15 Jun

but he started it!

Last night I happened to catch some of the late night replay of The Project. Unsurprisingly, there was a lot of talk about Howard Sattler’s interview with Julia Gillard.

The Australian journalist Janet Albrechtsen was interviewed about the incident and about Gillard’s term more generally. She made a comment that suggested Gillard was playing the ‘gender game’.

Of course she’s playing a bloody gender game.

But the point is, she’s been forced into playing a gender game by the media, other politicians, and the public. From the outset, she has been criticised as a woman, not as a politician.

It’s a bit like parents who smack their kids to punish them for hitting another kid. I’ll smack you when I feel like, but don’t you dare think about smacking anyone yourself.

Gillard is being criticised for playing a game that she didn’t choose to play. We (the media, other politicians, you and I) don’t get to punish her for playing her part in a game we pushed her into.

If she was treated, criticised, held to account in the same way male politicians are, we wouldn’t be having this conversation.

On a related note, and following up from my post yesterday: I am bewildered by all the people I’ve encountered in the last two days who think gender disparity doesn’t exist in Australia. What the actual fuck? Are we living in the same country?

30 posts in June: 12/30

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