I happened to be home this afternoon and tuned into QT, which turned out not be QT, of course.
I saw the PM in full flight, accusing Tony Abbott of being sexist and misogynistic, while implicitly supporting the purveyor of clearly leud and inappropriate text messages, Peter Slipper. Not a good look, especially given the fact that Slipper was never going to return to full Speaker duties and now he has resigned.
According to Julia Gillard, “I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not. Not now, not ever.”
Note the term “this man”, which many would see as offensive when delivered in the chamber. Where was his title, Leader of the Opposition?
Sadly, no one has ever given Gillard a lecture about sexism and misogyny, because she clearly does not understand their meaning. And the examples she trotted out were truly pathetic. Now Tony Abbott is also responsible for placards waved at demonstrations attended by him. And then there is his perfectly legimitate objection to abortion being thrown at him as an example of his hatred of women. Really? There are many man and women who do not support abortion but in no way hate women.
Julia’s pal, Peter Slipper, clearly does knows what it means to be misogynistic because he fits the definition only too well, judged by his text messages, which he noted were private. Good one, Pete.
I must have been watching another channel from Anthony Sharwood of The Punch who brazenly declared that “To use a modern phrase, Tony Abbott just got “owned”. He was utterly torn to shreds by the finest performance Julia Gillard has ever delivered on the floor of the House of Reps.”
Is he kidding? Owned, my arse. And torn to shreds? By shrill, inaccurate and misinformed comments?
The really troubling implication of this showdown is that Gillard will now mispresent any criticims of her peformance and the performance of her government as examples of sexism and misogyny. She will play this card, even if it is the lowest trick in the book, constantly portraying herself as a helpless victim. A sad day for feminism.
Come off it, Julia. I say just suck it up.
I often have criticisms levelled at me and I take these as indicative of the person’s opinion of my work. That’s fine. I am happy to fight back, but I do not regard what is said or written as sexist at all even if the comments are expressed in personally abusive terms, which is sometimes the case. If you put yourself out there, it is only reasonable to expect attacks and criticisms. So be it.
It is even more important in the case of elected officials. In a democracy, they must be held to be accountable and criticism is part of the processs. It is neither sexist or misogynistic just because the Prime Minister happens to be a female.