cupidsbow (cupidsbow) wrote,

Gillard and social change

You know what the current political debate sparked by Julia Gillard's speech reminds me of? Racefail.

So many of the same elements are appearing in the media coverage and online debate. (As an aside, if you want to see the elements of this process clearly and articulately outlined, there's a lot of intersection with Russ' How to Suppress Women's Writing which I've commented on before.)

The sides are generally falling out along party lines, of course, but also as a fight between old and new media, with old media looking more irrelevant with every day.

The derailing in the reportage and commentary is following the patterns that became so familiar in racefail (both the original fandom version, and then the pro-SF version). In particular: blatant denial, apologist arguments for sexist behaviour, raising all sorts straw people to divert attention to side issues, ad hominem attacks, and of course accusations of hypocrisy and stupidity in both new-style and old-style media coverage.

This actually has me excited. Racefail was hard, and it hurt, but it was really influential and has had a huge impact in terms of raising social awareness and changing behaviour. It's amazing to see this kind of debate happening in a more mainstream context. It will be really, really interesting to see how much muscle social media actually has when it comes to influencing and changing the established old media narrative about Gillard.

Old media are fighting really hard both to be taken seriously and to justify their continued endorsement of the sexist narrative about Gillard's leadership; you can hear how much they hate having to justify themselves in the face of the blogosphere's critique. Those whippersnappers; ruining everything by not just swallowing everything down.

What I'm hoping for is that as a result of the process of being forced into self-reflection, the cracks start to show and the narrative shifts.

I honestly don't think we'll see an impact as profound as the after-effects of racefail as an outcome of this current debate about misogyny, but I do think the door has been opened so that we will have that debate in the public arena fairly soon.

This entry was originally posted at
Tags: feminism, politics
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