Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Throwing Like a Girl

It's taken me a week to mention the ousting of our first female Prime Minister, Julia Gillard on A WineDark Sea. My reticence is partly due to being on the road but also the white noise buzzy thingy and my own conflicting feelings about the whole event. The ALP's treatment of sole parents; cutting back their fortnightly benefit by more than $100 to Newstart was pretty interesting. The media's treatment of the changes, even more so: Single Mothers Punished for Their Sins. Hey! That's news.

Then Jennifer Wilson put up this post and I thought ... Yes.
"We have never seen such a terrifying display of anti woman feeling in our politics, because we have never had a female leader. We couldn’t see how bad it was until it stopped. We couldn’t see how the sexist abuse distracted from the most important  task of keeping our society functioning, which Ms Gillard’s government achieved better than almost any other Western government."

I had a sense of relief when Rudd finally rolled Gillard. This made me feel rather awful as a woman, who had listened and watched, appalled and more than a bit pissed off as the dross was dished out to her over the last three years. I am relieved it is over. The kind of passive violence that Gillard received from the media, cartoonists and a certain facet of the online community was unprecedented in its nastiness and overt (dare I say it? Fuck it) misogyny. I've never seen another Australian subjected to such public abuses.

 Rebecca West once wrote,  "I myself have never been able to find out precisely what a feminist is – I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat." Julia Gillard probably never found out what 'playing the gender card' meant until the day she expressed sentiments that differentiated herself from being a whore, a duck, a bitch, a red box, a shamed daughter, a barren woman or a witch.

Julia Gillard, in her final speech as leader of the ALP said that she hoped her term would help the next female Prime Minister,and the next. I find this to be a tad optimistic. The most ominous sense I get from the whole scene is that a talented and driven young Australian woman watching what has happened over the last three years would think, "There is no fucking way I'm subjecting myself to that kind of treatment." I could be wrong. But if I'm right, then it is a win for the old white men of the guard and that is really bloody sad.

My Mum returned from the EU on Saturday night and wanted to know what had happened here on Wednesday. I tried to explain and she said, "Well the media and politics always reflect our society. It's a mirror Sarah. We all have to take responsibility for this situation."
Yeah, well, Mum has only lived seventy years and was a full time mother in the seventies, eighties and nineties. She'd just been on a plane for twenty hours and lost in Kuala Lumpur airport for two of them. What would she know?


  1. Yes, I feel like you in that it has taken a while for me to digest what really happened here. More than once very recently on Q & A a young woman has asked the panel 'As a young woman, can you tell me why I should pursue the office of Prime Minister?'

    As for your Mum's take on it, well, I don't disagree but I think there is another story going on here. We do live in cataclysmic times. Planet earth is a 'woman' and look how we treat her. The more fearful the masculine becomes in this world, the more destructive it gets. What does it fear? It knows the game is up. In it's dying throes it wants to take everything and everyone else with it. It's running scared and it damn well should be. Your Mum is right in a way because we all have some masculine in us. But that doesn't justify what the men in suits are doing. The general population is basically quite unaware. Welcome to planet earth, and ever has it been thus. For all of our supposed cleverness, it's the kindergarten of consciousness.

  2. I love the way that he keeps his visor up when speaking to the mob, but I know that is a bit off this particular point. It was Julia Gillard who made that fantastic tirade against that complete idiot you showed us last year, wasn't it?