Home / View Point / Letters to the Editor / Dear Editor: Are women less equal than men? Media should leave Weekes’ private life alone!

Dear Editor: Are women less equal than men? Media should leave Weekes’ private life alone!

“Men who hold high office in our society are never asked these questions by our journalists, regardless of the number of rumours that fly about on social media. That is because they are entitled to have their most private lives kept private, save and except where it seriously affects their job or their abilities.

“The President-elect is similarly entitled to keep her private life private…”

The following Letter to the Editor, raising questions about the Trinidad Guardian’s treatment of the country’s President-elect and her sexual orientation, was submitted to Wired868 by Ms Sanika Tyson:

Photo: Madam Justice Paula Mae Weekes.

“I was just fascinated as to why that was of interest. It didn’t offend me; you ask me a question and I would give you an answer. But I just couldn’t understand why, of all the things you would want to know about the person who is likely to be your next President, is that. I should think there are far more important things that you would need to know.” (Paula-Mae Weekes.)

It is noteworthy that this was one of the statements made by President-elect Paula-Mae Weekes in response to a question on her sexual orientation by a Trinidad Guardian journalist in an article that appeared on Tuesday 6 February, 2018.

The article suggested that, owing to questions being asked on social media, the journalist was somehow justified in asking this country’s first woman President-elect whether or not she was a lesbian, as if to suggest that there was a legitimate public interest in her bedroom activities.

A handful of wild individuals or fake profiles questioning the President-elect’s sexual orientation on social media is hardly a predictor of what falls into the category of the ‘public interest’ and it is disappointing that the Guardian descended into such a base arena.

The public interest, let us be clear, is about what matters to everyone in society. It is about the common good, the general welfare and the security and well-being of everyone in the community we serve. The public interest is not just what the readers or viewers want to consume or be entertained by.

Photo: The Trinidad Guardian logo.

I can only imagine the embarrassment the President-elect faced by being asked the question, far less seeing the response printed boldly as the headline of the Guardian newspaper. I cannot recall ever seeing a similar article or headline for any of our previous heads of state, all of them male.

An unmarried woman with no children is not an anomaly, in the same manner that an unmarried man with no children is not. Instead of serving the public interest, the article fell victim to archaic stereotypes about women and the way they choose to live their lives. Marriage and childbirth are choices; neither is the be-all and end-all of a woman’s existence. That this still needs to be stated in 2018 is disconcerting.

That there are some who still believe that not being married or having children is also deserving of an explanation is even more disconcerting. The article also dangerously promoted the notion that not being married and/or not having children can be used as a barometer to accurately guess someone’s sexual orientation.

Men who hold high office in our society are never asked these questions by our journalists, regardless of the number of rumours that fly about on social media. That is because they are entitled to have their most private lives kept private, save and except where it seriously affects their job or their abilities.

The President-elect is similarly entitled to keep her private life private as and until her private life begins to affect her job. There has been no suggestion to date that she will be unable to perform any of her presidential duties.

Photo: Trinidad and Tobago President-elect Paula Mae Weekes.
(Copyright CNC3)

That, for no legitimate reason, the Guardian ran such a story before the President-elect even accedes to office is disappointing, disrespectful and unbecoming.

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17 comments

  1. Next thing they business worst than other ppl own just out of timing

  2. Except when and if “private” life bleeds into work details.

  3. Still trying to find the relevance of that question.

  4. Does that journalist still have a job ? If yes….WHY????? . I mean, what on earth could possess you to ask such a question ? And worst yet to whom…

  5. So women not equal all of a sudden when the university is dominated by women so too the work place….the problem is that everybody want to be like america doing everything they do a woman that say she dont feel equal in trinidad ungrateful and evil because 500 hundred men will die a year no body will say a word 5 women will die and de fucking sky falling down

  6. Paula-Mae could have given it the Jamie Foxx treatment. Lol https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vK23ES4mPx4

  7. There is nothing like being real or to use another growing up In the U.S. the media can ask anything to anyone and get the answers that their job

  8. She should have asked the journalist if he/she is or was celibate

  9. Boys club alive and well aided and abetted by the 1 percent and the MEDIA

  10. We do not have journalists in this country. The sooner that fact sinks in we can all move forward towards the push to get journalists.

  11. Interesting questions, there are obvious physical differences between men and women, and to some extent these affect their abilities in some activities. It is less clear whether or not there are also psychological differences between sexes. If there are, do they come from how male and female are treated, or do their brains work in a different way? Every known human society has rules about gender

      • Wth? really? Differences between the sexes are cultural creations. Indeed, men and women learn their gender roles through systems of reward and punishment, but definitions of natural tendencies of men and women vary from culture.
        to culture. Women need not be nurturers of children, men need not be the dominant sex. In comparison to the early 20th century, gender roles for both men and women in the 21st century have become less restrictive, with women participating more in the public sphere.

        • Gender is a kind of imitation for which there is no original. Indeed, people perform in ways that are expected, gender is what you do rather than a universal notional of who of who you are. I believe that attitude towards sex in our society being shaped by behavioural differences between males and females culturally rather than biologically, the power in society is exerted by the imposition of social norms, and in particular that not only our gender but our sexuality is shaped by the culture in which we live. Heterosexuality, is constructed as normal; men are seen as active and women passive, heterosexuality is promoted and maintained by ideology and force, lesbianism is denied and denigrated., with heterosexuality recognised as institution and a system of power that benefits men and subjugates women

  12. Very clear! Well stated! These biases and stereotypes require constant attack and thought. Thanks Ms Tyson