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?