Monday, June 17, 2013

Trivialising women in power

I've a column with the Sydney Morning Herald's 'Life and Style' today, 'Trivialising women in power'.

After a week of absurd sexism and homophobia in the press, I'm having a little rant. A sample:
No-one is obliging critics to agree with Gillard, Sarkeesian or any other prominent woman. What's required from civilised adults is an engagement with opinions and actions on their merit. Using gender to dismiss an argument is lazy and often craven.
 For the record, it is not only men who do this. Plenty of women have internalised false gender distinctions: that all men are rabid sex-starved morons, for example, at the mercy of mini-skirts and pouting lips; that males are genetically incapable of changing nappies, cooking meals or discovering the clitoris; that women, too, are biologically programmed to uphold whatever customs are in vogue. Much of what we call 'natural' is tradition wrapped in a threadbare metaphysical bow.
But in a society that still has serious gender inequality, including within politics, it is particularly galling to see women constantly dismissed as women. Politicians like Gillard make plenty of mistakes -- having a vagina isn't one of them.
(Photo: Fairfax/Andrew Meares)

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