Dr. Greg Canning recently dubbed Elizabeth Broderick the Commissioner for the Discrimination against Men (Canning, 2012). Broderick again shows why Dr Canning is on the money. In fact she could have a new title: Commissioner for the Promotion of the Undeserving.
On Thursday, August 9, 2012 The Australian reported her view on the current leadership crisis in Australia:
“SEX Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick has warned that the intense media spotlight on Julia Gillard may deter future female leaders from seeking to become prime minister (Akerman, 2012).”
Gillard is currently, but not by popular demand, the Australian Prime Minister. She leads a minority government that attracts recent headlines like: “Holed by carbon tax, good ship Gillard limps towards poll iceberg (Coorey, 2012).” Hold an election tomorrow and she’s gone.
This criticism is aimed squarely at her performance on the job, and has nothing to do with her sex. In a democracy, those who oppose the government have the right to say so, and to say why. But, Broderick would have us suspend the entire democratic process.
She clearly feels it is more important to have a woman in the job than having someone doing the job properly. Even more, she wants those females who aspire to leaderership to be confident that they can do the job without scrutiny.
No matter how moronic Broderick’s claims are, however, the press keeps reporting it like she has something intelligent to say. Akerman informs us that “Ms Broderick said she found the level of scrutiny on the first female prime minister “depressing”, comparing it to the position of women in front line defence roles.”
There has been no scrutiny, sexist or otherwise, of women in front line defence roles, because there are no women in front line defence roles.
When the Taliban start shooting, they can’t kill or wound Australian military women because there are none to hit. It is precisely their non-existence, their lack of being there, their essential missing-ness, that keeps female Australian military personnel completely safe from harm. But, even when they don’t exist, women are not, according to Broderick, safe from scrutiny.
And who was scrutinizing them? What criticism is she talking about? Anyone?
Now, before we go any further, a trigger warning: Head imploding logic ahead!
Apparently to back this claim up, Broderick said:
“I was reading a good quote from Hillary Clinton yesterday. She said ‘If I want to get news taken off the front page of the newspaper, I just change my hairstyle,”
Now Broderick often raises the issue of female leaders being subjected to comments on their appearance. She clearly doesn’t approve of it. When interviewed by Greg Callaghan in The Australian earlier this year she said “I believe these negative stereotypes make it harder for women to be seen as strong leaders, for young women to understand that their power comes from who they are, not how they look. (Callaghan, 2012)”
This would be why she was photographed for a Sydney Morning Herald interview with Catherine Keenan with a footnote that said:
“Elizabeth Broderick wears Piazza Sempione dress from Riada and Marni necklace (Keenan, 2011)”
When the choice is between is between a glamor shot and standing by your convictions, what’s a girl to do? You pose, grrl.
Now, the connection between Clinton, her hair, and Gillard might not be immediately apparent. For Broderick, however, she probably wishes there wasn’t one.
From the files of “You Couldn’t Make This Shit Up”, let me tell you about an article from left-wing and feminist journalist Lenore Taylor. In this article, guess who’s talking about hair in June this year? None other than Hilary Clinton and Julia Gillard.
Taylor actually quotes Broderick’s heroine Clinton saying: “[I have been] complimenting the Prime Minister [Julia Gillard] on everything she has been doing… and her hair (Taylor, 2012)”
So if you want to know who has been making misogynistic statements about Julia Gillard, Hilary Clinton and their hairstyles: it was Hilary Clinton.
And, to make matters worse, Clinton and Gillard agreed that talking about hair is, wait for it, “… a girl thing.”
So from this, Broderick draws this conclusion: “So it’s obviously not something just attaching to our own Prime Minister; it attaches to world leaders and women in really senior roles across the world.”
Obviously? Two women talking about their own hair is “across the world” sexist scrutiny?
Now, let’s get back to the military. Come on! Keep up! Multi-think, for fuck’s sake.
The real thrust of Broderick’s foray into the news this week is that she is tabling a document in parliament because she wants an increase of women in senior positions in the Australian armed forces.
