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The Huntress vs. The Headline: “Latham Savages ‘Wooden, Childless’ Gillard

April 4, 2011

A new week begins and with it comes some intiguing new headlines from Australian online news providors. Perthnow readers are scandalised by “Hugh Hefner Skips Pre-Nup”, presents “The Man Behind The Double-Down Burger” and AdelaideNow readers are curious to know more about the “Vampire Cannibal Jailed For Life”.

Ok, I admit, the last one is kind of interesting, but I’ve already done cannibals in the short life of my blog.

Today’s headline has left me feeling exasperated and I’m choosing to feature it not because it is an excellent headline (which is my first requirement when searching for an article), but because I can’t help but feel frustrated for Julia Gillard in this particular case. Mark Latham told talkbalk radio this morning that Gillard had been ‘wooden’ in her response to the Queensland floods, as she lacks empathy for others due to her decision of not having children. Latham also believes that people who choose not to have children have a lesser capacity to empathise and less ‘love’ in their lives.

Its been nearly 50 years since the introduction of the contraceptive pill which has been a major influencing factor in social progression and equality in the workplace. Women have had control over their fertility since the early 1960’s which has allowed them to make life choices and achieve whatever goals they found meaningful. We now have a higher than ever participation of women in the workforce, but the attitudes of people like Latham are making it difficult for women to achieve their best. For women who choose to pursue their careers they should have the ability to do so without question – why would anyone lack empathy for not having children? Empathy is the ability to put one’s self in anothers shoes and recognise how they must feel, rather than sympathy which is a feeling of being in harmony with and closely understanding anothers feelings. I am wondering if Latham actually means that Gillard is unable to be sympathetic – something else which Gillard has been accused of because of her decision not to have children.

But really, what is it that women are supposed to do? We’re damned if we do, we’re damned if we don’t. If Gillard was a male Prime Minister would the same comments be made? Or would it be put down to a simple social awkwardness that could be corrected with more training? What is wrong with choosing to have a career over children? I know for a fact with having a career you get to wear clean clothes every day, you get thanked occasionally AND you even get paid! What’s not to like? And believe me playing with the big boys in the office is no where near as scary or intimidating as the savage playground mums. I would also like to hazard a guess that while Latham was pursuing his career and top moment of being the opposition leader he probably didn’t spend all night cleaning up after a child with gastro and having to call a sick day because his kids were sick. He probably didn’t have to make a poor excuse for being late to work as someone else would have been there to watch his child perform at assembly. He more than likely didn’t have to sew/bake/fundraise and all the other extracurricular parental activities that come with having a child. It’s not hard to see why Gillard made her choice and if that was my goal in life I wouldn’t have had children either. Latham, you need to BACK OFF and let women and their partners make the choices that they feel are right for them.

I just think that Gillard has left Latham feeling emasculated.


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One Comment
  1. Chris permalink

    One of my favourite games of late, is to look at the headlines online, and try to guess which one will stir you enough to write about.
    I’m actually getting pretty good at it!!

    What bothers me about about this latest Latham dribble, and indeed about a lot of anti Julia stuff, is that so much of it based not her a Prime Minister, but based on her as a woman. I think people need to realise that she is still just another crap, self serving, fickle minded jerk, regardless of her sex.

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