Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Food for thought

You can tell when an Australian man is feeling threatened by a woman; the first thing he'll do is attack her appearance.

Today's Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail menu debacle, which talks about "small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box", is just another example of this.

Like female councillors, mayors, MPs, premiers and others before her, much of the commentary about Julia's tenure has focused on how she looks.

Other female politicians have had to deal with commentary about their weight, use of botox, being a "bitch" or "witch", looking "too manly" or "like a lesbian", or dismissed for just being pretty with no brains.

In the movies, they say female characters can only play one of handful of roles: the mother, the virgin, the love interest and the slut.  It seems some Australians can only see a similarly limited number of roles for our female politicians.

It's hard to imagine a male politician attracting quite the same level of treatment.

Did Bob Hawke have a small penis?   

Was John Howard "rootable" enough?   

These questions never seemed to be asked when they were in power.

Criticise the policies and behaviour of our politicians, but cheap and venomous attacks focussed on how they look seems to be a new nasty low.

Regardless of where you sit on the political spectrum, and whoever was responsible or knew about the menu, the fact that such a description was produced at all is a pretty sad reflection of the quality of political debate.  

It also serves to highlight that Australian women often still don't receive the respect or treatment a man in the same position would receive.

But if it makes you feel like a "big man" to act this way, you need to watch out.  We've all got rulers and we're ready to see if you really measure up or not.  

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