Tony Abbott Makes Rape Joke; MSM frames it as "sexist gaffe".

by Shaker Napalmnacey

[Trigger warning for minimization of sexual assault.]

So, Tony Abbott is totally going after the women's vote! Check this out!

The Australian: Tony trips at paid parental leave launch with 'no' gaffe.*
On a day that the Coalition was devoting to winning the women's vote, Mr Abbott questioned whether when Julia Gillard says no, she really means it.

Mr Abbott has knocked back the Prime Minister's offer for a debate on the economy, saying she initially refused his request for three debates and had changed her mind because she was now in panic mode.

"Are you suggesting to me that when it comes to Julia, no doesn't mean no?" he said.

Mr Abbott repeated the comment a number of times.
It's just a world, a galaxy, an entire universe of "inappropriate". He's equating an entire party's decision on how to proceed during the election campaign with a tired, misogynistic, down-right dangerous rape culture trope about women's ability to make decisions about their sexual behaviour.

How dare he?! How friggin' dare he? Would he ever, ever stoop to making a joke like that about a male PM? He didn't just make this joke once — it's a part of his campaign repertoire; he said it repeatedly, obviously very pleased with this line and hoping it'll hit the front pages and be used against Julia Gillard.

What really pisses me off about this soundbite is that he also refers to her as Julia, rather than Ms. Gillard or 'the Prime Minister'. In this particular instance, it's stripping her of her authority. It comes off to me as a very targeted, cruel and disrespectful. It's not just making fun of her decision-making. It's an underhanded, sneaky way to strip her of her agency, her professionalism and her personhood. In his mind, there is nothing worse than a woman that "gets herself raped", and he framed our Prime Minister in that narrative because it was the most damaging thing he could think of.

If this doesn't expose the cold-hearted, calculating and dangerous man he is, I don't know what will. Keep talking like this Tony Abbott, keep showing us your true colours.

It'll help with the women's vote, totally. /sarcasm.


The Sydney Morning Herald has a slightly more critical article here, accompanied by a poll asking: "Do you think Tony Abbott's comments were inappropriate?" Currently, 55% of respondents have answered "No."

And Prime Minister Julia Gilliard responds here: "Mr Abbott's words are a matter for Mr Abbott."

[Cross-posted at Hoyden About Town.]


* [As an aside, the link to that article in The Australian's search returns appears to be broken. Right now, the link returns the user to the front page of The Australian, where the top headline is "Nothing sexual in 'no' comment: Abbott" (yeah, sure) which links to this story, headlined "Tony Abbott accuses Labor of 'vicious smear' over Gillard 'no' comment reaction." Ugh.—Liss]

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