More Abbott on women: equality is “folly” ‘cos biology.

11 Aug

It would be folly to expect that women would ever approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, their abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.  Tony Abbott

As recently as 2010, Tony Abbott was given the opportunity to elaborate on the above statement and to withdraw it, if it no longer represents his views on women. He did neither, so I can only conclude he continues to hold these biologistic views about women’s potential.

I wonder if Abbott extends his beliefs on biological determinism and inequality to any group other than women?  It seems unlikely that someone holding to that ideology would only apply its doctrines to sexual difference.

What are these “large number of areas” in which women can never have equal representation, cos vagina? The only one I can think of is being a sexist dick.

Abbott reveals in this statement his belief that difference is a barrier to equality. Women can never be equal to him because we are biologically different from him. Only those who are biologically the same as him are his equals. Ergo, all others are in some way lesser beings.

Does he apply this theory to skin colour as well as genitals?

The prospect of a leader of this country who holds views that are the basis for the theory of eugenics, ought to give us all pause for thought.

Not only are women lesser beings and therefore un-entitled to desire equality, it is , according to Abbot, folly to believe that we can ever be otherwise. Foolishness. Silliness. Nonsense. Madness, even, to think that women, hampered by our biology, potential destroyed by our vaginas, can aspire to even approach equal representation in large, but unspecified numbers of areas. Areas like medicine? The law? Politics? Academia? The finance sector?

In which areas of life does having a vagina determine your ability or otherwise to think?

I don’t think Abbott is unequal to me because he’s got a penis. He’s unequal to me because he thinks owning a penis makes him superior, and that makes him a fool.

50 Responses to “More Abbott on women: equality is “folly” ‘cos biology.”

  1. zerograv1 August 11, 2012 at 9:39 am #

    Sorry to upset your soapbox but I doubt you will find too many men willing to have a womb implanted just so equality to be achieved. I prefer the notion of complimentary differences, viva la difference! This isnt to repudiate the need for women to be fairly treated and rewarded in pay rates, life choices and promotional opportunities, but it was this kind of debate by 80’s feminists that caused even Germaine Greer to recant and State “fighting for equality was always bullshit”, denying your sexuality as so many seem to think they need to do in order to “get equal” seems to provide more losses than gains it seems to me. Science and biology is on Abbott’s side on this one, sorry Jen. If you truly want equality perhaps your next campaign should be to argue for lowering male retirement ages???


    • helvityni August 11, 2012 at 9:52 am #

      …and you zerograv, could always start your own Complimentary Difference Campaign…why leave all the campaigning to Jennifer…


      • zerograv1 August 11, 2012 at 10:02 am #

        Its not my issue, its hers?


        • zerograv1 August 11, 2012 at 10:03 am #

          I dont think of complimentary differences as an issue per se, its not even worth campaigning on, its more of a cultural lifestyle….I cant see any reason to politicise it since its a private lifestyle choice best left out of the debating halls


    • Jennifer Wilson August 11, 2012 at 10:06 am #

      Ummm, I think you’ve missed my point. Difference does not imply lesser. Except to Abbott and those like him. They attribute a “natural” and “inherent” value to biological difference, weighted in favour of the male, that simply does not exist.


      • zerograv1 August 11, 2012 at 10:13 am #

        No I get that, both sexes have strengths and weaknesses, I wouldnt have like to have been breastfed by my dad for instance, I have no opinion on whether Abbotts mob are weighted in favour of the male, they dont interest me enough to even find out. I believe there truly needs to be large scale reform right across the board to remove legal inequalities and they exist for both sexes. Its just wrong and pretty negligent of politicians to leave them cooking on the stove unresolved all this time.


      • paul walter August 11, 2012 at 10:23 pm #

        I get your point, Jen.
        It’s Abbott’s attitude that is the problem.
        He actually believes essentialist claptrap that reasonable people might share a joke over at a barbecue.He personifies the type of men who haven’t been able to adapt to change.
        This stuff is part of the great reactive fundamentalist religious push of the last decade or so that reacts to the triumph of rationality,democracy, science and reason and rejoices in complexity, developing particularly post WW2. The term to describe the push is “reactionary modernism”, which just means that many can’t adjust to changing times or cope with new ideas and the refutation of old shibboleths upon which former certainties and lives were built.
        Technology has changed the way we live, also. It has brought about a second major change in the Sexual Division of Labour, succeeding the mode that emerged during Industrialisation from the late eighteenth century on through to WW2.
        As mass literacy and family planning have liberated women from high birthrates and the consequent shackles of home and hearth,
        women have been able to find out what life on the other side of the former gender divide is like, so they do higher education, travel, pursue careers and investigate sex, free of the fear of pregnancy.
        But blokes of Abbott’s generation were bought up the old way: to be breadwinners and protectors.
        These days the roles seem obsolete, particularly now that women are able to walk away from relationships that are too ” controlly”. Men have no real purpose left and no way to earn respect and affection from women anymore, so they are resentful.
        But resentment isn’t coping. A smart bloke would realise his own freedom is also secured through the changes of the last sixty years and move on to something newer and better than a frustrated wife, six screaming kids and a dead end, low paid foundry job.
        But change can be hard work when you’ve been conditioned to think and feel a certain way.
        And, as ever the malcontents and politicians are there to exploit the discomfort of the process, by telling men they have been dudded by progressives, rather than encouraging them to adjust and look for some thing positive to take out of change for themselves, also.


