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It’s Hard for a Man to Walk in our Shoes

04 June, 2014

The first thing I want to be clear about – this is not a political blog.

It’s 11.06 pm and I have just got out of the shower. And I have to be honest I shed a few metaphorical tears in there tonight. That followed a few hours of indignant harrumphing (I’m sure you girls will know what that means) and long, prolonged sighing.

Tonight Bob and I went to The Avid Reader Bookshop and listened to the amazing, articulate and extremely intelligent Tara Moss at her book launch of The Fictional Woman.  She was being interviewed by Paul Barclay from Radio National and the interview will be broadcast in a few weeks if you would like to tune in. The book is her first foray into non- fiction writing and in it she shares some extremely personal experiences of her own – some which will be very confronting for the reader- sexual assault, miscarriage and others. Tara ‘weaves her own experiences into a broader look at everyday sexism and issues of the under-representation of women, modern motherhood, body image and the portrayal of women in politics, entertainment, advertising and the media’.

I understand that the few males who may follow my blog have now hit delete and erased this email notification from their in-box……..all that girlie stuff and all.

I have not read the book yet, but everything Tara said tonight resonated strongly with me.

Tonight Tara spoke of the emotional difficulties associated with miscarriage and the silence that surrounds the emotional loss and grief experienced by women and their spouses when they suffer a miscarriage. It is weird isn’t it. We’re not allowed to speak of a pregnancy until a magical 12 week mark in case something happens. And yet if something happens, the woman ( and her partner) have to grieve silently, because they haven’t told anyone they were actually pregnant.

That silence bit is all too common in quite a lot of Women’s Health issues- urinary incontinence, prolapse, faecal incontinence, sexual dysfunction, pelvic pain- all the issues that I bleat on about all the time. I have to confess I did manage to get the word #pelvicmafia into a question I asked of Tara and I did manage to give her a #pelvicmafia wristband as she signed my copy of her book although she must be wondering what the?

But when Tara was discussing the visible over-representation of women in advertising compared with the under-representation in positions of power and politics, and was defining feminism, I sort of got annoyed again about one of the most incongruous things that is going on in Australia at the moment.

We, in Australia, in 2014, have a male – our Prime Minister- (one who has been accused of having the odd misogynistic streak), as the Minister for Women. It’s difficult to understand this situation and I will repeat- this is not a political statement. It is a feminist statement.

Our Prime Minister cannot begin to understand women’s issues. From as basic as period pain, PMS, urinary incontinence, vaginal flatus, ‘walking while female’- how can you understand what that means….the fear of what might happen whenever a woman chooses to walk by herself at night. The glass ceiling, pay differences based on gender, sexist jokes and innuendo, sexual harassment. The list goes on.

I firmly believe that this is when sexual discrimination based on gender does matter. A woman is simply better suited to this job and I think the women – and the men for that matter- of Australia would agree.

And the metaphorical tears were ones of frustration, a few for all the lost babies who miscarried, for those women who have suffered sexual assault (as high as 40% apparently !!!), for the children who are innocent in the asylum seeker debate continue to be locked up in detention and for the state of a nation that is so under represented by women in the corridors of power that it allows a man to be the Minister for Women.

man dressing as a woman

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