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Criticising women not sexism or misogyny
October 11, 201212:00AM
"I WILL not be lectured about sexism and misandry by this woman", he yelled in the chamber.
"What the?" came the muffled reply of all the other members, as they pondered what the hell misandry even means. (Hatred of men, everyone.)
We have really descended to new depths when Julia Gillard cites Tony Abbott’s reference to housewives doing the ironing as evidence of his deep-rooted misogynistic views.
I don’t do the ironing, but this is mainly because I have discovered the joy of new fabrics, most particularly microfibre.
I do, however, mow the lawns, mainly because the lawn-mowing equivalent of the Kreepy Krauly has not yet been discovered.
I have had a long professional career as an economist, working in universities, for the government, as a company director and now as a newspaper commentator.
Have I encountered sexism and misogyny along the way? Not that I have noticed, although I am the type who would be inclined to suck it up and fight back.
I often have criticisms levelled at me. Only yesterday, someone (anonymous, of course) described me as a “commentator’s bootlace”. I take these remarks as indicative of the person’s opinion of my work not good.
But here’s the real rub: I do not regard what is said or written about me as sexist or misogynistic, even if the comments are expressed in personally abusive terms, which they sometimes are.
My view is that if you put yourself out there, it is only reasonable to expect attacks and criticisms. So be it.
Have I benefited from being in a profession which has traditionally been dominated by men? You bet, although I find comfort in the knowledge that merit and competence are always part of the selection criteria. But could this be called reverse sexism?
The really troubling implication of the showdown in parliament this week is that the Prime Minister will now misrepresent any criticisms of her performance and the performance of her government as examples of sexism and misogyny. She will play this card, even if it is the lowest trick in the book, constantly portraying herself as a helpless victim.
This is not the feminist way.