        • Jennifer Wilson August 12, 2012 at 7:00 am #

          So threatened are the Abbott camp by NPFS’s unrelenting attacks on their leader’s chauvinism that his loyal deputy was provoked into releasing this ludicrous statement yesterday. Titled: “Julie Bishop spruiks Abbott’s feminine side”

          My work here is almost, but not yet quite, done.


        • zerograv1 August 12, 2012 at 8:28 am #

          “rather than encouraging them to adjust and look for some thing positive to take out of change for themselves, also.” And therein lies precisely the reason these guys wont chage, no one yet has quantified or offered a better alternative to their current values and lifestyle that they can see themselves realistically doing. It hasnt been helped with all the propoganda about men now being considered a disposable sex. So it just encourages them to cling to what they have now. Its a bit like inviting them to an exciting bungy jump but refusing to give them a rope.


          • helvityni August 12, 2012 at 9:02 am #

            …they have plenty of rope…. they are the prefects of their expensive schools, they know it all, they are always right, you are not a man if you are willing to admit that you are wrong, they have power but no understanding…they are the Reiths, the Abbotts, the Pynes….it’s below them to take the rope, to change…nothing to do with propaganda, it’s their background, their education… Abbott’s bullying behaviour seems to work for him in this country…people use behaviours that work for them..


            • zerograv1 August 12, 2012 at 9:29 am #

              I think you misunderstood what I was trying to say. You did a great job outlining the “rope” they have now, but I was referring to the post-change positive options these types of guys have available should they move away from priviledge.


              • helvityni August 12, 2012 at 10:01 am #

                I didn’t misunderstand your post, I just don’t think they’ll ever need post-change rope as most of them are incapable of change…
                They don’t admit a need for rope for themsrlves they rather hang others.
                Anyhow,what’s wrong with rope available to other men, a good but not a top job, a happy marriage, relationship, an amicable divorce, intimacy and friendships with both sexes,less emphasis on material, more on spiritual (not churchy), cultural…
                What about being an all-round person with empathy for others, also there’s nothing wrong with being vulnerable…


        • helvityni August 12, 2012 at 8:50 am #

          Well said Paul…these kind of men still call their women ‘whores’, when wives or girlfriends decide to leave them. They don’t understand that women walk away from big houses and empty lives. Their sons educated in private religious schools become very mixed up creatures, hovering between the parents values…
          I have met many a man like Abbott….I shiver… all been from the Coalition side


    • hudsongodfrey August 11, 2012 at 11:30 am #

      Regardless of where Jennifer or any other commentator places their emphasis on interpreting Tony Abbott’s comments here the words do speak for themselves. It is “equal representation” denied for spurious “physiological reasons”.

      What he fails to see that the reason for wanting equal representation between the genders inherently acknowledges their differences. Saying in fact that women have something different to contribute to social and political conversations. Something that pertains to the way that they see the world slightly differently because of their gender. But also something that is equally valid and needed to balance those conversations.

      This is just Abbott being Abbott. Sexist and solipsistic at the same time.

      Abbott’s solipsism is rooted in the notion that politics consists of the kind of conversation that requires “aptitudes” that are somehow specifically male, and somehow “physiologically” absent in women. It seems apparent that he can’t foresee a time when politics might be come to reflect a better balance of priorities. One that men are less interested in than women, or that they take an equal interest in from different perspectives. What he’s effectively saying is that politics in his view ought to be homogenised to a somewhat masculine set of ideals. He completely fails to see how in a representative system of government it is simply inadequate to exclude representing female perspectives because they are different.

      Abbott’s sexism is clear in the spuriousness of the claim that these “aptitudes” are somehow specifically male and due to “physiological” reasons. It isn’t any kind of explanation. It doesn’t make sense. And there’s only one conclusion that anyone would draw from it. This is a sexist statement if ever there was one, the likes of with which women should not have to put up with.


  2. helvityni August 11, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    Abbott is but ONE fool. Why are there so MANY fools in Oz who think he’s fit to be PM?That really is the baffling question for me.


    • zerograv1 August 11, 2012 at 9:49 am #

      Yeah I agree there, he isnt fit to be PM at all, I just wish we had a better choice of candidates or a new player emerge.


    • hudsongodfrey August 11, 2012 at 1:16 pm #

      More baffling to me on more levels than meet the eye I think. There’s the question of whether who we can trust that does distil itself into these kinds of leadership comparisons. But then there’s also the question of why policy and representative government are almost non-starters in the debate even for the egalitarian left?


  3. annodyne August 11, 2012 at 10:55 am #

    Agree with you of course JW, and was composing response along line of ‘wish I could watch the supreme mind of supreme acheiver Dr Helen Caldicott discuss this with MrAbbott if only she would be bothered to sink so intellectually low’, until
    I saw the first commenter. Then the question Why? leapt at my brain: why do blog Snipers never ever have blogs of their own so we can stalk them home and snipe at their posts?
    Do they have ‘Google Alerts’ programmed to bring them the scent of any post containing ‘vagina’?

    In querying defence of Australia’s Own Vatican City Consul, I submit that his Chief Of Staff
    (Peta*Credlin) is a very clever capable and good looking woman who would definitely have declined his offer to read his copy of 50ShadesOfTabloid.


  4. hudsongodfrey August 11, 2012 at 1:07 pm #

    Apart from the obvious nature of the statement that Jennifer rightly interrogates there’s also pause to be taken from the political message behind this. One can probably assume that few such statements are wholly uncalculated in terms of their political appeal. So it makes you wonder who he’s speaking to, does it not?

    Abbott has been very clever in my view at making faux pas* which he later qualifies in a way that allows people who prefer to believe one version or the other to take their pick of his possible meanings.

    I don’t think these statements are directed towards men because most of us either don’t care enough about the issue or when vaguely aware of it probably react even more negatively to his sexism out of political correctness. Not that I’m saying that it wouldn’t appeal to some men but rather than in terms of whose mind or craw it would stick in then I really think it might be about how he’s perceived by conservative women.

    I think that the fact may be that there are women out there who, much as we’d wish they wouldn’t, still find feminism confusing and confronting in terms of the apparent quest to have it all or in terms of the social and often religious views.

    When you get women like MTR conflating their views with feminism, which by and large tends to turn around and say “hey wait a minute, she’s not with us”, then you have a situation where some women are now starting to identify as “sex positive feminists”. They feel that they need to add that qualification because there are multi faceted views within the broad church of feminism that for want of a better word are antithetical to any kind of agenda that they could support.

    And if feminism is that fragmented, and we can add to that those women who don’t identify as feminist, then what we have is a picture of the female vote that quite possibly makes room for the mad monk to make just these kinds of disingenuous statements.

    We may need to ask ourselves whether a post feminist world is becoming less liberated and less gender-egalitarian. Because sadly I see signs that it might, and worse still Abbott is one big stop sign that says “warning you are entering a maze of twisted passages all the same” leading inexorably towards regression.

    (*anyone who knows whether this is the correct plural in English wins a prize)


    • zerograv1 August 11, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      This is far and away the best post I have ever read from you hudsongodfrey….no like button on this blog so take it as a high five, compliment or whatever badge of approval you prefer.


      • hudsongodfrey August 11, 2012 at 1:20 pm #

        Thanks, but credit where it is due, the response relies on the questions that were asked in the first place. And these questions have cumulatively been asked by Jennifer and others over a period of time.


    • doug quixote August 11, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

      I’ll take issue with you : he is not disingenuous, but ingenuous.

      He can’t help himself. It is part of being a religious social conservative, one who actually believes just about all the batshit crazy stuff the religious social conservatives believe.


      • paul walter August 11, 2012 at 11:38 pm #

        To me, he more or less reflexively shuts out things he doesn’t want to know about. He can’t be doing himself any good in the long run by doing this, one day he will go off half cocked, try to cross a road against a red light he finds inconvenient and …well, squash!


      • hudsongodfrey August 11, 2012 at 11:44 pm #

        Well you can take issue if you like, but on the one hand I don’t think we disagree that Abbott is bug nutty, and on the other I think you’ve taken my statements out of the context I tried to establish earlier on.

        The disingenuousness I referred to was all about Abbott’s tendency to make faux pas, which he often qualifies later on leaving many of his supporters to believe whatever suits them. You’ll notice for the most part that when he’s challenged on this stuff he generally backs away and doesn’t defend it particularly well or vigorously. I think he’s basically running one up the flagpole for the religious right with a nod and a wink then acquiescing to a more moderate position when pressed.

        My reading of him is that if you want to know what he believes then it is clear that he believes he can be the next Prime Minister of this country and wants it so badly that he’ll say or do just about anything it takes to get there.

        The rest, as they say, is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

        And he’s only lying when his lips are moving. He as much as said so himself.


