Yasmin Poole, below, is a rather furious feminist who falls into the common error of thinking that her coven of loud feminists speak for all women. I wonder how she squares that with the fact that a majority of white women voted for Donald Trump in 2016?
And as for women smiling at me, I am at the moment fielding a marriage proposal from a youthful lady with whom I have a lot in common. And I am 78, not a highly marriagable age.
So all women are NOT as Jasmin fancies them. Men should ignore her. There are plenty of women with old fashioned values about. And the challenge from young Chinese ladies is formidable. My son once had a Chinese lady in his orbit who told him "Let me be your girfriend and I will do anything for you". He married a blue-eyed girl, as it happens, but it was a pretty good offer. Unless you are as good-looking as Grace Tame, feminist females should be aware of that competition
The immediate backlash from conservative men in power in response to Grace Tame’s photos with the Prime Minister has exposed how they are the gatekeepers of Parliament’s sexist culture.
Grace Tame’s unforgiving expression next to the Prime Minister became iconic the moment the image was shared.
It also drew swift criticism that can be put straight in the sexist folder. Queensland Liberal Senator James McGrath wrote a Facebook post that criticised Tame as “childish” – an infantilising, belittling word for a courageous Australian of the Year.
Journalist Peter van Onselen offered in his opinion piece for The Australian the tone-deaf, yet telling advice, “If your disdain for [Scott Morrison] is so great ... then just don’t go.”
It’s the same argument from a worn-out misogynists’ playbook. If women’s “disdain” for the political boys club is so great, why should they run for politics? If women “disdain” the system that entrenches our disadvantage, why should we sit at the table and challenge it?
Their criticisms carry a thinly veiled message: women who refuse to obey do not belong in spaces where decisions are made.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Australian of the Year Grace Tame have greeted this year’s nominees for a morning tea at The Lodge in Canberra ahead of Australia Day.
This argument has benefited men in power for generations upon generations. Women are expected to nod, smile, be silent and complicit. Women are expected to shoulder the burden of masking our emotions for the comfort of the other.
No one should be expected to smile at a Prime Minister – a servant of the people – who has fallen at every hurdle when it comes to supporting women’s rights. Especially Tame, a survivor of sexual abuse.
It’s not just a few cockroaches in the backyard. It’s a blatant indicator that the whole house is rotten. The critics who have come out publicly swinging against Tame reveal a deeper and more sinister culture of misogyny within Parliament House.
If these individuals have the audacity to publicly smear a woman for refusing to smile, imagine what it is like for a woman intending to speak her mind in the party room?
No need to imagine. The stories from Parliament paint a horrific picture. Former Liberal MP Julia Banks’ experience of sexual harassment and bullying reveals the ongoing culture of silencing women who dare to say “no”. Brittany Higgins’ alleged rape in Parliament House exposed politician after politician who could have done something but turned away.
Tame’s appearance with the Prime Minister ought to remind us that formalities are no longer the concern of women.
We abandoned formalities during the March4Justice last year too. Together, women across generations screamed for justice at Parliament House until our lungs hurt. In Melbourne’s protest, girls as young as 12 took to the stage in their school uniforms sharing their experiences of sexual assault. We did not nod and politely smile. We listened and we cried.
Yet, like clockwork, the predictable male critics across politics and journalism came out of the woodwork. Men in Parliament can always look to these voices whenever they need a reassuring pat on the back, turning their heads from the hundreds of thousands of women who demanded action.
The vocal boys’ club are mercenaries of the sexist culture that harms our democracy and threatens women’s very lives.
There is hope that the misogynistic cycle can be broken. As a young woman, I see how my generation is willing to resist formalities to speak truth to power. Now, more than ever, we need young women in Parliament to give a voice to our experiences in a way that other generations could not capture.
Young women will also remember. We will remember the inaction of the Prime Minister when he could have acted for us but didn’t. We will remember the gatekeepers who have used their influence to protect their power and undermine women who come forward.
Our demands to address sexual assault is clear. The onus is on decision-makers to listen.
The burden weighs heavy on our shoulders. We need you to make gender equality a defining issue for this federal election in the name of safety and respect. We need you to remember the politicians who tried to undermine and throw stones when we said that our lives matter too.
It is time that we dismantle the vicious boys’ club in Parliament. Because, as Tame demonstrates, respect is earned.