Particularly Strident

I can remember sitting in an undergrad Political Sociology lecture in 1991 and hearing the acerbic Lecturer authoritatively state “Women in politics are only suited to nurturing roles, like Minister for Families or Social Welfare”. I piped up, “What about Joan Kirner and Carmen Lawrence?”. The put-down was “I’m talking about Federal politics” – you have to imagine the sneer in the word Federal, as if State politics was ok for the ladies, but Federal Politics was, well, Serious Men’s Business.

The Australian today reports on Cabinet’s closing down of the ‘abortion debate’. The report says:

It is understood that Communications Minister Helen Coonan and Immigration Minister Amanda Vanstone were particularly strident in their support for the Government’s current approach on abortion.

Other senior ministers, including Treasurer Peter Costello and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer, also weighed into the debate, amid concerns it was distracting the Government as parliament resumed.

So the women were “particularly strident” (why not “forceful” for instance?) while the men muscle up and “weigh in”.

Alison Rogers, former media advisor to Natasha Stott Despoja, has just published The Natasha Factor. Subtitled “Politics, Media and Betrayal”, Rogers’ book discusses (among other things) the pressure from the press corps to induce the Senator to walk along the beach in a revealing outfit in order to get any publicity for the Democrats’ policy of the day in the 2001 election. One could also compare the praise given by the media to the youth of John Brogden and Lawrence Springborg as NSW and Qld Opposition Leaders with the very different portrayal of Stott Despoja’s age when she led the Democrats.

Not to mention Cheryl and her boa… oh, and why her affair with Gareth Evans was in Laurie Oakes’ mind, of public interest. Or the number of media mentions of the new Labor MP for Adelaide, Kate Ellis, which refer not to her position on refugee rights but to her good looks.

When will women in politics be judged solely on their political acumen, policy positions and achievements? Not any time soon, I suspect, unfortunately.

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
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Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

I can’t believe a supposedly educated person said that about women in 1991. [oops he was a Sociology lecturer – the educated jibe is redundant]

I guess he was referring to famous nurturers like Maggie Thatcher or more recently Condoleeza.

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

With respect – I’d be inclined to see Downer being “strident” as opposed to “weighing in” and Amanda as weig…… ah forget it

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Francis, I commented recently to a friend that in my experience as a Sociology Lecturer, 30% lack any discernible social skills, 30% are clinically insane and 100% like a drink…

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

That sounds a lot like law lecturers too, and the sad bit is that I fear I may fall into all 3 categories.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Ken, I’m possibly in 2 but the second might impair the objectivity of my judgement about the first…

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

I guess they’d have to mention Kate Ellis’s good looks, because she doesn’t exactly seem to have a long record of diverse career achievement before winning the seat of Adelaide. School, uni, then working as a ministerial staffer for a few years. What is there to say? Maybe Barry Cohen was right. Ellis may well do a good job, but I can’t help thinking the voters of Adelaide would have been better served if Labor had pre-selected someone with a bit of experience of life.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Ken, Margo has Tim Gartrell’s Q & A from his press club address last week online at WebDiary.

Concerning your comment, this is of interest:

Andrew Fraser, The Canberra Times

Of the 14 seats that changed hands in the House on October 9, you ran male candidates in 7, female candidates in 7. Seven of the women won and only 1 of the men, what does that say for your future preselections?

A Labor frontbencher interjects, ‘Three of the women lost.”

Gartrell

That’s not right, there were women that lost seats in that seven. But look there has been a lot of talk about male or female candidates, whether candidates are staffers or union officials or what else. I think a lot of it’s got to do with the quality of the individual, the quality of the person and you can get good male candidates and good female candidates. I know Brian Loughnane talked about too many of our candidates are staffers and too many of our candidates are union officials. Of the people that won there was a mix. Julie Owens in Parramatta was not a staffer or a union official, Justine Elliott in Richmond was neither, she was a former policewoman and they did very well. But on the other hand, in Adelaide, 26 yr old Kate Ellis, a ministerial staffer with the South Australian government, won the seat of Adelaide against the odds and you’ll get to know her, she is a very bright, very intelligent person and she’ll make a good contribution. So, we’re not about to completely junk all those people. The key to it is getting people who can get out there, work hard, have some connections with the local community and do a good job during the campaign itself.

Antonio
Antonio
2022 years ago

Mark,

Are you just referring to Australia? If not, how do you account for the media portrayal of Thatcher & Sonia Gandhi?

