14 Jun

this country isn’t ready for a woman pm

The first link I followed in my Twitter stream this morning caused me to tweet this:

All else aside, this narrow minded country needs the Gillard govt returned so we can give all the misogynistic, bigoted assholes the finger.

But I’ve decided 140 characters isn’t enough. So here are the rest of my thoughts on this.

This is not a post about politics, policy, or my political leanings.

This is a post about misogyny, bigotry, and narrow mindedness.

I remember the day of the original leadership spill like it was yesterday. For the one and only time in my life, I willingly listened to talkback radio in the car on my way to work. When I parked my car I walked quickly to the office, fired up my computer and spent the rest of the morning watching the spill unfold.

I remember saying “This country is not ready for a woman PM”.

How right I was.

To be clear: I strongly disagree with a number of Gillard government policies. I disagree with Gillard’s stance on marriage equality. I am bewildered by the idea that you can cut funding to education to fund educational reform. I am ashamed that I live in a country that has excised itself from its own migration zone. In short, I am disappointed, appalled even, at some of the decisions taken by this government and some of the bewildering legislation it has proposed and had passed.

But I am also appalled at how the media, opposition politicians, and even the general public have questioned, shamed, bullied, and discriminated against Julia Gillard, a professional acting in a professional capacity, in a manner and to an extent that would never happen to a man in her position.

How dare we question a person, who is acting in their professional capacity, about their own and their partner’s sexuality.

How dare we capitalise on a person’s grief for political or professional gain by suggesting they caused their father to die of shame.

How dare we expend more energy laughing at a politician losing her shoe than we do questioning her politics.

I am afraid of the outcome of the looming federal election. Let’s face it: none of the options are particularly appealing. I find myself lamenting – again – the demise of the Democrats.

But regardless of the outcome of this election, I have a bigger concern.

This country is not ready for a woman PM. This saddens me. It makes me worry about the future of this country. It makes me feel ashamed to be an Australian. And not just because it speaks of a culture of misogyny, but because it’s indicative of a much broader, ingrained, insidious, narrow minded bigotry.

30 posts in June: 11/30

4 thoughts on “this country isn’t ready for a woman pm

  1. Whilst I agree with the sentiment, I do believe the use of words misogyny and misogynist are overused in Australia. Whilst I have no doubt there are many misogynists is this great country, I suspect that some women from some Middle Eastern or African countries are more justified in using these words. The problem with our politics is that we have lost the art of debating. We have a broad view that if you don’t agree with me then it is ok to ‘attack’ you and your view point. A bit more understanding, maturity, respect and manners from all sides of politics and in fact society in general is what we need. Just my opinion.

    • I 100% agree with you that there is a lack of thoughtful political debate in Australia. But my argument isn’t about politics. I also agree that we need to see more respect and decency. But my argument isn’t about common decency.

      My argument is this would never happen to a man. The fact that women are oppressed somewhere else does not mean misogyny does not exist here.

      I’m not comparing the experience of Australian women with the experience of women in other countries. I’m comparing the experience of being a female public figure in Australia with the experience of being a male public figure in Australia. And there is a massive disparity between those experiences.

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