Sunday, October 14, 2012

I'm PM but I'm still a victim of sexism

Australian politics hit yet another low point this week. The Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, struggling in the polls, decided to play the sex card in a big way. She made a speech in Parliament, reported around the world, accusing the leader of the Liberal Party, Tony Abbott, of sexism and misogyny.

It's a bit difficult to take seriously the claim of the most powerful person in the country to be a victim of discrimination, particularly on the basis of her sex given that the other most powerful person in the country, the Governor-General, is also a woman. If you are given such great power and responsibility then it's time to give up the luxury of imagining yourself to have victim status.

It's also unfortunate that politics is becoming ever more polarised on the basis of sex. The men and women of a nation are supposed to identify with each other not against each other. But we seem to be drifting ever more into a politics of men versus women. Just consider this morning's Herald Sun column by Susie O'Brien. Her argument is that Gillard, as a woman, should be ruling on behalf of women, otherwise she is useless:
Women like the fact that a female is in power, but until now they haven't seen just what this can mean for them at a personal level.

Until now, Gillard's had the key to the sports car, but she hasn't taken it for a spin.

As I wrote earlier this week, unless a woman is standing up for other women and doing things that help women, there's not much point her being in a position of power.

Take a moment to digest what Susie O'Brien has written here. First, there's an assumption that Gillard has only done things for women "at a personal level" when she's launched into an attack on men. Second, there's an assumption that the only point of Gillard being in power is if she governs for women rather than for the nation as a whole.

The irony is that the aim of a liberal society is to make our sex not matter and yet we end up with a society polarised on the basis of sex. That's not a coincidence. The progression of liberal thought goes something like this:

a) Our sex shouldn't matter in what we do, therefore men and women should be doing the same things

b) But men and women don't do the same things

c) This must be because men have discriminated against women for their own advantage

d) So women are an oppressed class and must fight together against men to end discrimination, sexism etc

It ends up with the idea of a great moral cause in which the women of a country are set permanently against the men of a country. And when men cotton on to the fact that women are identifying against them, it becomes that much harder to make the sacrifices that men have traditionally made for women, for family and for nation.

So the pattern of liberal thought has to be broken. And it's best to do this at the very start of the train of liberal thought. If we can accept that our sex does at times matter in what we do, then we can accept differences in social roles and focus more on making differentiated roles work together for the good of the whole community.

12 comments:

  1. Excellent points. Obama has done more for women than he has for blacks. Identity politics are still, after all, about power.

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  2. Labor in Victoria gave us a good idea where they believe men stand...

    http://www.vic.gov.au/health-community.html

    They have a gall acccusing others of sexism.

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  3. "when men cotton on to the fact that women are identifying against them, it becomes that much harder to make the sacrifices that men have traditionally made for women, for family and for nation."

    I know you've said this before, but that is the essence of it.

    The more militant and public feminists are the less men can be persuaded to care, to aim higher, to live virtuously. We see this in the MRA.

    I have been reading about the exodus of men from Catholicism in the last 50 years. What's notable about it is, for the most part, men do not debate, organise and persist when the environment is feminised - they just get the vibe and leave, never to return.

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  4. I look it from a different light, just as Obama bought peak Negro victim card to fall, Gillard is now fermenting peak victim feminism card in Australia to fall.

    Notice overseas on blogs and twitter the feminista went off about this matter, in Australia on the MSM TV, I found the media hacks didn't tow Labor's line all the way, even the ABC Sales made Roxon et al look silly.

    So I believe it will back fire on Labor, and only the feminists who've already bought the poison, will take notice of it.

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  5. Why is feminism always about upper-class women and their oppressive upper-class alpha husbands?

    Why can't these rich women stop their charade?

    Isn't it ironic that we have a dominant philosophical ideology that has nothing whatsoever to do with reality, doesn't benefit the majority (whether male or female betas/omegas) and which focuses on 1-5% of women (and men) at least?

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  6. An important point to note is that 'normal' women who are not into politics, academia, feminism and so on are mostly not hostile to men like the insane PC types are. That's what I've found in my experience, anyway.

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  7. This is precisely why identity politics corrupts democratic government. One no longer votes for a man on the basis of his plan, one votes for one's sex/race/ethnicity in the expectation of goodies and favors. Under the old system, the candidate's plans might favor one class over another, but they were at least presented as if they were in the national interest.

    I don't know if Australian's use the expression "good ol' boy's network," but I'm sure you can guess its meaning. Well "good ol' boy's networks" don't actually exist, in my experience. There's no freemasonry of men. That there are "good ol' girl's networks" may be inferred, however, from the fact that women immediately begin to complain when one of their own, promoted to a position of power, fails to pay special attention to their interests.

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  8. A legitimate concern when electing women or minorities as our representatives is that there may be too strong an urge on their part to govern essentially for the special interests of people with whom they most closely identify. It becomes a government of the minority over the majority and is an un-natural state for a well functioning society.

    Whether it is a case of having a chip on one's shoulder or trying to correct wrongs(or perceived wrongs), governing with the the minority or underdog mentality will have the effect of dividing, and therefore weakening, a society as we are seeing in the U.S. and apparently Australia.

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  9. I was interested to see what you'd say about this Mark. Actually I'm pretty sure Gillard didn't present herself as a victim of misogyny in her speech - which was entirely an attack on the character of Tony Abbott, performed in the course of a debate over the character of the then speaker of the house, Peter Slipper, in order to provide a rhetorical distraction.

    This is not to say, of course, that Gillard and Labor supporters won't portray her in the days and weeks and months to come as a victim of sexism - they will. But if there's one thing Gillard didn't do in her speech, it was to portray herself as a victim.

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  10. Tim that's not true she referred to Abbott describing herself as "just a woman", she took personal offense to Abbott's behaviour. It was all perfectly clear she should be treated specially because of her gender.

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  11. "As I wrote earlier this week, unless a woman is standing up for other women and doing things that help women, there's not much point her being in a position of power."

    Oh how well men would be served by this admission!

    But what difference does it make whether women rule, or the rulers are ruled by women? The result is the same. - Aristotle

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  12. "unless a woman is standing up for other women and doing things that help women, there's not much point her being in a position of power."

    Alrighty then, all men should vote accordingly -- i.e., never for a woman.

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