Another interesting case is the (young) Liberal member for Indi – Sophie Panopoulos who has been slowly climbing the parliamentary ranks & has thus far managed to avoid some of the more negative aspects of the media portrayal of female politicians.

BTW, what do you think of the Qld media portayal of Anna Bligh? My personal opinion is that despite the fact she is from the Left of the ALP, she has achieved comparatively little reform in the portfolios she has had responsibility for. However, given the Qld media’s love affair with Peter Beattie, I don’t think she has been adequately taken to task.

Some thoughts,

Antonio

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2022 years ago

Hi Mark, without wishing to create an impression that I disagree with your general thrust strongly, your use of Cheryl Kernot as evidence was unfortunate

I do definitely side with Laurie Oakes on the Cheryl affair. The development of her relationship with the ALP were a matter of public interest. She was in one party and planning on moving to another. Her party had significant power in the upper house. Absolutely her rooting Gareth was beyond public interest the public needed to know this. Absolutely.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Antonio, yes, I think it’s particularly in Australia that we get gender bias in the reporting of female pollies. As to Anna Bligh, I do think she’s had a pretty good press. And I disagree with you about her performance – I think in many aspects Queensland has taken some exemplary steps in Education policy.

I’m not saying by the way that the media always report female politicians’ activities and characters through the lens of gender stereotypes, only that they often do, and it’s something we can do without.

I met Sophie P at an NUS Exec meeting in 1988 at Melbourne Uni. She struck me as bright. I haven’t read a lot about her in the press, but that may be because I don’t always follow the Victorian papers.

James, Cheryl was her own worst enemy. But I still don’t agree with Laurie Oakes and your take. I think Oakes had some pretty dodgy motivations for his expose – and I would argue that the political reasons why Kernot joined the ALP were separable from the personal reasons, and in public reportage, ought to have been so separated.

Jacques Chester
Jacques Chester
2022 years ago

Mark;

I generally agree that gender profiles interfere with the way media look upon male and female politicians. The profession is still seen as a man’s world – aggressive and combative – and to some extent those female politicians who have succeeded have done so by partly adopting the same view.

But women and men are different, biologically and psychologically. This is not really that open to debate.

What is open to debate, in my opinion, is the extent to which these differences should matter amongst politicians, the press and the public.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Jacques, I wouldn’t disagree that there are biological and psychological differences between the sexes but as a believer in sex/gender theory I regard most behavioural differences as an effect of socialisation reproduced through culture. The media’s representation of powerful women – and the language used – as in the clear linkage with a stereotype for “uppity women” in the Oz quote above – are strong forces for reproducing gender inequality.

Link
2022 years ago

God, this is so juicy I’m like a pointer on a duck farm. (haven’t seen Eee pee anywhere have you?) When will women be judged solely by their acumen (anywhere), not only those in politics? When men evolve beyond being primarily visual creatures, ie, your’e right Mark, no time soon. And is there anything wrong with being primarily a visual creature? Bound to get sucked-in I’d say by the deceptive nature of ‘appearances’.

Janice
Janice
2022 years ago

a believer in sex/gender theory

Yes? Which sex/gender theory is that? Is it just a theory or is there solid research backing it up to give you good reason to believe it? Because if there is no reliable research then as far as I’m concerned you should take the paper that theory is printed on and put it under the cooking pot where, burning, it might do some good.

I’ve raised three sons to responsible adulthood. It was a great learning experience for someone who used to wonder if males were actually human beings underneath their attractive exteriors. It taught me that socialisation is of small importance. Despite being socialised the same way my sons behave differently. I believe that’s due to inborn differences of temperament. Furthermore, they have always – since infancy – behaved differently to girls and that is due, I believe, to the ante-natal influence of sex hormones and later, of course, to the huge surge in testosterone levels that males experience at puberty. There is research to back up those notions but I’m too busy to find it for you.

As to the question under consideration, I think it’s possible that socialisation might have a good deal to do with that though I wouldn’t care to be dogmatic about it. It seems to me that, in general, men find their identities as being “not female” rather than as being “male”. So I wonder if that might be due to the way households have been structured for the last several decades, i.e., mother has been there (until recently) to rebel against but father hasn’t really been there to identify with.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I’ll come back to this, Janice, because I’m going out in a sec and won’t be near a computer til tomorrow. When I say “theory”, in the social sciences this generally implies something with empirical support. Something that is proposed for research is a “hypothesis”. Similarly in the natural sciences – hence why to describe evolution as a “theory” is not to cast doubt on it.

