Gillard, Thatcher and the politics of being a woman

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Gillard, Thatcher and the politics of being a woman

The denigration of the first female Australian prime minister on the basis of her gender echoes that endured by the first female prime minister of Great Britain.

While Julia Gillard has suffered the juvenile attacks of men from the political right, Margaret Thatcher endured them from men and women on the political and academic left. Thatcher was ultimately toppled by men, exclusively, to the left of her. The point of origin of the attack on the spectrum was different in each case, but common to both was the use of gender to denigrate and delegitimize.

Left-wing journalist Polly Toynbee asked infamously: “is Margaret Thatcher a woman?” Right-wing DJs interrogate the sexuality of Julia Gillard’s partner and some (big-L) Liberals mock her body shape. The association of gender and sexual orientation with under-performance or absurdity is strikingly similar in both cases. 

We invite our users to read the complete article published June 17 2013