Yesterday, as I learned while driving along Burke Road listening to PM, Lara Giddings had just replaced David Bartlett as Tasmanian premier, and DID A JOURNALIST IN THE PRESS CONFERENCE JUST ASK THIS QUESTION? OH YES SHE BLOODY WELL DID. *Head threatens to explode*.
…As a single woman taking on the role, do you, are you concerned perhaps you’re giving up the potential to have a family? Is it compatible?
I like to think there’s a split second where Giddings gives the journo a death-ray glance before she breaks into her, apparently signature, charming smile. But that’s probably wishful thinking. Like most of our politicians, she knows she has to roll over and play nice for the press gallery, however shit her immediate questioner may be. They have the power to make her look bad. And she knew she was wedged. So instead of saying “what an appalling question, and beside being not relevant to the topic and none of your bloody business, you wouldn’t be asking a single man that if he was in my shoes today”, (Headline that day: Tasmanian PM proves Feminists Have No Sense Of Yumour!1!”) she said
If I had the choices, then, uh, it might be an issue for me, but I’m yet to find that man.
Which broke my heart. No, not because she hasn’t found a man! Because a woman who’s being interviewed on a rather important achievement and should be in a position of authority still has to submit to insults like this and laugh along.
I don’t know who the “female reporter” was, although I have my suspicions, based on level of reporting fail, proximity to Hobart and obsession with femininity performance.
Although Giddings tried to have a red-hot go at talking about her actual policies and qualifications for the job, this was what the Australian put on its front page today – “Leftist Lara still looking for Mr Right”. FFS.
To those of you who are going to say this is trivial and not political and build a bridge, this stuff matters. Sure, little girls are watching and learning that they can become Premier. They’re also learning that if they do, people will quiz them in public about their marital status and sex life and that for a woman, not being partnered or having children is a terrible loss of face. And they will get the message, still, that if you’re a woman and you want to aspire to the top jobs, you risk having to give up the family thing, but men don’t. (And, no, reporting family matters about Tony Abbott or Kevin Rudd isn’t the same thing.)
Journos, I know you’re having a difficult time of it, but is wilfully choosing braindead stupid questions really necessary? And does advancing the male-as-default-woman-as-curiosity narrative really have to be part of your job description?
Crossposted at Hoyden About Town