Wednesday, October 27, 2010

On Politics, Writing and Uppity Women

The Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott, has been describing a statement by the Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, as 'shrill and aggressive'. Putting aside the hypocrisy of someone who is anything but gentle in his political attacks describing as aggressive any comment by anyone, would any politician use these words when describing a male politician? If they would not, why is it being applied to Julia Gillard? My suspicion is it is to put an uppity woman in her place.

Another equally obnoxious remark was made about Ms Gillard during the lead up when she was described as barren because she is childless. Then there were the denigrations because she doesn't have a family. What has that to do with her capacity to carry out her job? There are men in Parliament who have no children or who are not married. No-one thinks they can't perform their job. Uppity woman again perhaps.

It's not just the Prime Minister who cops this treatment. When he became Opposition Leader, Mr Abbott referred to his newly elected deputy as 'a good girl'. What? This is our alternative Deputy Prime Minister he's talking about.

In case anyone wonders this is not meant as a comment on the political beliefs of either party. I'm just feeling very incensed that comments like these are still being made by anyone. Sadly it's not only in political arenas that this happens. These tactics are used everywhere.

Whether we realise it at the time or not, I see it and you see it every day. The recent announcement that Jane Austen's 'perfect' prose was assisted by a male editor is just such a case. A writer with an editor? Outrageous. Obviously she couldn't write herself. Chip, chip, chip. Another woman is perceived to be less than she was.

Isn't it time it stopped?

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