Salma Yaqoob: Apparently, she bakes.

It is important that we know this. Also, that Salma Yaqoob is very, very slight. As in the perfect example of femininity. Just in case we got confused about what is actually important and its not that she was the leader of a political party who RESIGNED IN PROTEST because of some seriously offensive rape apologist bullshit on the part of another member of the party: George Galloway. Nope, we must remember at all times that Yaqoob is a girl and knows how to behave like one.

In the middle of what could have been a decent article in the Guardian, Yaqoob’s feminine performativity is reinforced over and over again culminating in this piece of twaddle:

Yaqoob, 41, is, in person, even slighter than she seems on television – she has long, thin arms and a face miraculously unlined by a decade spent raising three boys, working as a councillor in Birmingham (she resigned for reasons of ill-health last year), running a part-time psychotherapy practice – oh, and leading a new political party. She has just had a new kitchen fitted, and the backyard of her home in the Moseley area of Birmingham is piled with cardboard boxes. The ceilings are high, and the rooms full of light. On the kitchen table sits a straw basket of chapatis she has been baking.

Obviously, if Yaqoob hadn’t been baking then we would have forgotten she didn’t have a penis. I mean, seriously, how is this even relevant? Who cares what she looks like or does? She’s a politician; one with actual morals. How many can claim that? But, still, we minimise her accomplishments by babbling on about her appearance. 

Even more obnoxiously, that paragraph was shoved in between the reporter asking about Galloway’s “Assange is just guilty of bad sex” theory and Yaqoob’s answer. This is her answer: 

“I’ve always admired George’s anti-imperialist stances and I don’t regret, for a second, standing side by side on those issues. But for me, to have to make a choice between that and standing up for the rights of women was a false choice. I thought it was a blurring of something that didn’t need to be blurred. It’s not that complicated – you can hold two ideas at the same time.” Of course, “we’re all human, we can’t always make perfectly worded and crafted sentences – I really hoped a clarification would sort that out.” She published a statement setting out her own position, but then, as she describes it, things escalated. Although she says Galloway never got directly in contact – and still hasn’t – she felt she was being personally maligned; that “under the guise of different names there were personal attacks”.

Now, this might be because I’m a crazy Feminist type, but I rather think her resigning in protest at some incredibly offensive misogyny is actually a good thing. Standing up for rape victims should be normal behaviour for politicians. Instead, this kind of twaddle just reinforces gender stereotyping. It reinforces the idea that women can only be good politicians if they are also nurturing and caring and bake chapatis. It is damaging for girls to read articles about women where their actual accomplishments are subsumed under the rhetoric of kinder, kuche, kirche. This should have been an article about the splintering of a political party due to misogyny and rape apologism. It did not need a foray into the fashion-beauty complex or baking.

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