Flat White

Thorns among the roses: Dave Sharma’s International Women’s Day debacle

8 March 2021

8:34 PM

8 March 2021

8:34 PM

Liberal politician Dave Sharma handed out pink flowers on International Women’s Day, sending all the petals on Twitter into a meltdown.

If you believe the Twitterati, handing a flower to a woman today — of all days — was “performative virtue”, “deeply sexist”, “creepy” and “patronising”.

A smarter man would have forgotten the anniversary and given flowers a week from now as an apology. That’s what the rest of us do. 

Instead, Sharma stood outside Edgecliff station in his Wentworth electorate and handed flowers to passers-by who happily received them as they were intended – a perfectly nice act of kindness. 

But every rose has its thorns. And the miserable whiners on Twitter, who insist on visiting their misery on the rest of us, were prickly.

“Am I the only one to find this offensive?” Tweeted one woman.

Looking for offended people on Twitter is like looking for a haystack in a pin cushion so, of course, the woman did not lack for company.

Sharma’s twitter feed was bombarded with brickbats, not bouquets.

One self-described feminist screeched: “Nothing screams misogyny, like handing out flowers to keep the little women happy.”

Was it Shakespeare who wrote: “Of all the flowers, me thinks a rose is best for screaming misogyny”?


Another tweeted: “I am appalled and insulted that you deem such a patronising and gender stereotyping image appropriate … you should apologise for the deeply sexist gesture.”

I wondered if men should also apologise for the patronising and deeply sexist diamonds. Or maybe I was missing her point. But like all men, I want to understand women and so will commit to giving the matter serious contemplating during commercial breaks while watching the football at the weekend. 

Therese Raine took time out from raging against the evil Murdoch empire to rage against men giving flowers.

“How about equal representation in parliament, in Cabinet, on boards, as CEOs and generally in the C-suite … Not little purple flowers that droop at the end of the day and fade to nothing like promises,” she wrote.

The tweet, with its admission that Therese only knows “flowers that droop at the end of the day”, tells us less about women’s rights than it does about where hubby Kevin must be buying his blooms.

(Handy hint: Women always know when their flowers were bought at a service station. It’s one of their innate skills) 

And, according to ABC fact-checkers, only 30 per cent of Kevin’s Cabinet was comprised of the fairer sex (one of whom fairly knifed him in the back).

So you have to feel sorry for Kevin when February 14 rolls around every year.

“Happy Valentine’s Day Therese.”

“If you think giving me roses today makes up for not being able to give me better than six sisters in Cabinet back in 2013 you’re sadly mistaken, Kev.”

Ouch.

It wasn’t just women on Twitter who didn’t receive flowers who were upset that women in Wentworth did. A woke of men took to Twitter to denounce Sharma’s chivalry.

One man, who described himself in his bio as “just a fellow traveller on stolen land”, messaged Sharma saying: “So thrilled you got the chance to grandstand.”

What fool Sharma. Flowers are an expensive way to grandstand when a wokey Twitter bio will just as easily do the job!

The most blistering reply was: “We don’t need your flowers Dave, we need long-term structural reform on the system that discriminates against women. Give us equal pay, equal representation, law reform, increased funding for DV & sexual assaults. Oh a decent Minister for WOMEN & a new Govt.”

And so on International Women’s Day poor old Dave Sharma experienced the frustration of every man — giving flowers when what she really wanted was something else. Like chocolates. Or dinner. Or the patriarchy on a pike.

Reasonable people understand Sharma was not suggesting that handing out flowers solves problems. And sure, there was some photo-op politicking to go with it. But giving flowers was simply a nice, harmless gesture.

That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. Except on Twitter, of course.

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