TAIWAN – Tsai Ing-wen, who made history by becoming the first female president of the self-governing island nation, Taiwan, just last Saturday, was reduced to the cliche of ‘crazy old cat lady’ by the Chinese media.
Tsai ing-wen accorded with the title of most powerful woman by TIME magazine, came under fire of the Chinese media, on Tuesday, by virtue of her singledom.
In an extremely personal attack, Wang Weixing, an analyst with China’s People’s Liberation Army and board member of the Association for Relations Across the Taiwan Strait, wrote in an opinion piece that Tsai Wen was “extreme” in her political approach, owing to her status as an unmarried woman, thus “lacking the emotional encumbrance of love, the constraints of family or the worries of children.” The Daily Mail reported.
“Her style and strategy in pursuing politics constantly skew toward the emotional, personal and extreme,” Wang wrote, adding that Tsai was prone to focusing excessively on details and short-term goals rather than the overall strategic considerations.
The piece appeared on Tuesday on the website of the International Herald Leader, which was published by China’s official Xinhua News Agency. The piece was soon removed from the official website as well as other Chinese news portals, reported by CNN. The piece invariably generated a lot of widespread criticism. The media was then accused of being extremely sexist and falling prey to ‘Straight man cancer’ a popular Chinese term which refers to chauvinist, judgmental behavior that belittles women.
This instance, in the larger picture exemplifies just one more misguided trope that female politicians are subjected to the trope of women not being successful leaders owing to their perceived lack of reason. Time and time again, across all borders, women politicians have had to trudge through gender discrimination, not just from the general public, but also their own colleagues.