Readers may remember Bidisha’s self-refuting article on sexism and bigotry in science fiction. In it, the Guardian’s most precious “non-white angry political female” managed to undermine her own premise, a mishap that made the following statement inadvertently comical:
Outrage against such bigotry is met with bafflement by apolitical people who simply don’t get what the big issue is and are too lazy and complacent to fight the status quo.
Those who know something about the subject matter and its recent history - and who therefore arrived at conclusions other than the one pounced on by Bidisha - are apparently lazy, complacent and apolitical. The belief that those who disagree must be politically apathetic is just a tad conceited, implying as it does that the proponent is by contrast dynamic and insightful. It therefore crops up repeatedly, especially among those eager to display the lava of righteousness coursing through their veins. Bidisha’s most recent piece again spies systemic and intolerable sexism, this time at the BBC, not the most obvious breeding ground of “unconscious and generalised misogyny.” The assumptions that Bidisha airs regarding occupational gender parity have been dealt with at length in the comments here. What catches the eye is this:
It makes no difference whether the perpetrators are male or female. If they have no politics they will not do anything to challenge the status quo.
Note how divergent views are framed by default as apolitical. Which is to say, as having no legitimate intellectual or moral basis. Because a person “with politics” would - obviously - challenge the status quo in ways Bidisha finds congenial. If a person sees gender quotas or some other “corrective” measure as unnecessary, patronising or counter-productive, and therefore sees the status quo as by and large acceptable, then, according to Bidisha, they have no politics. (Readers may also be tickled by the notion that someone educated at St Edmund Hall, Oxford and employed to opine on television and radio by the nation’s state broadcaster should consider herself in some way outside the establishment and current status quo.)