So, yes. And there’s no sense in which socialisation is a determinate process which causes everyone to act alike – so there’s no reason at all why your three sons shouldn’t have individual differences. I’d hazard a guess that their behaviour (while different) is all recognisable as being masculine (in a very broad sense) though.

Link – speaking as a visual creature myself, I suspect you’re right. Still, we can get beyond these habits if we try – and hopefully reframe our vision!

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Sorry, Janice, I read your comment too quickly and missed the bit where you talk about hormones, puberty. Yes, but, in different cultures and at different times the same biological factors influence boys differently – as the cultural construction of masculinity is different. There are also cultures where women are the main providers, and men look after the kids. Biology isn’t destiny.

Again, that’s not inconsistent with the research you discuss – it’s valid for our culture – if that makes sense?

dk.dk
dk.dk
2022 years ago

Janice: Moira Gatens, I believe the one of the best (Australian) feminist philosophers ever, tore apart the sex/gender distinction back in the early 1980s as politically naive and based on flawed premises and expectations. In a nutshell: the same behaviours are regarded differently if they’re performed by men or by women. I think time has shown that the whole distinction was coined on now defunct emancipative theory. (nb. I know for certain there is not distinction between sex and gender in the Scandinavian languages. anyone know any others that do without it?)

Gatens’ book Imaginary Bodies deals with the tendency to reduce women in politics to their sex, or treat their speech as hysterical (what do you do with hysterical speech? hysterect…) going right back to Wollstonecraft (given a voice only because she was married to Locke) and Hobbes’ Leviathan. I’d highly recommend it if you want some truly excellent philosophy which doesn’t resort to some crackpot Marxism cybernetic shite, or some wacky ‘feminist standpoint.’

Jacques, (and Mark who certainly has retained “post-structuralist street cred” in my books): Of course there are differences between the sexes: height, perhaps some spatial perceptive, the obvious hormonal and morphological ones. But what is extropolated from these to the everyday world – whether to immutable natural essence or a socialised difference calculated through some inductive-positivistic – theory should be well reflected upon.

Homer Paxton
Homer Paxton
2022 years ago

I don’t know what she is like up close but Justine Elliot is the best looking female I have seen in politics.

If I was a pre-selector in a marginal seat then I would select the best candidate irrespective of sex. I know that is a radical policy for the ALP to introduce but it may just work.Neither faction has possessed many quality candidates in recent times.
I hope that was strident enough!

Kate
Kate
2022 years ago

Jacques writes: But women and men are different, biologically and psychologically. This is not really that open to debate.

Um, who said men and women aren’t different biologically? This isn’t one of those “wacky feminist standpoints” is it? Most feminists I know don’t think men and women are the same from a physiological perspective. Women can have babies, are smaller, have less muscle mass etc, men are larger and hairier and so forth.

However, when we start talking about “psychological” differences I think it is open for debate. That’s when we get into the rather throny area of nature vs. nurture and socialisation, which, despite Janice’s assertion, isn’t just about what your Mum teaches you when you’re a child. It’s also rather tricky sorting out which aspects of gender are due to biology and which aspects of gender and due to society. (I am a woman, I like shoes… do I like shoes because women are genetically predisposed like bowerbirds to be attracted to bright shiny pretty things such as shoes? Or do I like shoes because I’ve grown up in a society in which all women are supposed to like shoes, and I have internalised the message that proper femininity=the desire to own shoes?)

In these sort of debates it then seems a short, slippery slope to saying that women NATURALLY aren’t as smart as men, that women should stay home and have babies and leave the hard work of politicking to the strong and wise menfolk. Or that women are NATURALLY driven by their emotions and are shrill and hysterical and thus unsuitable for public life. I think these ideas are still bubbling around in our social consciousness, and the fact that we judge women politicians quite differently to how we judge male politicians is evidence that we still can’t quite see female politicians as politicians first.

Sorry for long rantish post, as well.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Don’t apologise. We’re afficionados of long rantish posts here at Troppo (although there are limits, and a recent interesting but verbose commenter named Nick successfully located them).

blank
blank
2022 years ago

The answer to the question
“Are men smarter than women?”
was answered centuries ago.

“Which man? Which woman?”

I remember being taught in psychology in about 1967, that the average intelligence of males and females was the same, but that there were more males at either end of the bell-curve.

blank
blank
2022 years ago

“On whose nature Nurture can never stick.”
The Tempest

I would have thought that the theory that “most behavioural differences as an effect of socialisation reproduced through culture would have been given a very serious knock by the case of David Reimer.

