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Consequential Baggage for a Woman in Power

13.10.2012

Prime Minister Julia Gillard ripped into Opposition Leader Tony Abbott earlier this week, accusing him of being a sexist and a misogynist. Her attack has elicited polarised responses. Nationally, the media has given backhanded praise, or else condemned her speech outright. Internationally, she’s received wide acclaim for speaking out against gender discrimination.

Does she have grounds to level such a serious accusation? Or is she reading too much into the words of her most prominent critics?

All politicians cop flak from the press and the general public. Let’s take a look at some content from our major media outlets and public figures to see what all the fuss is about.

But first, just so everyone’s clear…

 

Sexism

noun

– discrimination on the basis of sex, esp. the oppression of women by men

 

Misogyny

noun

– hatred, dislike, or mistrust of women

 

Here are some views published in the media about Prime Minister Gillard:

 

Publisher: The Australian

 

Placards

 

Publisher: The Courier Mail

 

Artist: Peter Nicholson

 

Publisher: The Age

 

From an email sent to parliamentarians and published in the Sunday Herald Sun

 

Artist: Matt Golding

 

Author: Andrew Bolt

 

Artist: ZEG

 

Publisher: The Sydney Morning Herald

 

A Sydney Morning Herald headline

 

Publisher: Daily Life

 

Artist: Graeme Dazeley

 

Publisher: National Times

 

More from the National Times article

 

And more.

 

Artist: Wilcox

 

 

_______________________________________________________________

 

Gillard’s comments in parliament this week have exposed some deep-rooted prejudices in Australian society, prompting many people to viciously deny that these prejudices exist. Australians are good at extolling the virtues of democracy, freedom of speech and equality. Yet when ideas of traditional social roles are challenged, conservative thinkers rise up to spit and curse at the offending speaker. Unfortunately, a few of our most morally-crippling conservatives are also handed microphones and a generous amount of air time, or else copious space in national newspapers, to express their opinions, which are frequently misinterpreted as being the “voice of Australia”.

Sorry, boys, but this time you’ve got it wrong. Really wrong.

The men of our parliament (and of our airwaves and print media) may profess to love their wives and daughters and sisters and mothers, and be “advocates of women”, and support equal opportunity, but sadly they’ve missed the point.

Love and respect are not the same thing.

As is all too common in Australian politics, two separate and distinct concepts have been blended into one heaving rhetorical mess. No wonder we’ve seen such a vehement backlash – half of us understand completely where the Prime Minister is coming from; the other half have no idea what she’s talking about.

 

Related articles:

Dr Anne Summers’ R-rated footnotes

Prissy shrieks of fear and loathing

Both sexes are to blame

Julia ‘badass’ Gillard

One Comment leave one →
  1. 16.10.2012 12:15 AM

    I wish I had your grasp of political issues and the world stage…

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