Saturday, June 29, 2013


The email cartoons, doctored photos of Rudd's head on a knitting-Gillard's photo, practical jokes of a wax figurine placed in a Centre-Link line of job-seekers in Sydney, etc., etc.
 This is only the first week! 

Admittedly, politics is a dirty game and politicians are fair game for satirists, cartoonists and opponents. But no other PM (except perhaps Mark Latham?)has had to suffer the number of public indignities and offences heaped upon Julia Gillard, the first female Prime Minister of Australia..

Why?- This is the question.
 Is or was it her politics? Is it her personality? Is it because she deposed a male? Is it because she deposed a popularly elected and a male politician? Is it because she was the wrong person at the wrong time in the wrong position? Is it because she was not seen to have "feminine charisma"? Is it because she was not the "acceptable type" (by conservative Oz standards) of female, i.e. with a standard family unit in the background supporting her?

I contend that it was all of the above, to a greater or lesser degree depending with whom one is speaking.
However, the Labor Party itself did not seem to be under such fierce attack. Only Julia Gillard personally seemed to be the one everybody was either hating, deriding, insulting, offending and in general showing complete disrespect for the position, let alone the person at the Head of the Australian Government.

Did she deserve it as a politician? Not more than any other, whether Tony Abbott or anyone else. 
Did she deserve it as a person who was clever enough to earn the respect of her colleagues? Certainly not.

Did she contribute to her own demonization?
 Here I think that she may have a case to answer.

She had or still has , what I call our 'feminine weak streaks'. I am listing them below because they show up in weak leaders even in business or in organizations.This is very apparent in most of us females: when we are verbally 'attacked',-we don't always know how to respond. This is vitally important for a female politician or anywhere in a position of authority to master.
 It is all about communicating on equal terms.

We tend to retreat; we tend to feel threatened; we try to avoid being publicly or privately attacked verbally because we feel so vulnerable; we try to avoid confrontational  issues and  tend to take all criticisms personally.
We tend to feel threatened by all criticisms,  instead of separating them into issue-oriented and personal. 
We do not know how to fight a bully. We cannot simply ignore a bully,- they thrive on hurting us and we show it that they do, so they continue bullying.
We show a lack of self-confidence when fighting back angrily!In an argument, instead of entering into a civilized debate, many of us tend to bite back with personal vitriol and wounded pride. 

So where did Julia go wrong as a female and a Prime Minister?

Tony Abbott had her measure. As the Leader of the Opposition he was attacking the Labor Party,- while Julia took it personally. We had the 'mysoginist' speech, we had the gender wars, but she did not respond by attacking the attacker on his own political terms! 

This is what Rudd did immediately. This is what the Labor voters wanted to hear from their Labor Party leader. This is why women in leadership do not always earn the respect of men because they are showing personal insecurities in the face of  critical attacks.

A simple case in point: when as the Prime Minister she was so rudely treated by that idiot of a radio interviewer, she did not know how to shut him up. He may have lost his job because the PM was made to feel a 'victim' when in fact she should have got up and walked off in indignation! 
In leadership, a female in particular, CANNOT AFFORD TO PLAY THE VICTIMHOOD CARD!

This is why Nigella Lawson was immediately criticized when her husband attacked her physically in public: because she got up crying instead of giving him a good slap in the face! 

We feel sorry for a victim but we respect those who refuse to act like one.

POSTCRIPT: Listening to commentators lamenting the loss of the first female PM in such an undignified manner, they said that there are no role models for Gillard to have copied, except Margaret Thatcher who is/was on the wrong side of the political spectrum for a Labor politician to want to mimic.
Actually, Thatcher did not exhibit the female traits that I enumerated above and this is why probably, everyone not only accepted her, but the people admired her in the end.
Many on the Left of course hated her because her policies were draconian towards working people in some industries. The economy demanded it and she dared to do what probably even her male colleagues didn't dare to do. She was known as the "iron lady" for good reasons.
Gillard was also supposed to be tough, but unfortunately she did not come across in her interviews or speeches  more than 'wooden'. Only in her final speech, which she must have prepared herself, did she come across as speaking from the heart and genuine.
 If only she could have been like that on all other occasions when she spoke in public to the media.

Tony Abbott however suffers from the same problem of being disliked by many people. He is a 'blokey bloke' and for other reasons as well is not popular either. However he won't be ridiculed like Julia was,- no one would dare, I bet!
If only the Libs. would do the same to him and switch to Malcolm, We might even see a bit more of a civilized parliament then.
This is one feisty lady with guts at 71! I wish she would go into politics to liven things up for the blokes!

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