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This really happened: MP grabs female colleague during abortion debate.

What do you mean this isn't 1957?
What do you mean this is an abortion debate and not the set of Mad Men?!?

By ROSIE WATERLAND

A lawmaker in Ireland is upset about being called sexist, after he drunkenly pulled a female member of parliament onto his lap during a debate about abortion.

Let me say that again: HE WAS DRUNK AND PULLED A FEMALE MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT ONTO HIS LAP DURING A DEBATE ABOUT ABORTION.

The debate was about the Protection of Life Pregnancy Bill, which would allow abortions to be performed when the mother faces life-threatening circumstances because of her pregnancy. Abortion is a notoriously controversial issue in the mostly Catholic nation of Ireland.

So… A serious debate on abortion rights? Well that’s the perfect time to get pissed and PARTY DOWN! Woot, woot! Have a look at Barry’s behaviour during the debate:

I’ve also broken it down into these four ‘spot-the-sexism’ images so we can have a little chat about it:

IrishParliament

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1. She tries to walk past;

2. He pulls her down;

3. He hangs on, just for fun;

4. She breaks free and hurriedly walks off.

Say WHAT?

The woman is Irish TD (their equivalent of an MP) Aine Collins, and the charming man is fellow TD Tom Barry. Now, the fact that Barry felt he had the right to treat a female colleague like a play-thing is gobsmacking enough, but it was how he reacted to the resulting criticism of the incident that really makes all the angry happen.

First of all, he was drinking. But he definitely wasn’t totally drunk, you guys: “I went to the Dail bar but I wasn’t drinking excessively,” Barry said in a statement. Oh, okay then. So it’s fine to go drinking before a debate on the Protection of Life Pregnancy Bill, as long as you don’t get FULLY drunk. It’s only women’s autonomy over their bodies that’s on the agenda, who needs a sharp mind for that, amiright?

Oh, but wait there’s more. (And it is enough to make you want to bring out ALL the steak knives).

After the video leaked online and Barry was labelled as a sexist, he got, like, really, upset because it was super unfair…

Aine Collins: Member of Parliament/male play-thing.
Aine Collins: Member of Parliament/male play-thing.
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“I feel very upset that it is being described as that (sexist). I didn’t intend to offend anyone and I can’t offer any excuse other than to put it down to stupidity, naivety and inexperience.”

Um, inexperience with what? Interacting with women and not being a SEXIST? Next.

“Something like this has never happened to me before and I can promise will never happen again.”

Uhhh… Happened to YOU before? You purposefully degrade a woman who is your professional equal, blame it on the fact you’re an ‘inexperienced’ middle-aged man, people (rightly) call you a sexist and you’re upset about what’s happened to YOU? Oh, you’re right, you poor bunny. It must be hard being so misunderstood. Kind of like the parliament debate on abortion that you mistook for a Mad Men party.

And are we convinced that it “will never happen again” because he’s realised the error of his ways? Not so much. Something tells me (and by ‘something’ I mean the half-arsed, ‘don’t blame me – women be confusing!’ apology) that he only said sorry because he wanted all the mean ladies to stop yelling at him.

It should be a relief to hear that Barry admitted: “It should never have happened. I would be the very first one to say that.” But it’s not really. It’s not a relief. Because it did happen. And it would never have happened if she wasn’t a woman.

Would Barry have sat in parliament and a pulled a man of equal professional standing playfully onto his lap? No. He wouldn’t have. And the entrenched attitude that made him think it was okay to do that to a woman in the first place is what’s most concerning. Apology or not.

Yeah… The 1950’s called: They want their blatant sexism back.

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