        • doug quixote August 12, 2012 at 10:19 am #

          No! He’s quite capable of lying without moving a muscle!

          Though I think as you may have guessed, my ‘taking issue’ is with tongue firmly in cheek, HG. 🙂


          • hudsongodfrey August 12, 2012 at 1:10 pm #

            Yes I know it was a tongue in cheek type of comment but sometimes I can’t help getting into the issues when it comes to the nature of what he believes and whether it is truly a religious conviction that prompts his comments or not.

            My personal lived experience informs my disbelief that these people believe their theology in the same way that you believe a bridge you’re about to cross won’t collapse, or in a completely different way that is analogous to having a pathology of psychological delusion. Though I will grant it may take the form of a mental block on parts of reality.

            So my take on this is that guys like Abbott know fully well that like politics, and in politics, having a religious allegiance is about taking sides. I think he’s fully aware how and when he’s playing the faith card and flying the flag for the ACL or whatever other lobby group are supporting his cause to become PM. And I do believe becoming PM is all Tony cares about.


            • doug quixote August 14, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

              Wrong again! All he cares about is who will pay for his mortgage. Becoming PM would be a nice salary increase.


              • hudsongodfrey August 14, 2012 at 10:15 pm #

                I’m pretty sure that Labor and a smattering of Greens supporters would be prepared to pay his mortgage for him if only that would suffice to have him desist.


                • Hypocritophobe August 14, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

                  Barring a miracle (and I lay all my idealism aside) we can safely say Hanrahan was right, (X10)

                  The only possibly of a second scenario, is from Abbott self destructing.
                  A sort of, ‘premature evacuation’.
                  And that’s where Hanrahan’s mate,Buckley, comes into play.


                  • hudsongodfrey August 14, 2012 at 10:54 pm #

                    Does Murphy get a look in?


                    • Hypocritophobe August 14, 2012 at 11:09 pm #

                      One would hope so.
                      Maybe Abbott will be taken by a budgie next time he goes vote slutting in the indigenous communities,up North.


                    • hudsongodfrey August 15, 2012 at 6:07 pm #

                      Stay tuned for the next exciting episode in….

                      Do cane toads eat budgies?


                      My Budge! A Dingo’s got my Budgie!


                    • doug quixote August 15, 2012 at 6:11 am #

                      Taken by a budgie?? Best chance seems to be to have him do a Harold Holt.


                    • hudsongodfrey August 15, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

                      With our luck he’d be swept up by a boat in the Arafura sea and rescued.


  5. 8 Degrees of Latitude August 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    I’m with the vandalising poster-dauber on this one. It almost makes me wish I was car. Abbott’s problem – he is not alone: it’s a generalised one among far too large a proportion of the male component of human society – is that he essentially says something sensible (men and women are different) but clumsily gets it all ballsed up,


  6. Space Kidette August 11, 2012 at 1:43 pm #

    As usual you cut to the chase in a way I could only ever dream about. Keep up the great work!


  7. gerard oosterman August 12, 2012 at 9:49 am #

    How do you know Abbott got a penis instead of a budgie? One budgie doesn’t make a summer.


    • helvityni August 12, 2012 at 10:04 am #

      Who’s interested in what’s down there….maybe other men like you, not many women. .:)


      • gerard oosterman August 12, 2012 at 10:35 am #

        It has its place as you would know.


        • doug quixote August 14, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

          A place for everything and everything in its place, eh? It seems it went into unsuitable places when our Mad Monk was a partly fledged seminarian. He would have made an interesting priest, more inclined toward the adult females than most . . .


    • paul walter August 12, 2012 at 7:45 pm #

      Well, Gerard I can tell you, I don’t give a stuff what the vulgarian has shoved down his boxers.
      It’s just like the cheek of tabloid politics and media to condition the electorate to vote for someone on the basis of what they have in their underwear rather than their hearts or skulls.
      I definitely agree that one prick, no matter how well-publicised, won’t make my summer.


  8. Hypocritophobe August 14, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Equality or preferential treatment for these types of women in Abbott’s team?

    As the old saying goes,”Good riddance to bad rubbish.”
    I bet taxpayers still get slugged for her retirement.


  9. Elisabeth August 15, 2012 at 11:08 pm #

    Sometimes you post these extraordinary events from your personal life and I’m once again blown over by it all. The rawness of your experience alongside your amazing erudition when it comes to broad issues of politics and of life.

    Thank you for letting us know about this struggle. The intimacy and pain of it all rendered more bearable by your beautiful writing.


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  1. Flexing my mussel « No Place For Sheep - October 15, 2012

    […] It would be folly to expect that women would ever approach equal representation in a large number of areas simply because their aptitudes, their abilities and interests are different for physiological reasons.  […]


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