Bruce and Brian Reimer were identical twin boys. At eight months, Bruce had a circumcision for a constricted foreskin. It was done with an electrocautery machine, which was wrongly calibrated, and his penis was burned off.

The parents were offered a “solution”

dk.dk
dk.dk
2022 years ago

good post blank – ‘Feminist’ like many terms (‘liberal’ ’empiricism’ ‘neo-conservative’ ‘capitalism’) should elicit a near Pavlovian response from any worthy citizen: ‘what kind of feminist?

As for male and female intelligence, I suggest you revisit some debate on causation that have emerged since 1967. John Goldthorpe’s writings are a great start.

saint
2022 years ago

I would agree with those that say our Aussie media portrayal of Aussie female politicians is biased – I don’t know if the foreign female politicians get a better deal in our press – Condaleeza Rice for example, isn’t getting the ‘hey great set of pins’ these last days, but this could be because of syndication or whatever.

For the record, I find none of the women in parliament ‘attractive’ – and I have seen most of them in person during my travels. I used to laugh every time I read the ‘attractive’ blurb on the Panopoulos and Ellis for example. Both however strike me as dedicated and somewhat unthinking party girls. Very uninspiring.

Geoff Honnor
Geoff Honnor
2022 years ago

“One could also compare the praise given by the media to the youth of John Brogden”

Not so. Brogden’s relative youth (he actually looks and sounds younger than he is) is generally framed as a negative in NSW media portrayals. The carefully cultivated gravitas-laden, measured profile of Bob Carr is invariably contrasted with Brogden’s tendency to flap and fluster, squeak and squawk – which is usually referenced as being “wet-behind-the-ears.”

Despite the colossal failure of the Carr government in health and infrastructure delivery, Carr remains well out in front in the preferred Premier stakes.

Gianna
2022 years ago

did anyone read the article on Andrea Mason, leader of Family First, in one of the Sunday papers? the interviewer managed to extract out of her that she’s a virgin and the reader (well, me anyway) was left wondering why we had to know.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Gianna

I didn’t see it, but conceivably (no pun intended, honest) the question had more to do with the American Pentecostalists’ enthusiasm for promoting abstinence before marriage for both sexes through programs such as the “Silver Ring Thing”, rather than being a prurient inquiry made solely because Ms Mason is a woman. If Mason is single (and I don’t know whether she is or not), it would be an obvious if crass question for a journo to ask irrespective of her gender. Nevertheless, Mason appears to have displayed a refreshingly naive political honesty by actually answering. She should have told the reporter to mind his/her own business.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Also I wanted to comment briefly on Mark’s assertion that Laurie Oakes’ interest in the Cheryl Kernot/Gareth Evans affair was merely prurient and evidence of double standards towards females in politics. I disagree (although obviously I don’t know what Oakes’ personal, private motives may have been). As others have commented, Kernot was induced by Evans to defect from her position as leader of the Democrats and join the ALP. That was a very significant political event at the time, and it’s hardly unreasonable to entertain at least a suspicion that the intimate relaationship between them played at least some part in those events. As such it was in every sense a legitimate target for political journalism. It’s totally different from your average, run-of-the-mill political affair.

Moreover, as I explained in a previous comment, the much clearer political dimension would have ensured that the Packer legal advisers would have had no difficulty in advising that this story (unlike, say, Ross Cameron’s) would be covered by the Lange qualified privilege defence for political speech. Consequently, and in contrast to the average politician bonking story, the Kernot/Evans story was fairly risk-free in a defamation sense. If you accept my hypothesis that Australian journalists are neither more or less inherently considerate of politicians’ privacy than their American or British counterparts, and that Aussie journos’ greater reticence in publishing stories about philandering politicians is explained wholly by the different defamation laws, then this is clearly the reason why Oakes published the Kernot/Evans story. It had little or nothing to do with gender-based double standards (not that I’m denying in a general sense that they exist).

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Gianna, that’s interesting. I’m sure I have no need to know! Reading the book on Natasha S-D, it’s amazing how the media took occasional comments she made (eg I will have to make hard choices and have a think about my options if I want to have children) and beat them up immediately into “Natasha to leave parliament, biological clock ticking, to have babies”…

dk.dk, I know Moira, and I know Moira’s paper. She is a formidable philosopher, but her critique of the sex/gender distinction has to be seen (as she says in the reprint in Imaginary Bodies) in the political context of the time and as an intervention in the debate between sexual difference feminists and their adversaries. She lined up much more closely with French difference philosophers such as Luce Irigaray and Julia Kristeva. As she notes, her thinking developed and she moved away from the psychoanalytic basis of that critique, and it’s also not irrefutable (and has been refuted).

