Post image for Australian Prime Minister Accused of Sexist Behavior

Australian Prime Minister Accused of Sexist Behavior

During a press conference on June 15, 2010, where Prime Minister Mr Rudd was announcing the Australian government’s proposed paid parental leave, a female reporter asked “Prime Minister, why is your leadership in crisis?”.

Mr Rudd was clearly irritated by this question and shot back a comment “Well, that’s a point of language which you have used and used which is dramatically consistent with the dress which you have chosen today”. The reporter was Latika Bourke from radio 2UE and she is pictured here at that particular press conference wearing a white shirt, necktie and hat.

As may be expected, feminist groups have wasted no time in raising the alarm that this is clear evidence of sexism in our society, perpetuated by the Prime Minister himself. Eva Cox from the Women’s Electoral Lobby has described this as “sexist” and stated that “It’s not the sort of reaction he would make to a male journalist” according to the Herald-Sun.

What the news reports and feminist groups don’t mention is the actual context of the situation; such as:

1) Mr Rudd, clearly irritated by the question, felt that her question was unrelated to the purpose of the conference and was therefore inappropriate – as was her attire (see next point below). For those unfamiliar, the Prime Minister has been going through a severe battering in the polls with an upcoming election on the horizon and the media hounding him about a possible leadership challenge by the Deputy Prime Minister. It’s understandable that yet another ‘leadership crisis’ question hurled at him during an unrelated media conference would irritate him (he is only human).

2) Everyone seems to have overlooked whether the reporter’s attire was business-appropriate. It appears to be much more suited to a night-club rather than a press conference with the nation’s leader. If a business man was to wear a groovy T-shirt to a boardroom, you can be certain that he would receive a lot of negative attention, and quite likely disciplined (or dismissed) by the company’s management. Dress appropriateness is not reserved for women only. In fact, men in western society are generally far more restricted in their clothing options than women. Many companies insist that their male staff wear neckties whereas the women are not required to wear such a “collar and leash”.

3) Not only is the reporter’s outfit inappropriate to a such a conference, it could be described as verging on cross-dressing. If a male reporter was to have attended the conference wearing a stylish skirt, blouse and some fashionable heels, you can be certain that not only would the Prime Minister have commented on his attire, but he would have likely been openly ridiculed and no longer employed as a reporter. THAT is sexism, Ms Eva Cox.

So, the short story is: A female reporter wearing an ‘out there’ night-clubby outfit attends a press conference with the nation’s leader and throws out an unrelated question that is sure to irritate him. Having made herself a target in several ways, she receives an angry response that any reporter in her circumstances, male or female, would have received. The feminists waste no opportunity, including this one, to claim that this is evidence that women are victims of sexism yet again.

Clearly, when a meaningless matter such as this is held up as an example of sexism in our society then it calls into question the strength and validity of other so-called evidence of sexism against women in our society.

Update: It turns out that (former) Prime Minister Rudd was justified in feeling on edge. Less than two weeks later Julia Gillard (his deputy) challenged him for the leadership and won.

{ 8 comments }

Hermano February 17, 2014 at 7:04 am

This is a great website and I applaud you for starting this up and standing up for the rights of every human being. I would like to share my experience with these feminists or lesbos or whatever you call these animals. A couple of years ago me and my friend went to a pub in Newtown to have a couple of beers. We were both new to the country and we just wanted to experience night life in Sydney. We were both standing at the bar with beer in hand when this woman approached us and asked if we were GAY. We looked at each other not expecting to get asked such an in your face question. We said no were not gay and we were just hanging out looking to play some pool and drink some beers. She turned around and talked to a group of butch ladies. They approached us and told us to leave. They said we didnt belong there, no men allowed! Gays were OK but straight men were not allowed because its Lesbian Night. I said sure we’ll leave after we finish our drinks, but they said no, we have no right to drink there and we should go somewhere else. Next thing I know we were surrounded by her fat man hating friends and they didnt look too friendly. We just wanted to have a good time and having a scuffle, especially with the women is not something that we want. So we left and as I was walking away from the place I notice a sign outside the door which said “Ladies Night”. LOL. How did we miss that? Anyone else experienced something similar?

manhurd February 17, 2014 at 4:36 am

That was a journalist? I thought it was Michael Jackson.

aussiebear December 15, 2011 at 10:56 am

Julia Gillard is a feminist.

