Earlier this week, the Prime Minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern was interviewed on BBC. Everything was going smoothly until the interviewer dropped questions about marriage.
While we’ve conditioned ourselves to believe that it’s standard protocol to exclusively ask women about marriage, Ardern happens to be a successful politician who’s a literal head of state.
Somewhere mid-interview things went awry when the interviewer asked,
“Can you imagine asking your partner, Clarke Gayford, to marry you, or will you wait for him to ask you?”
This may have seemed like a harmless question but the problematic bit was how naturally it came to her — instead of leading to it organically it went straight into “who will ask”. And we all cringed a little at the assumption that her marriage was a given.
Thankfully, Ardern gracefully laughed at the question and said she wouldn’t spare her partner of the agony and let him do it.
Jacinda Ardern asked in BBC interview if she plans to propose to her partner https://t.co/5vZcefbjuJ Seems Victoria Derbyshire is still asking ridiculous questions— Paul Fowler (@GrumpybaldProf) January 22, 2019
Seconds later, things got even weirder when the rebuttal to that was “You’re a feminist?”
While it may have seemed like regular banter between the two, we can’t help but ask some pertinent questions:
Like why was it a given that Jacinda Ardern wants to get married? And why was her feminism questioned if she wanted a proposal like most of us do, feminist or not?
In stead of taking a jab at Jacinda Ardern’s feminism maybe Victoria Derbyshire should look at her sexist interview questions, including asking Ardern how she balances motherhood and running a country and whether she feels guilty about it 🙄🙄🙄https://t.co/oM5SzXZE1P— Alexandra Sinclair (@alexandrasinc10) January 22, 2019
A while ago the same Jacinda Ardern won 2018 by bringing her baby to the UN General Assembly and yet being a total badass at the forum. This interview proves how you can be a literal head of state but if you’re a woman you’ll only be a successful human being if you’ve ticked the marriage box of your life’s checklist.
We may never live to see a day where women are asked wholesome and well-rounded questions about career and politics. But the outrage this interview bit is nurturing is a good start.
Watch the snippet of the interview here: