Who does Alan Jones think he is to speak to the Prime Minister like that?

I was completely appalled to hear how a well known radio personality in Sydney spoke to the Prime Minister of Australia on air. The details are outlined well by Barrie Cassidy on The Drum in Liar, liar, shock jocks on fire; and you can listen to the entire interview here.

This radio shock jock berated the Prime Minister of this country on air for arriving late for a media interview. Further he called her by her first name throughout the interview. He called her a liar to her face.

I’ve heard him interview Prime Ministers of Australia before. He referred to them civilly to their face and called them Mr so-and-so, or addressed them as Prime Minister. But now, when confronted with a woman Prime Minister, he seems to think he can disrespect her and her office.

I’ve got no problem with people having an opinion that is different to mine or to anyone else’s. And that shock jock has as much right to his opinion as anyone. But what he did to our Prime Minister went beyond the pale. Agree with Julia Gillard and her politics or not, as Prime Minister she deserves to be treated with the same respect as every other Prime Minister that went before.

I can only hypothesise that misogyny drove his behaviour, misogyny coupled with a deep hatred of non-conservative politicians. When confronted with a woman holding that office he seems to have felt that it was acceptable to berate and speak so un-civilly; and to do so in ways he’s never done with a male office-holder.

It reminds me of the continuing misogyny that exists in Australia. It reminds me that women are still not considered equal to men, even if they are the Prime Minister of the country. It makes me sigh. It makes me sad. It makes me wonder how we can change things.

Small Dead Feminist – time to dismantle organized feminism?

Kate over at smalldeadnimals comments:

“I speak as a woman who has worked in a male work setting for all of my adult life. I can say with some authority that the time has come to dismantle organized feminism.”

She raises some interesting points in her post small dead animals: Small Dead Feminist

Although I must disagree that we should “throw in the towel and accept our inferiority to men”.  Perhaps that was just irony? After all she is Canadian and not American.

First education in Feminism

This is a story from my undergraduate days in one of Australia’s *sandstone universities.

In the philosophy department there had been a split between the ‘old fashioned’ philosophers (called “Trad & Mod Philosophy”, i.e. the logicians), and the ‘modern’ philosophers (called “General Philosophy”, i.e. the feminists, Marxists, etc.) I chose courses in the General Philosophy department, mainly because there were no exams in General Philsophy, all assessment was by way of essays.

One of my foundation moments in the department of General Philosophy was to enter the tutorial room for the first session in the course Feminisim 1A (for those with no previous studies in feminism).

To set the scene it is important to know that I was fresh out of 6 years in an all girls college, had long hair, and was wearing casual jeans and a little makeup. That is, I looked like a fairly normal female freshman student.

Entering the old sandstone part of the university, I climbed to a small oddly shaped room in the one of the corners of the quadrangle building. The room was all dark wood and, incongruously, beanbags. Already ensconced in the beanbags were some older female students, they all had very short hair and were wearing work overalls with singlets underneath. Each was engaged in rolling a cigarette with one hand. They looked at me and immediately became hostile, asking where I was from and what right did I have to be here studying feminism since I obviously shaved my legs and armpits and was wearing makeup. I replied something along the lines that external factors like that did not make you a feminist or not, and sat down in a beanbag to wait for the tutor to arrive. They became even more hostile and stood over me saying that people like me did not count and should not be allowed to take this class. Sadly enough, being much less assertive in those days, I decided that feminism was not the course for me.

Many years later a good friend, a stalwart of the 1960’s and 1970’s feminist movements, gave me the following advice: “Beware of the hoods in the sisterhood”

It is good advice, if only I had known it as an undergraduate. Now I would be glad to have someone bully me like those women in the feminism tutorial room – but bullies like that don’t attack people like me, they attack those unable to defend themselves.

This experience shows that we need to arm our young women against bullies wherever they find them, and also that we need to let them know about the ‘hoods in the sisterhood’.

*Sandstone universities: In Australia there is effectively a 2 tier university system, there are 8 older more established universities that have sandstone buildings and reputations for research (the eight are: The University of Adelaide, The Australian National University, The University of Melbourne, Monash University, The University of New South Wales, The University of Queensland, The University of Sydney, The University of Western Australia). This is in contrast to the newer universities with no sandstone buildings and lower reputations for research, often these newer universities were upgraded Colleges of Advanced Education in the 1980’s Dawkin’s “reforms”. It must be noted that several of the non-sandstone universities have reputations for excellence in certain areas, however this cannot be held true for all of them.