Our federal election was called almost a couple of weeks ago and is scheduled for the 21st of August. As expected, the battle has begun. We are swamped by ads about why not to vote for Labor or why not to vote for Liberal, what each party stands for, yada yada yada. [The ads don’t make me change my mind…I’d decided even before becoming a citizen who I would vote for!]
The two candidates running for the top job are Julia Gillard and Tony Abbott. Now, while I can choose to ignore all the ads on telly, there was one thing I couldn’t ignore. The news reports that seem to focus on Julia Gillard’s private life and her appearance.
Julia Gillard is unmarried and does not have children. Tony Abbott, who by the way has asked women and not men to keep their virginity until they are married, is married with three children. Apparently Julia Gillard has been asked a few times by the media whether her marital status will have an influence on the outcome of the election. Abbott too delivered a low blow during the debate on Sunday mentioning his wife and children during the opening line of his speech. You could see what he was implying with that statement. Also, for some reason, the media also keeps focusing on her appearance. Her clothes, her hair and even her earlobes during the debate!
Here’s my gripe:
1. How is a politician’s marital status related to the way in which they can do their job? It’s similar to people telling me I cannot be a child psychologist because I don’t have kids of my own. Possibly even more far-fetched than that.
2. The emphasis on appearance…would the media be doing the same if it was a male politician? They don’t seem to be focusing all that much on Abbott’s change in hair colour since the election was called. It seems like just because she is a woman, there is a lot more pressure on her to look a certain way. Think about it people…we had John Howard as our PM! No one questioned his appearance…even though the comedians had a field day with his bushy eyebrows!
It’s a shame that women still get the whole ‘if you are not married by a certain age and don’t have kids it means…’ and they still get scrutinised for what they wear compared to their male counterparts in positions that do not call for it. It annoys me no end. The media by focusing on these trivial issues manages to influence a minority of voters that are sucked in by this force. And they really need to be responsible and focus on the issues at hand. In other words, focus on what the Gillard can bring or what Abbott can bring. Screw the rest.
Until next time,