Kate, thanks for your comments – we’re in broad agreement!

Geoff, fair enough – I’m an observer from the Deep North and may miss the nuances. However, I still suspect that Brogden’s age was represented differently to Stott Despoja’s age. Meg Lees certainly kicked off the controversy by some ill-judged remarks during the Democrats’ leadership contest, and the media happily ran with a whole lot of stuff about N S-D appealing to “middle-aged male fantasies” – a line which was identical to a lot of the discussion about Pauline Hanson, incidentally.

On the sex/gender distinction generally, this is if you like a paradigmatic assumption of most social science these days – you wouldn’t find too many sociologists, anthropologists or political scientists who’d argue it doesn’t best fit the distinctive cultural influences on how we live our gender identities. It certainly stands the test of operationalisation and empirical research and has explanatory power. That’s not to say it’s an eternal truth – there are very good sociological reasons why this theory came along at a particular time in history – there is no Archimedean point from which we can abstract ourselves to gaze at the world since as embodied human beings we are always already immersed in it. This insight, in itself, has been powerfully developed by feminist epistemology.

Janice and blank, the case of the Reimers is a limit case. If anything it illustrates the fluidity of gender and sex identifications according to medical intervention and cross-cutting social, cultural and familial pressures.

More generally, there are very few anthropological universals – that is to say, invariant behaviours common to every member of the human species at all times. Unfortunately, a tendency to violence appears to be one of the few. The incest taboo is not. The role of women as nurturers is not. The patriarchal nuclear family is not – many Indigenous cultures in this country for instance assign child-rearing to Aunts and Uncles – and the inability of Whites to understand this difference and the disruption to kinship structures has been at the root of a lot of the problems that Indigenous people have faced, and face.

Logically, if one can identify one cultural counter-instance to a particular pattern of behaviour then it cannot be a universal and as biology is common to the whole species, cannot be biologically caused.

I am not arguing by the way that biology has no influence. What I am suggesting is that because humans live in a symbolic world we create through culture and language (that doesn’t make our world ‘unreal’ or ‘constructed’) that the effects of biology are always mediated through culture. We are meaning making creatures.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Ken, fair enough, but I still don’t know how the revelations about Kernot/Evans fall within a public interest criterion. Kernot’s record in the ALP, and the wisdom of the decision to recruit her, surely can be judged regardless of any knowledge of the personal motives that may have played a part in that decision.

Could one argue that there is a public interest in knowing if Labor and Liberal staffers are sleeping together (there was a case of this that hit the media at one point though I forget the details), or that a journalist is sleeping with a pollie (as happens)? It seems to me that once broken, it’s hard to draw the line according to any public interest criteria – the safest way to proceed is to argue that the two ought to be kept separate in reportage.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

saint and Homer, it was interesting to note today in Matt Price’s column in the Australian that Ms Ellis has been given the ‘tv seat’ behind Mark Latham (while Lindsay Tanner languishes at the back of the backbenches next to Dick Adams – Latho obviously has a fine sense of irony).

Price writes:

Kate Ellis, the attractive 27-year-old member for Adelaide, has been allotted the “TV seat” up the front, just behind Mark Latham’s right shoulder. You don’t need a marketing degree to work this one out; Ellis’s background presence might gently persuade us that Labor represents youth, vitality and the future rather than a miserable and impotent rabble.

Antonio
Antonio
2022 years ago

Mark,

Perhaps the best case of what you are referring to is Mark Latham and Janine Lacy. Wasn’t she a Liberal party staffer when they met?

This fact has barely registered in our mainstram media. Do people think that is relevant? Does it reflect on Latham’s character at all?

I’m really not sure.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Antonio – It is true that Ms Lacy’s background hasn’t been much discussed, and that’s right, I think. My personal preference is for a partner with similar political views to my own – not as a hard and fast rule – I once went out with a former Liberal staffer myself! – but I just think that it’s good generally to have a common outlook and values.

The case I can vaguely remember came to public notice because one of the staffers (forget whether it was the Labor or Liberal one) was told by their Party to cease and desist.

Antonio
Antonio
2022 years ago

Mark,

Further to your last post. The current President of the UQ Liberal Club is dating a prominent Left female & it has had an interesting effect (“bring yourself but NOT him”). He has been largely excluded from most of the Left’s social functions while we welcome her to all of our social functions (we view her as his partner so what for her politics – we just don’t talk “shop” around her).

