The Weekend Wrap – 14 Oct, 2012

It’s been quite a tumultuous week politically in this part of the world, and I have watched with both awe and horror as it has played out.  Our Prime Minister made the most personally inspiring speech I’ve seen in parliament, beside the apology to the stolen generation given by her predecessor, as she called the Opposition Leader out on his relentless sexist attacks on her personally and his silent support for those speaking the most horrendously disrespectful, sexist and misogynistic things against the leader of our country.  And in the aftermath, instead of shouting ‘hooray’ and ‘about time’ and ‘good for her’, our mainstream media (those mostly ‘white-haired’ men sitting in the press gallery in Canberra) condemned her speech and classed her as a hypocrite.  In my opinion and those of countless blogs, international press and non-mainstream media, they got it wrong.  Ms Gillard’s speech hit a chord with women everywhere, because we’ve all worked with or had dealings with men like Mr Abbott, men that undermine our authority, demean us for the sake of their own egos and patronise us and treat us like children instead of equals.

What has bothered me so much in all of this is the response from both the opposition and the media after Gillard’s wonderful speech (which if you haven’t seen it you must).  Neither the opposition or the media has been able to defend or deny any of the actual accusations made against Mr Abbott – how could they, each and every one was captured on TV, in a interview or in the Hansard records of parliament.  Instead they accused the Prime Minister of ‘playing the gender card’, ‘playing the victim’ or of using the wrong language.  In the latter I refer to her use of the word misogyny against Mr Abbott.  The opposition jumped on this word, claiming that Abbott couldn’t possibly be a misogynist because he loves his wife and daughters and the misogyny only refers to the hatred of women.  My understanding of the word is somewhat broader than that (and the few dictionaries I referred to support my definition) and includes the hatred, dislike OR mistrust of women.  There are enough examples of Abbott’s mistrust of women (especially those in positions of leadership or power), not least his statement that women were ‘physiologically and by temperament’ not suited to leadership, for me to accept that the term misogyny is warranted.  But the simple fact that those who don’t support the Prime Minister could only find fault with ONE word of her speech rather than the bulk of the content is more telling than anything else.  When you can’t refute the facts you challenge the language.

Okay, I’ve said more than I planned, and not nearly as eloquently as others.  There are so many great pieces being written (here, here, here and here – the last one is decidedly R Rated so don’t go there if you don’t want to see) that I think really need to be shared.  And hopefully the fact that so many women reacted so strongly in favour of the PMs words, our other politicians might take notice. Mind you I’ve also had something of a Facebook argument with a female (friend of a friend) who was clearly in Abbott’s camp, so it’s not all women who feel as I do.

That wasn’t the only thing tumultuous about this week, I also had a rather traumatic trip to the farmer’s market with Miss Three.  It was our favourite market and with no swimming on Saturday’s for Miss Thee and I anymore, I was looking forward to getting there early and enjoying the food, animals and atmosphere in relaxed way.  That DID NOT eventuate.

Firstly we were running REALLY late and it was chockers by the time we finally arrived.  Of course it was also the first sunny, warm Saturday in weeks so everyone was there.  We drove around and around looking for a car park and then ended up waiting in an impossibly long and slow line to get into the paid carparking area (granted it was only two dollars).  Eventually we got in and found a spot.  Next up we had to go next door to the ATM for much needed cash, only the ATM was out of order.  The only option (besides going home which I probably should have done) was to drag Miss Three up three blocks to the nearest ATM and back.  By the time we got back we only had an hour before the market closed and Miss Three was beyond grumpy, starving hungry and not in the least bit interested in traipsing around a market while I madly threw things in the basket.  The compromise was her getting an juice icy pole and sitting on one of the haybales in the middle while I got the last few things.  BAD IDEA.  She didn’t stay there and in the three minutes it took me to get the eggs she disappeared.  Did I mention it was CRAZY busy, and she is small.  I stood and scanned the crowd, no sign; I walked around the circular market area, nothing; I headed up the the animal enclosures, but still couldn’t find her.  In the end I had to go to the office at the front gate and get the staff on the hunt as well, eventually (after about 15-20 minutes) I found her, distraught and very, very lost.  And what do you think her first complaint to me was…. not that she couldn’t find me, but that her icy pole had fallen off the stick and landed in the grass!  At that we left.

Before the final disaster struck though I had managed to get some great produce including a spring leg of lamb from a new stallholder based in south Gippsland.  We enjoyed it tonight with lots of roast vegetables.  The vegetable selection at the market was great, baby leeks, perfect cauliflowers, asparagus, hydroponic tomatoes and cucumbers.  I’ve got lots of vegetarian meals lined up for this week.  Sadly, fruit was thin on the ground, apples and oranges were about it besides dried fruit.  I’m looking forward to a bit more variety on that front in the coming months.

That’s it from me this weekend, hope yours was kind to you.

