Australia’s Prime Minister Julia Gillard is fed up with the sexist and misogynist views of opposition leader Tony Abbott and she is not afraid to speak up .
Gillard states that Abbott is sexist, misogynist and anti-woman and it seems that she has the proof to back it up. Stating that Abbott would not treat another man in a similar way, Gillard recounts the sexist strategies of Abbott, such as standing next to a sign outside of parliament saying: “ditch the witch and “man’s bitch”. Abbott has apparently also repeatedly acted in a demeaning manner towards Gillard, both catcalling her across the table at work and telling her to shut up while speaking in the past.
Gillard countered with some well-chosen words when she reminded Abbott about some of the things he said, such as “abortion is the easy way out”, and that Gillard should “make an honest woman of herself” while reminding everyone of other derogatory opinions voiced by Abbott during a discussion of women being underrepresented in institutions of power in Australia when he answered with “is that a bad thing?” When discussing the right to equal opportunity for women and men (and girls and boys) Abbott also expressed his view of women as inferior with the statement: “Yeah I completely agree, but what if men are by physiology or temperament more adapted to exercise authority or to issue command”. When another speaker claimed that it is hard to ignore the fact that women are underrepresented in many positions, Abbott countered with the statement: “But now, there’s an assumption that this is a bad thing”.
Gillard also stated that: “If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia he doesn’t need a motion in the house of Representatives, he needs a mirror”.
So what were the responses of Tony Abbott and manager of business Christopher Pyne? Pyne claims Gillard is “playing the victim for political purposes” while calling Gillard insipid and pathetic: “She played the victim in an insipid and pathetic performance that was un-prime ministerial”, while Abbott stated: “I think it’s time that everyone in the parliament moved on from this gender card which so many members of the government have been playing”.
Why is it that women who stand up against sexist and misogynist views are so often told that they are overreacting and have no sense of humor? As women we have the right to react to sexism, name-calling and male chauvinistic language. We also have the right to be treated with respect. We do not have to sit in silence and accept outdated claims concerning women’s inferiority no matter how humorless we may come across to misogynist men. Gillard simply had enough. Calling her insipid and pathetic is one way for the male politicians to try to silence her. Good thing it is not working.
Photo of Julia Gillard shared by Flickr user MystifyMe Concert Photography and shared under a creative commons license.