As a former student politician yourself, you would have to admit that such alliances are quite rare. My question is though, is the Left more intolerant of inter-factional dating? My experience has always been that most of the moral guardians of the Left have a greater interest in living their personal politics & would abhor the very thought of dating a Liberal.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

the past women and current woman i have gone out with have all been lefties to varying degrees. i think of far greater concern with me is underlying philosophical vision re enlightenment vs anti-enlightenment than specific politics and intellectual curiosity/openness to debatee.g. i would rather date a well-read atheistic communist than some horse-riding socially conservative Liberal-voting toff.

Francis Xavier Holden
2022 years ago

ooh Jason – I think we match. What star sign are you? Want to email me or should I SMS you?

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Antonio, to be honest, I don’t recall much cross-ideological dating from my days in student politics – a very wet Liberal with a right-wing Labor woman, but he had moved on to a merchant bank by that stage and was pretty dissillusioned with the Libs – to the degree that he used to give me his proxy (as Student Senator) for Union Council. We certainly had no problems socialising with him. There was the occasional relationship with someone in the Communist Party, but by that stage they’d become effectively part of the AWU faction of the ALP. Some of the Liberal boys were pretty interested in some Left women, and a sort of long term flirtation with a National Party guy caused some problems for an ALP woman, but for a number of reasons some ALP-ers tended to socialise with Nats at that point in time. There were some shifting alliances going on in the early 90s, and a kind of Catholic Grouper thing intervening too. As I’m sure you can imagine, it was all pretty byzantine.

Much later on, when I was still tangentially involved in student politics, there were no problems with accepting my ex-Liberal staffer on the part of Leftie friends and comrades.

So I doubt that you can generalise.

Jason, you’re not thinking of one horse-riding socially conservative Liberal-voting toff in particular, are you?

EP, I guess my answer to your points – which are not invalid – is that this sort of response on the part of the female pollies is a function of the broader structural conditions. As to the ALP’s affirmative action rule, I’m inclined to agree with Ken’s implication that the problem is more related to the factional loyalty criterion for preselecting ALP candidates rather than gender per se. Please note also that I’ve emphasised a couple of times that I’m not saying that the phenomenon I’ve identified is characteristic of all media coverage, only (too) common.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

Francis, I thought you and Nabakov were an item?

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2022 years ago

“Jason, you’re not thinking of one horse-riding socially conservative Liberal-voting toff in particular, are you?”

If he is she sounds pretty damn hot to me. Send her over.

saint
2022 years ago

Mark – the choice of TV seat would be funny if it didn’t seem a bit sad as well -as do the other seating arrangements noted by Price. But then, we saw some of that theatre when Latham’s wife spoke at his campaign launch (where her appearance was described by the media in terms of her wearing ‘virginal white’ or a ‘spotless white suit’ *rolls eyes*)

Our whole society, popular media etc is geared around youth and vitality. And while these days a 40 or 50 year old barely feels old, and while succession planning and development of younger potential leaders is important, the over emphasis on youth and vitality by Latham may backfire on an increasingly older constituency. To me it seems that the mortgagees and preference deals were probably the biggest influence on election results, but I suspect the older Australian vote was also signficant …? Alienate them, by suggesting anyone over 45 is ‘past it’ is, I think, asking for trouble.

Mind you, I am not exactly enamoured of the sort of subliminal messages coming from the other side of the house.

Which at this late hour of the night, makes me think if we are going to see a few generational wars in our politics in the coming years. Not good.

(As an aside, I found Matt Price’s final statement about the ‘pressing need for an obstetrician’ and ‘veritable feast of fertility’ typically demeaning. I still wonder why there is no on-site child care available at Parliament House for both female politicans and other employees)

blank
blank
2022 years ago

there are very few anthropological universals – that is to say, invariant behaviours common to every member of the human species at all times. Unfortunately, a tendency to violence appears to be one of the few. The incest taboo is not. The role of women as nurturers is not.

Pass that by me again, Mark!

I am here because a woman breast-fed me, and every one of my ancestors survived infancy because they were breast-fed – and in every case by a woman.

Mark Bahnisch
Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

James, details of the woman Jason may have been thinking of are at Rob Corr’s. Trust me, though, you will agree with Jason…

saint, agree re your analysis of Matt Price’s column.

blank, what I mean is primary responsibility for care and raising of the child. Sorry if that wasn’t clear. It was in the context of kinship structures.