Follow-Up: Sexist MPs Called on the Carpet

Here’s a rough translation of a article about reactions to Czech MPs’ sexist comments about Education Minister Petra Buzková.

Prime Minister Vladimír Å pidla reacted sharply to the comments, saying: “These are absolutely unacceptable, obnoxious, sexist comments. These people aren’t men, but children,” Å pidla said.

Å pidla added that insults aimed at him don’t surprise him any more. “But in the case of my colleague Buzková, I state clearly: it’s obnoxious and these boys should apologize. Parliamentary immunity does not cover such insults and obscenity. I’m thinking about asking for a public apology,” he continued.

Only one of the commentors, ODS MP Petr Bratský, who referred to Buzkova’s breasts as “cinderblocks,” personally apologized, giving Buzková a written apology and a bouquet of flowers. “Somebody approached me in the hallway and asked if I’d jokingly comment on the matter,” Bratský said. “Unfortunately, what came out of me was this. I admit it was out of place and stupid,” Bratský regretted.

MP Kraus, however, refused to apologize, saying that he had the right to comment on his colleague’s body. “If somebody asks me about breasts, I’m not just a politician, but a man as well, and I have a right to my opinion. I don’t take it as an attack against Madam Minister. If a distinct [female] politician decides to make a distinctive change in her sexual equipment, she must expect that this will be the subject of various speculation,” Kraus said, standing by his remarks.

Buskova’s response was as follows: “My fellow MPs simply sensed a ‘political’ theme, but they ended up harming themselves. When they’re capable of saying this to the press, an apology from the majority of them wouldn’t be sincere.”

Only Kateřina Dostálová of ODS defended her party colleagues. “This certain intolerance is in proportion with the unpopularity of my colleague Buzková. My colleagues took this as a comment to a tabloid. I don’t think they would have commented this way elsewhere. But I wouldn’t like it if I were in the minister’s place,” Dostálová admitted.

The rift over Petra Buzková’s operation enraged experts working on gender equality issues. “The ones who made these comments should be ashamed of themselves, but of course they’re fine with it. As our elite, they give signals about what the norms of behavior are,” said Michaela Marksová-Tominová, director of the Center for Gender Studies.

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