Politics: Why we need feminism

Do you know what really bugs me about politics at the moment?  I mean, apart from the hideous leap to the Right on every possible occasion, and the general existence of Tony Abbott?

It’s Julia Gillard.  I really wanted to like her.  More than that, I really wanted her to succeed, even if I didn’t like her.  Deeply frustrated as I am by Labor’s determination to reach out to the right and abandon those of us on the left, if they had at least managed to do so *competently* I’d be happier than I am now.  (And I acknowledge that the Gillard government has had a particularly difficult, and possibly impossible, task, given the configuration of the Lower House.)

If Rudd or Swan or any of the other men in the Labor Party had been Prime Minister and failed at the task of getting their agenda across, nobody would even pause to consider whether this might be evidence that men should not lead political parties.  But I can pretty much guarantee you that unless Gillard makes a spectacular recovery, she’s going to become ‘proof’ that women can’t lead a country properly.

If a man fails, then it reflects on him.  If a woman fails, it reflects on all women.*

This, incidentally, is why we need feminism.

* Of course, the same rule applies to people of colour, Aboriginals, gay people, Muslims, Jews, and, I’m sure, dozens and dozens and dozens of other groups I haven’t mentioned or thought of.  Which is why we need the various -isms attached to viewing people in these groups as people first and people-who-are-members-of-a-particular-g

roup second.  But since Ms Gillard is female, I’m sticking to feminism for the purposes of this post.

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