Text messages, sexism, misogyny, oh my!

When Tony Abbott, the opposition leader in Australia, called for the resignation of Peter Slipper over offensive text messages, Prime Minister Julia Gillard called Abbott on the hypocrisy behind the call.

I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man, I will not. And  the government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not  now, not ever. The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist  views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope  the leader of the opposition has got a piece of paper and he is writing out his  resignation. Because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern  Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the house of representatives, he needs a  mirror.

The full video is here, and it’s probably the best thing I’ve seen all week.

15 thoughts on “Text messages, sexism, misogyny, oh my!

  1. Crude, what Gillard said about abortion was that she was offended that Abbott said that women who have abortions take the easy way out. That kind of complete disregard for the reasons why women might have abortions is misogynist. You can think that abortion is wrong, and should be illegal, without trivializing the women who have them. Perhaps you should listen more carefully to what she is actually saying, as opposed to what you think and angry feminist would be saying.

  2. She was not at all excusing the text messages, but arguing that the throwing around of claims of sexism and misogyny for political purposes should not be tolerated. I strongly agree with her. We all lose when issues facing gender minorities are used as tools for political leverage.

  3. I actually didn’t think this was an instance of the genetic fallacy because as LJ notes, she wasn’t excusing the text messages at all– she agreed they were offensive and completely inappropriate. She was claiming that given Abbott’s own record, it appeared that he was calling for the motion for political purposes rather than out of a genuine concern for keeping sexism out of the house. Then his own record looks relevant to me. No?

  4. Certainly his hypocrisy is relevant as to his fitness for office.

    But the “will not be lectured to by . . . about . . . ..” language is not all that uncommon as shorthand for “we won’t be doing anything about it”. If that’s what’s happening here, then it is indeed ad hominem. She does seem to be suggesting that his hypocrisy is itself grounds for rejecting the motion.

  5. I’ve heard the philosopher Michael Smith talk about “the bloke culture” in Australia that he grew up in. One might worry that guys the age of these politician are as overtly sexist as was tolerated in the States until fairly recently (e.g., 1970’s-1980’s). If they’re all doing it, it seems to me very objectionable for them also to use it as a weapon to whack each other. It’s like not giving someone tenure because they rudely ignored the cleaning staff. Most academics do that. It’s not good to live in an atmosphere where people don’t show any respect to the shadowy staff, may be especially in the humanities, but it isn’t a good reason to single someone out.

  6. I’m not sure if this went through: Could somebody put up a trigger warning or something for Crude’s comment.

  7. Oops! Sorry, I missed the objectionable part of Crude’s comment. Crude, feel free to rephrase and repost.

  8. Not sure if it was the genetic fallacy, but it seemed something like a version of ad hominem. At one point she pretty explicitly claims that it follows from Abbott’s misogyny that his motion should not be supported. L.J.s complaint about using charges of misogyny for political purposes is true of Gillard here too.

    None of which is to deny it was a brilliant speech, or well deserved by Abbott.

  9. Rob, that’s really disappointing. I didn’t know her position on it. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Notice that she does not present this as her opinion. It’s what the party has decided. In the meantime they’ve tried to eliminate thdee bad consequences.

    I think she’s probably had to choose between articulating the party’s position and leaving her job. Australia has a large and conservative RC community.

  11. Romney does present the views as very definitley his own.

    In addition, i understand she’s negotiated the possibility for the defeat of the anti-ss marriage. That is, it will come up a again as a private member’s bill and MP’s will be allowed to vote against party lines.

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