I was showing someone my blog yesterday and was mortified to realise I don’t post much any more, other than links to my columns and posts that are published elsewhere. This has made my blog a pretty boring place to visit.
Today I’ve decided to rectify this with at least a semi-regular commentary on my week (or so) in politics including published pieces and observations of the discussions that followed, particularly on Twitter.
Regular readers will know I’m a work-in-progress when it comes to the question of feminism.
When I first joined Twitter almost six years ago, I held a lot of conservative knee-jerk attitudes that have changed over time as I’ve explored my inner progressive.
Long-time readers will know I’ve moved to the centre of the political spectrum on many issues as a consequence.
But I’ve struggled with the F-word, and until recently not really understood why. The recent social media furore over Foreign Minister Julie Bishop refusing to call herself a feminist gave me a reason to explore the issue and write a personally exploratory post, which was republished at Women’s Agenda.
Then an interview with Bishop in a fashion magazine reignited the debate, giving me the opportunity (with my generous editor’s agreement) to devote my weekly Drum column to explaining why rightwing women will never call themselves feminists.
I copped a lot of flak for these pieces, perhaps best encapsulated by this comment on Helen Razer’s blog post about Antony Loewenstein’s man-splaining piece in Guardian Australia:
Paula Matthewson’s on why women on the right will never identify as feminists was worse. It went: ‘I know dick about feminism, but I’m going to write about it anyway, and by the way I was raised in the Working Class® but the right suits my aspirations better.”
And now I’m ashamed to admit I read it and toyed with idea of commenting.
There were however some thoughtful blog posts in response, like this and this. I also received a number of responses on social media from progressive women who found the pieces to be useful guides to understanding why rightwing women have difficulty with the label and the concept.
And I learned from a number of feminists who were patient enough to discuss the issue with me on Twitter that efforts have already been made to engage rightwing women, but this has been met with considerable resistance.
So, as I say, I’m a work-in-progress.
What to do about Lambie?
A rough count reveals I’ve written more than a dozen articles about Clive Palmer and the PUP this year. The political writer in me is grateful for the variety Palmer has brought to our parliamentary proceedings, but my inner citizen is appalled.
Like most political observers I’ve kept a particularly keen eye on Jacqui Lambie, and I’ve remained confident that her time in the PUP is limited.
I wrote this week about the fascinating tussle between Lambie and Clive over who will retain the coveted “victim” status once the two have parted ways. At this point I can only see Lambie as the winner – regardless of whether she jumps or is pushed.
I am however disgusted at Palmer gaslighting Lambie with unsubtle hints about her mental health, and hope to have a chance to write about this in coming days.
No I didn’t forget our esteemed leaders this week. While much of Twitter loved my Drum column on Abbott looking weak and cowardly at the G20, it was less welcoming of my Hoopla column suggesting Labor voters were being too tough on Shorten.
In response to the common refrain “we just wanna know what Shorten stands for”, I suggested:
…it’s a big ask to expect Shorten to have delivered any similar sense of a reformist agenda within his first 12 months as opposition leader. Considering voters’ notoriously short attention spans and general disregard for politics, Shorten is right to hold off on detailing what his alternative government would do until much closer to the next election.
I get the sense the Left will never be happy with Shorten, not while their man Albo palely loiters nearby.