Women take a huge personal risk naming sexism when it is used against them. Even, Prime Ministers. The allegation of sexism may stick to those doing it but the act of making an accusation causes significant damage to the victim. Sexism can be a finely tuned instrument of bullying.
Here’s an interesting piece from the wonderful Anne Summers on the conspiracy of silence that has surrounded a particularly sustained misogynistic attack on the Prime Minister – the Larry Pickering cartoons – and how it was Prime Minister Gillard, herself, who finally took a risk and spoke publicly about the vile campaign against her.
In her press conference on Thursday, August 23, the Prime Minister identified cartoonist Larry Pickering as someone who publishes ”a vile and sexist website”. She added that ”for many, many months now I have been the subject of a very sexist smear campaign from people for whom I have no respect”.
For many months, Pickering has regularly bombarded not just Gillard but every member of Parliament with emails containing hate-filled commentary about the Prime Minister. Often these commentaries have been accompanied by cartoons, many of which depict Gillard naked and wearing a huge strap-on dildo…
.. Is it because the images are so vile that there was an implicit agreement between parliamentarians and the press simply to pretend they did not exist? Was everyone too embarrassed?