This article was published during the Maltese General Election 2017. It first appeared on the Time of Malta on Thursday, June 1, 2017.
In any election campaign I invest much in observation and listening. Gradually hidden issues about the Maltese themselves and their political leaders are perceived.
Something I have noticed is the barren feminist-critical voice in this whole political drama. The supposed Maltese feminist critics are fit for academic preaching but, in such critical moments, they are either fearful or indifferent due to their partisan inhibited strains.
In the US, Donald Trump was confronted for exhibiting hyper-masculinity and encouraging toxic masculinity. His political, and even his personal life, was scrutinised through and through. Feminists could not accept the violent image that Trump was sending off through his political campaign. It was a ferocious and deceitful image, relying on vicious dishonesties, hypocrisy and a macho-induced language. What about our men in politics? Is there anyone out there who has the guts to scrutinise their language and choice of constructs being applied?
Though the Maltese feminists have fled in their safe spaces, the common Tom, Dick and Harry have already been comparing the masculine energies of our political leaders and figures of national authority. This is the predominate discourse out there: the Police Commissioner’s aloofness expresses political castration, the Attorney General’s inactivity emanates apathy, Castille related to a gangster dressed in suits and full of bucks and sweet-talking, and the Opposition leader is considered as less charismatic compared to the highly-trained caretaker Prime Minister.
The vocabulary about men in politics is grotesque, revealing much to be desired. The debate is about who has the ultimate manliness out there to lead and control. I am sure that the PL consultant Frank Luntz has picked upon this variable in his research on what makes a Maltese.
The discourse on the female counterparts is equally vivid. Amid all this flabby and untrustworthy masculinity, two women stood their ground and raised their voices. History repeats itself. In times when men deny a hard truth rather than facing it, women emerge. No matter your stance and emotions in relation to them, the two women in question are Marlene Farrugia and Daphne Caruana Galizia.
But history repeats itself as well through the language people use. When women take a stand, the reactions from partisan followers are ugly: the witch of Bidnija, the one that controls her partner, the spies, among other equally gaudy labels. Such language only confirms that this country hasn’t even started questioning hyper-masculinity and its horrible damage on society.
For those who have a critical mind, it is a fact that men, today, have failed in politics. Only the blind chauvinist cannot realise this. Society must reconsider the requirements making a strong leader. One has to look beyond the persuasive methods used by the political parties.
There is too much greed for power out there that it has become horrendous. The only option is that, for the sake of integrity and honesty, we must scrutinise politicians beyond the end of our noses.
Ultimately, this election will forever change this country, not only in terms of economic growth and political integrity, but also concerning the willingness to trust politicians and the lawful institutions.