That’s why she says: “I believe men and women are equal.”

John (admin) December 16, 2011 at 12:18 am

If she really means that, then it means that she’s actually a men’s rights activist.

John (admin) February 9, 2011 at 11:49 pm

The new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, today used privileged parliamentary time to voice disapproval of a male minister’s beard. Ref: http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/style/things-get-hairy-in-question-time-gillard-goes-for-the-beard-20110210-1ao3k.html
I wonder whether Eva Cox or any other feminists will be objecting to this as sexist?

Stu October 31, 2010 at 5:14 pm

Yes its always the case that when women are treated like men, they claim it is discrimination or sexist or something evil. What women consider equal is really just total unaccountability for women, and female supremicy in all things. They say they want equality…..but only equality in the good things…..not the bad. Equality at the top…….not the bottom. They never campaign to remove the glass floor. They never demand women be drafted……fight front line…….work digging ditches and sewers…..oil rigs…..mining…..they never complain about the fact the 97% of work place deaths are men….they never complain the men get to die 5 years sooner then women on average……they consider children their property because they “made” them…..and men have no rights…….but men made all the houses……all the roads….every town…..every city….every building…..in fact…..nearly every object you can see that modern life relys on……..was concieved…..invented and created by men……..so women should have no right to any of those things right? I went to walk into a pub a few weeks ago with my wife……we both had t-shirts on…..mine had sleeves……hers didn’t……hers also had very low neckline…….and was short and showed her tummy….. I was told I could not come in dressed the way I was……with trousers…..shoes…..and a t-shirt…….her long shorts….sandles….and skimpy top were fine. Ms Cox should take that into account when she makes claims of sexism when a women is commented on because of her attire. I got even though……I sent my wife in to get our friends…….twelve of them…….who were meeting for lunch…….and a flutter on the pokies……we all went alsewhere.

RT October 1, 2010 at 4:07 am

Aaron, I agree that there is not enough support for men when it comes to abortion. My partner’s friend went through an abortion, and sure he was in line with what the girlfriend wanted (he didn’t really want the baby either) but emotional support was overlooked for him. I’m sure he was hurting too, however I didn’t know him well enough to help with that. However your comparison is just a wee bit off. That’s another debate about an undeveloped fetus.

Aaron September 11, 2010 at 8:58 pm

I just wanted to say that I really like your blog. I went to a liberal college where there was feminism left and right, and after 4 years, I got sick of it. So many of their claims were based on old information or just downright wrong. Female oppression does still exist to some degree in our society, but it is not as bad as the feminists all claim. Furthermore, hardly anybody ever spoke when anti-male comments were made. Anti-male attitudes are all over, and it is about time for people to start seeing that. For example, notice how many commercials portray the man as a bumbling idiot who does something stupid, until the all knowing wife steps in to save him from his own stupidity. That is the basic plot line of over half of the commercials I see.

Or, explain this one to me. If I get a women pregnant, she could abort the child regardless of how I feel about it, even though it is my child too. However, if I wait a few months until the baby is born, then I killed the child, I would be branded as a monster for killing our son/daughter. What is the difference between her killing OUR child by means of abortion against my will and me killing OUR child against her will? In the end, the child is still gone, and in both instances, one parent was against it. Yet one is far more socially acceptable than the other. Obviously, I have no desire to go killing babies, but I would like to know why one of those situations is completely legal, while the other is not.

Anyway, that is part of my rant. I could go on, but I won’t. Thanks for the great blog. I subscribed to your RSS feed.

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