Cheap date – not in 2016

Siobhan Corria calls for politicians to consider the implications of the terms they use in political debates.

So Leighton Andrews referred to his Plaid colleagues as a ‘cheap date’ yesterday in the Senedd. In boring political terms, this meant that Plaid voted against the Labour Government in the Public Health Bill, causing it to fail. So what? Well the comment ‘cheap date’ is ‘so what’.

We have all heard the term ‘cheap date’ and have maybe even used it in jest with our friends on a night out. But what does it really mean? A quick google tells you that the urban dictionary describes a ‘cheap date’ as ‘Someone who gets drunk easily, especially on a date and someone who has sex afterwards’. That’s what we really mean when we use the term ‘cheap date’ isn’t it? It’s a negative reference towards women. It’s a term that should never be used in public, particularly by a an elected politician. Particularly not by a Welsh Government Minister who is the supposed champion of the Violence against women bill. Really? How easily did the comment ‘cheap date’ roll off his tongue?

Was the victim of Ched Evans a ‘cheap date?’. There would still appear to be commonly held beliefs that women are not victims if they have been drinking or have shown an interest in a man. Have we not moved on?

How can we possibly move away from the idea that men can take pleasure and camaraderie in declaring a woman a ‘cheap date’ if the term is used so flippantly by the Welsh Government Minister who brought us legislation that is supposed to address violence against women and girls? Domestic violence stems from a perception of women that includes issues of power and influence. I have worked with countless women who have been abused because their self esteem, confidence and perception of their role within their family and societal life is so low, they know nothing else. And the partners do what they do because they rise up to the stereotype of powerful man, weak woman. There is no science to what I have witnessed, it is anecdotal evidence from the ten years of working with children, young people and families.

I want my children to look at public servants and politicians as role models. I want them to develop an interest in the wider world and how political policies affect their lives and the lives of others. How can I hold Leighton Andrews up as a political role model when he uses the term ‘cheap date’ to describe his political opponents.

Siobhan Corria is an inclusion specialist in the third sector. This piece originally appeared on her LinkedIn page.

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