Classified as: reflective journal, politics, discourse, feminist theory, advocacy
So according to John Quiggin, my concerns about sexism on his blog are unfounded and arise simply because I can't tolerate any criticism of Julia Gillard:
"OK Val, I think we’ve established that your only concern about sexism on this site relates to your view that criticism of Gillard, even on policies which you are unwilling to defend, was automatically sexist"
Well I guess I'm just a silly emotional woman, probably unrealistic to expect anything better of me ...
For some time now I've been trying to write a post about the way certain left wing or "progressive" male bloggers reacted to the prime ministership of Julia Gillard. I've trawled through the blogs and I've engaged in on-line discussions with the bloggers and with people who comment on the blogs. I've done some background reading on the issues.
Nevertheless I can't write a definitive post at this time. What I can say is this: there are general themes and tendencies in the way anti-Gillard left bloggers and their supporters reacted to Gillard, and there are also general themes in the way they responded to critics like me.
- Their criticisms of Gillard were immoderate and often personal
- They saw moral failures (eg being dishonest) or being on the wrong side of politics (eg being right wing or neo-liberal) as the cause of her mistakes
- They blamed her personally for government failures or mistakes, but they did not give her personal credit for government successes
- They reacted to feminist criticism by refusing to address the substance of the criticism or by denigrating the critic.
- Where the critic was a woman, a very common response was to say that she was incapable of accepting any criticism of Gillard (as per John Quiggin's comment above - I don't think I ever saw any of them suggest this when the critic was male)
- Another common response was to say that the feminist critics were participating in a Rudd-Gillard "stoush" or similar
I'm not trying to do commentary in this post, but I find the last two points so interesting that I will make a quick comment. In my view, what the anti-Gillard bloggers and their supporters were doing was trying to reconstruct feminist criticism in terms of a patriarchal discourse of competing individuals. More on this later ...
Certain relevant points about the bloggers: they are male, they are Queensland based and they supported Kevin Rudd. In my view, these bloggers and their supporters contributed to the election of the Abbott government. One of the key reasons swinging voters gave for voting against the previous ALP government, as I've noted in a previous post, was that they saw it as chaotic and unstable. These bloggers contributed to that instability.
I'm setting up a work-in-progress page on this subject, where I will keep my notes, evidence and analysis. Anyone who is interested to know more about this is welcome to trawl through that page when I set it up (soon) but I warn you it will be pretty random for a while, even though there will be a a lot there.
The reason I haven't tried to write a definitive post on this at present is that it's a huge task, and trying to get the perfect post done is blocking me from writing about other things that are interesting or important. So I will keep pursuing this issue, and ultimately I will tie it in to my thesis, but yep, it's a work in progress and will be for some time.