Remember? A minute ago we were talking about the front line. Now we’re no longer talking about grunts. Now we’re talking about the top brass.
We’ve imagined women on the front line, which is nearly the same as being on the front line, so we can just skip the front line bit and promote them straight to the top.
And the men actually on the front line? If you thought “Let them eat cake” was heartless, Broderick says this:
“To be the first woman in the infantry or in artillery – those trailblazers are the ones that have such a distressing and terrible time. I would not want my daughter to be the first, particularly in the infantry or artillery or whatever.”
Now of course “whatever” is the feminist technical name for all the other types of military forces within the Australian Services. You know, the guys with the guns and things; with the uniforms; and the hats; and they do that marching stuff; and drive the tanks; and parades; and they wear those medals; and build bridges; and dig trenches. And die. That stuff.
So, what? Are we back on the front line? Are Broderick’s daughters picking up the big, heavy shells? Loading 20 rounds a minute? BOOM! BOOM! Storming enemy strongholds? Throwing grenades? Hand to hand combat?
Is she saying that she doesn’t want her daughter to go, but it’s OK if it’s someone else daughter? All those not named Broderick take one step forward.
All this distraction, of course, is to get you to miss the main point. She means the first women trailblazing the role of giving orders to the infantry, artillery and, let’s not forget, whatever. That’s right! No direct combat experience required and keep your fucking scrutiny to yourself.
Now I personally don’t care how distressing it is for the little precious. I’m a lot more concerned for the men getting shot at and being blown up being ordered around by an inexperienced woman who is being promoted until she reaches her level of incompetence.
Bad as it must be on the front line, where the express intention of your opposition is to inflict pain, suffering and death upon you; it has to be worse when the clown giving you orders to put your body on the line would never, under any circumstance, do the same with her own.
Clearly I just don’t know how hard it is to be a trailblazing woman. But these women will be just as good as the men as long as they don’t get scrutiny.
Can you imagine the enemy tactics? I can see it now: Aghanistan. Kandahar Province. It’s dark. The garrison is quiet. The men stand guard while their women superiors make their plans. The Taliban sneak up to the nearest hillside, behind a big rock. Silently, they assemble the megaphone:
“Your shoes don’t match your bag and you’ve got ‘hat hair’ ”
“Ah! The scrutiny, the scrutiny,” cries the newly promoted leader as she melts in a puddle of criticism. Instantly, the chain of command crumbles and the troops are in disarray. Damn, those patriarchy types! They just won’t let up on a woman.
Broderick is the Commissioner for Discrimination Against Men. There is no doubt. She is also Her Excellency of Opening Her Mouth and Placing Her Foot Firmly in It.
She is a disgrace.
Akerman, P. (2012, August 9). Personal scrutiny on Gillard may deter women from seeking to be prime minister: Broderick. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from The Australian: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/personal-scrutiny-on-gillard-may-deter-women-from-seeking-to-be-prime-minister-broderick/story-fn59niix-1226446730754
Callaghan, G. (2012, February 4). Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, 50. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from The Weekend Australian Magazine: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/features/elizabeth-broderick-sex-discrimination-commissioner-50/story-e6frg8h6-1226261701042
Canning, D. G. (2012, July 21). The Commissioner for Discrimination Against Men. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from A Voice for Men: http://www.avoiceformen.com/men/mens-issues/the-commissioner-for-discrimination-against-men/
Coorey, P. (2012, July 30). Holed by carbon tax, good ship Gillard limps towards poll iceberg. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/holed-by-carbon-tax-good-ship-gillard-limps-towards-poll-iceberg-20120729-236hg.html
Keenan, C. (2011, March 4). Let’s talk about sex. Retrieved July 23, 2012, from Sydney Morninig Herald – Executive Style: http://www.smh.com.au/executive-style/executive-women/lets-talk-about-sex-20110302-1beit.html
Taylor, L. (2012, June 23). Clinton and Gillard Bond Over Hairstyles. Retrieved August 9, 2012, from Stuff.co.nz: http://www.stuff.co.nz/world/americas/7158550/Clinton-and-Gillard-bond-over-hairstyles