Baby kissing

Image credit: PM Julia Gillard and Treasurer Wayne Swan holding some babies.

You know when you pick up someone’s baby you have that pleasedon’tcrypleasedon’tcry chant running through your head? I don’t feel it quite so much now that I have babies of my own and I’ve had the opportunity instead to demoralise others with my babies and their separation anxieties. But I remember when I didn’t have children and I had dared to enter my thirties in that fancy free state and it led to everybody always wondering aloud about my reproductive plans. I tensed up at the mere sight of a baby. Not because I didn’t like them but because I knew it could set off yet another round of merciless teasing and fresh speculation about my cluckiness. And if I was incautious enough to hold that baby, and then it cried in my arms? Oh, the jokes that would follow from that.

Well, imagine you are Australia’s first female Prime Minister and your choice not to have children is much discussed, and there you are on the election trail about to do the traditional campaign stunt for the first time where you kiss some stranger’s baby with all the cameras rolling.. how much pressure are you feeling when you pick that baby up? Pleasedon’tcrypleasedon’tcrypleasedon’tcry.

(Cross posted at blue milk).

Categories: gender & feminism, media, parenting, parties and factions, Politics


6 replies

  1. Next election, I swear I am going to instigate “Operation Pied Piper”. In OPP, all babies will disappear into a seekrit door in the side of a mountain and not come out again until the danger is over.

  2. It’s not as bad as I feared, but the fact that it has happened at all is annoying.

    ”While Ms Gillard doesn’t have kids, she demonstrated that it hadn’t stopped her from mastering the must-have political skill of baby handling.”

    Kissing babies is popular and I support Helen’s Pied Pier Operation which I think is a brilliant strategy, but why does Julia have to have ‘mastered’ baby handling? Does this type of rubbish ever get written about male pollies? Why is it immediately assumed that because Julia doesn’t have a child of her own she is incompetent with babies? Yes she doesn’t have children. This doesn’t mean that she has no experience with them, or that she doesn’t like children. I fear that this is just the beginning of the crap we will see in the next 5 weeks.
    I am also starting to feel a familiar winding up sensation in my chest where I get increasingly more anxious about the result of the upcoming election. Last time this meant that I spent much more of election night than I needed to concerned that the Libs were going to snatch victory away before I finally calmed down enough to actually look at the numbers on the screen and realise that it was lost to them. Then I could start enjoying the massive feeling of relief. I’m concerned that this is happening now, so soon after the election was announced. I may be a complete mess by election night.

  3. I’m hearing stuff like “If you care about children, vote for a parent.” Well, I might as well say: “If you care about queers, vote for a queer. Vote Greens!” Or whatever, you know, “If you care about miners, vote for a miner!” “If you care about old people, vote for a son/daughter!” Silly stuff.

  4. how much pressure are you feeling when you pick that baby up? Pleasedon’tcrypleasedon’tcrypleasedon’tcry.

    It would not surprise me if these days staffers do a bit of filtering beforehand to try to select the happy easy going babies 🙂

  5. I get the same way, Mindy. I think this election will be worse than usual – the Libs being back in power so soon and headed up by that man, would impact on my health.

  6. We have to believe in the Octopus.

    Cassandra’s preference for Julia Gillard was clear. Despite being a solitary animal, she wrapped her long arms around the Prime Minister’s photo.
    Her reaction to the Opposition Leader’s image was less enthusiastic: she turned a defensive black colour.

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