Quicklink: newswithnipples on Mark Latham’s sexism

A self-portrait of Mark Latham pulling a very silly face for Annabel Crabb

This playful self portrait was used to illustrate a 2005 SMH story on Latham losing the Labor leadership | click picture to view article

She wrote all about it, which means I don’t have to! Go read.

Also, love this quote from SMH’s Diary page:

It’s never a good look to follow a trend set by Bill Heffernan, but alas, that is what Latham has done, by relating the Prime Minister’s perceived deficiencies directly to her childlessness.

I’ll just note for the record, by the way, that as far as I know the most Gillard has ever said about her childlessness is simple variations on “having children just didn’t happen for me, and at this stage of my life I’m not trying to make it happen”. Both Heffernan and Latham excoriate her for choosing childlessness, which even if it’s true shouldn’t be anybody else’s business and certainly not anything worthy of public vitriol, but they don’t even know whether she’s actually had any choice about having children at all. Of course nobody has any right to know the intimate details of her reproductive situation, and she certainly has no obligation to share such personal information, but I find it telling that Heffernan and Latham both jumped to the conclusion that it simply must be something she’s chosen when it just ain’t necessarily so.

Categories: gender & feminism, media, parties and factions

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9 replies

  1. The thing which always stuns me is there’s no word of Ms Gillard’s partner in all of this. Maybe he’s not capable (physically, psychologically, emotionally) of fathering children, for one reason or another. Or maybe (shock, horrors, bring the fainting couch) it’s a decision they BOTH reached together.
    Either way, it’s not anyone else’s business, and it certainly isn’t something which needs to be regularly mentioned in the media, unless we’re going to have a run-down on the marital and family status of every single member of parliament on both sides of the house and the senate.

  2. They had a good response on Insiders the other day, noting that Mother Teresa, Florence Nightingale and Saint Mary were all childless too.

    And of course Latham was still leader when the horrible tsunami hit he didnt bother with even a statement, I dont think he is the one to be making judgements on others empathy.

  3. I have heard her say that a number of small decisions added up to a big decision and that she doesn’t (now) regret the way things turned out although at the time the big decision became apparent she did have some thoughts about how it could have been. This of course has been overwhelmed by the media narrative that she is a cold heartless woman who chose to be ‘deliberately barren’.

  4. She’s saving getting pregnant for the next time she needs a “bump” in the polls.

  5. I always wonder why Julia Gillard seems to cop so much more of this than Julie Bishop (maybe I just haven’t read such attacks on Bishop because of selection bias, but I don’t think so).
    I’m pretty sure it was the case before she was PM, too. Or is it just me?

  6. It does seem always to be Julia Gillard, and not Julie Bishop…
    Perhaps because Julie Bishop has made an artform of being the second banana, and never seems to be regarded as a geniune leader contender? Whereas Julia Gillard always seemed to be talked about as someone likely to throw her hat in the ring for leader?

  7. Gah – forgot to add –
    And therefore Julia Gillard is seen as someone requring to be ‘taken down’, by whatever means possible.

  8. Also, Julie Bishop is the deputy leader of the Liberal Party, Warren Truss is the deputy leader of the Coalition. So even were Tones to win the PMship she wouldn’t be Deputy PM she’d just be another front bencher and therefore not the threat that Julia Gillard poses.

  9. The narrative is that it’s *always* the woman’s “fault” for remaining childless.
    A 36 year old woman, I am regularly asked by “concerned” mid-30’s men if I’m at all concerned about my fertility as I’ve chosen to focus on being single.
    These days, my only response is to ask with which of their partners they have “offered” to parent a child. The thought seems to never have occurred to them that they might need to take some responsibility.

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