanta's picture

Important piece

Dear Stella,

Thanks for sharing something which bothers/affects many women. But I think that we must be careful before terming men as psychologically disturbed as they often (ab)use that excuse to justify their acts of physical sexual assault.

You write well. Please continue.


Stella Paul's picture


Hahaha, now I am trying to imagine Mr Cameron clarifying 'my dear, I had gone nuts'. That would be riotous. Jokes apart, yes, lawyers have time and again tried the that tool to save their clients.

Thanks for reading! We are paired now and I hope to get to know you better (hope to meet you someday in B'lore), sent you an invite on FB too. We have a big bunch of common friends (its a small world). If you ever come to Hyd, lets catch up!

Take care!

Stella Paul
Twitter: @stellasglobe

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