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8 Responses to The Weekend Wrap – 14 Oct, 2012

  1. That’s a heart stopping moment, isn’t it. Glad you found her quickly.

  2. rcra says:

    “Mind you I’ve also had something of a Facebook argument with a female (friend of a friend) who was clearly in Abbott’s camp, so it’s not all women who feel as I do.”

    I had a whole paragraph for this, but it can probably be summarised with “Ugh. What the? Lament, lament, lament,”

    Dreading my own inevitable lost-child moment. I’m not averse to using a leash if need be!!

    • Barbara Good says:

      Yes, I’m always shocked when women can defend some of the recent (and not so recent) blatant sexism in politics and in workplaces everywhere I suspect.

      As for the leash, there comes a point when the child just gets too big and with their own sense of independence and defiance that makes them redundant. I’ve been lucky to never have had to worry about her running off in the past so I didn’t need the restraint when she was younger, but I totally get the need for them with some kids.

      • Ali says:

        Yes, we have some of the most passionate (and effective) policing amongst our own ranks. Very disappointing, deeply saddening.

        I was thinking about how we don’t let the preppies on the oval for all of term 1 because they nick off. You’ll turn around and see two little bodies toddling over the horizon, oblivious to the calls of Yr6s and teachers alike – “I was showing her my grandma’s house!” Ugh! the fear in those moments is bad enough! Sometimes they’re so bad at listening, I can see how a lead would be worth it. But of course only up to a point, especially with age. I have heard of kids who lay down and refuse to walk themselves – like walking a cat I imagine!

  3. I once lost my oldest son at a children’s performance. We were in the lobby and he was always by my side, I held the youngest, who wasn’t afraid of wandering off. I turned to ask my oldest if he wanted something to drink and he was gone. I found him shortly he was only a few steps from where I had been, he didn’t see me move to get drinks and was wandering the spot I had previously been in. It actually traumatized him for months. Glad you found your daughter unharmed.

  4. Liz says:

    One of the things I find most frustrating about parenting is when you want to do something, you know it wont take long etc if only the kids would sit quiet and still and then of course they don’t. Scary stuff – glad you found her and hopefully you weren’t too panicked by the time you did.
    Regarding Julia Gillard, while I loved her speech I wish two things: 1. that she would direct that sort of fiesty, passionate energy into areas that impact everyone. I kind of feel at times that she is best when personally attacked (and while I do think that standing up against bullies notionally helps everyone I also think she is mostly fighting quite a personal fight). I would like to see her like that in defense of the disenfranchised, the environment, people with a disability, the indigenous, assylum seekers etc etc.
    2. I wish she had used the word sexist rather than misogynist. I think sexist is worthy of condemnation in itself without using a word that risks her remarks being taken as overly melodramatic. There are enough extreme misogynists in this world; those who view women as disposable, who deny them basic rights, insist they subjugate themselves in marriage, who commit violence against them or even kill them for ‘dishonouring’ their family or even for wanting to go to school, to use that label to describe Tony Abbott. As unacceptable as his attitudes/words are to me they are sexist rather than misogynist and why can’t he be condemned for that in itself?

    • Barbara Good says:

      Liz, I think I agree with your first point, wouldn’t it be great to see similar quality, impassioned speeches (and better yet policy!) for refugees, indigenous people etc. Having said that I am in awe of what she did stand up and say regardless of her fighting a personal fight purely because I would have loved to do the same with certain individuals I’ve worked with. I think that why women in general were so positive about it and maybe it will have more widespread implications for sexism.

      On your second point I agree in part that perhaps the word misogyny could have been left out and certainly sexism in itself is abhorrent and should be called out. But my point was that by getting tied up in semantics we miss the point and let the Opposition and its supporters get away with blaming the victim rather than addressing the real content of the speech, which of course they have at a loss to defend.

    • Ali says:

      Liz, I’ve been pondering a response all day, unsure of how to phrase it… I don’t think this is only a personal fight. We’ve all been watching this attack on our PM for months and I think it’s important that we should see a response and that she be seen to respond. She’s holding almost the highest office in the country and we’ve tolerated abhorrent treatment and regard for her simply because we’re used to sexism in our community. I don’t care about the repartee of parliament – it’s been shameful. I suppose I say it’s not only her personal fight because *I* feel offended when she’s disrespected like this.
      And yes, I too would like to see that passion shared with other issues, but I also suspect her style of politics is to avoid passion (many possible reasons why).
      I’m also ok with her use of the word misogynist. Abbott would abolish abortion if he could not just because it’s against his faith, but also because he doesn’t trust women to not be ‘lazy’ or selfish. He prejudges us to be less capable of leadership. Distrust and prejudice of women in general are traits of misogyny. Just because he’s at the lesser end of the scale doesn’t absolve him of the term. Also, it doesn’t mean that he’s incapable of doing/being good towards women – he can show misogyny and still get it right at times. It is unfortunate because it does seem harsh, but I don’t think we should shy away from calling him out.

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