As a male, I’m already prepared for the fact that I’m going to be lambasted by some for commenting on this from the protection of myalleged patriarchal fortress, but so be it because…I’m sorry, we need to talk about Lambie.
That Lambie being, of course, recently installed Palmer United Party Senator Jacqui Lambie.
Most Aussies (and quite a few foreigners no doubt) would have read something about Senator Lambie’s interview on a Hobart breakfast programme earlier this week.
Let’s not be in any doubt about this – what Lambie said (for that one person out there who hasn’t heard, in her interview Lambie mentioned wanting a prospective lover to be “hung,” and also something about whipper snipping her hairy private bits) was an eyebrow raiser, rib tickler and clearly meant as a joke. It might even be forgiven, coming from a new-ish-to-the-media Senator still finding his or her feet with media appearances.
(Ricky Muir…hmmm…’nuff said)
Many outlets immediately caned her for these comments as sexism that would not be tolerated in reverse from a male MP – case in point, PM Tony Abbott on, sadly, any number of occasions.
And then a few snippets started coming through about “political correctness gone mad” (yawn – such an overused phrase) and how refreshing it was to hear a less cookie-cutter approach to the media from MPs and how this incident just showed how human Lambie is, something wanting in so many other pollies.
There was even the fair point by Clementine Ford that male MP’s would not have been put in a position of having to answer such a question.
Crikey, however, took an approach that bamboozled me…
But should men and women really be judged equally when it comes to talking about junk (or indeed, winking at a sex worker) on radio? Should we be as hard on Lambie as we no doubt would be on a middle-aged man for making a similar comment about a woman’s breasts?
Making that neat comparison assumes that men and women are equally sexualised and judged for their appearance in the media and in public life — and it assumes the power relationship between men and women is equal. They’re not; it’s not — and for that reason we say rubbish to claims that Lambie is sexist.
Did I miss something?
Are the Crike-sters implying that a bit of inverse sexism is allowed to redress the unequal relationship between men and women (an imbalance power relationship that I don’t dispute, but that’s not the point)?
Kind of like affirmative action in some reverse twist?
We all want our politicians to be honest (stop laughing, it’s possible…maybe…in another dimension…where they aren’t actually politicians #ohwait).
We wouldn’t mind them being a bit more human, less robotic and off-script, and to show it to us in a public arena (Rarely seen in Gillard, except in moments of anger or grief; same for Abbott, although understandably he has shown slivers of clearly-warranted emotion this past week over MH17).
We might even be happy to have a laugh with them over the paucity of dating success in their life in the right forum and handled in a particular fashion.
But surely we can’t be inconsistent in our expectations of them – male, female, straight, gay, caucasian, non-caucasian, Left, Right, Green or PUP…?
Stay “real” Senator Lambie, by all means – but remember you hold high office and that you, as anyone, MP or otherwise, are allowed to fob off dumb questions in interviews…