Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Julia Gillard and Feminism in a Nutshell

Julia Gillard has retired from politics, but that doesn't mean she's going quietly. And in the process of speaking her mind, she's done a great job of illustrating one of the major problems with modern feminism:
Ms Gillard said she was disgusted that Mr Abbott and others responded to her misogyny speech by claiming she was playing the “gender card”.
“It just amazes me that we can be having this infantile conversation about gender wars,” she said.
“You just feel like saying: ‘Well, if it was your daughter and she was putting up with sexist abuse at work, what would you advise her to do?’… We have to be able to say strongly to women and girls that you have got a right to an environment that treats you with respect, treats you as an equal and that raising your voice about that isn’t starting a war, it isn’t playing the victim, it’s just asking for what simply is right”.
What's telling here is the last line: you have got a RIGHT to an environment that treats you with respect, treats you as an equal, and that raising your voice about that is just asking for what's right.

Except... it's not right. It's absurd, this idea that you are owed an environment where you are automatically respected, and an equal. As near as I can tell from my side of the pond, Gillard was such a disaster that she was ousted from her party's leadership, and this didn't happen in time to save said party from a crushing defeat. Yet there's Julia, stamping her feet and yelling about how respect and equality of treatment is an out and out right. And, for added irony, she does it while belittling her opponents.

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