Guest post by Jo Nakashima. Submitted to TurnLeft, thank you Jo
If the Right in this country does something stupid, is it a sign of maturity for the Left to descend into even deeper stupidity? Both sides are as a bad each other when it comes to Stunts. The Left like to laugh at “Stuntboy” Abbott and his playing dress ups, but is the Left really any better?
My disillusionment with the Left is all about the supporters, not the policies. I still believe in the policies and goals of the Left, the “fair go” and public community, yet I cannot in all good conscience continue to promote the “activists” and so-called “supporters” of the Left who are really about promoting themselves, than any ideals.
The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections.
Lord Acton, The History of Freedom and Other Essays, Section III: Sir Erskine May’s Democracy in Europe, p. 76.
What we have witnessed in Australia over the past month or so has heightened “democracy” to the truly absurd. We have not become a nation of what is fair, justice, sane, logical – we have become a nation of “whichever idiot shouts the loudest wins”.
We have become a nation that is so wealthy and prosperous that while other nations are have mass demonstrations for health care and public parks, we have reduced participation in democracy to the colour of ties, selfies of our cleavage and paying for Murdoch’s Foxtel in order to “know your enemy” and complain about creeping Murdocracy.
The week before the “convoy of cleavage”, feminists, women, Left wing men, sane thinking Liberals pointed out the misogyny of That Menu, when a Queensland restaurateur put the Prime Minister’s body parts on the menu “Julia Gillard Kentucky Fried Quail – small breasts, huge thighs and a big red ***”.
A few days after the furor of That Menu died down, women were encouraged to send photos of their cleavage to a website in support of the Prime Minister following a comment from WorkChoices activist Grace Collier “I don’t think it’s appropriate for a Prime Minister to be showing her cleavage in Parliament”. It was the Convoy Of Cleavage.
What about my friend who had a double mastectomy, is a photo of her scars a feminist statement of solidarity? What about my friend who had breast cancer but kept her breasts, who regards her breasts as a ticking time bomb? What about my friend who is double-G, who has been sexually harassed, groped and commented on since she was 13, and endures constant back, neck and shoulder pain, a photo of her cleavage is not a symbol of freedom, to her it represents suffering.
I saw the celebrations on social media “our convoy of cleavage made Huffington post, yah” and “our convoy of cleavage made the Daily Mail in the UK, we are world-wide”. The Daily Mail is a tabloid, and most likely the political reasons behind all the cleavage kind of got lost, especially, when there complaints that the Australian medias reaction to the Convoy Of Cleavage was to post a selection of photos on Page 3.
Hey ladies, you want to be a feminist activist? Send a picture of your cleavage to a website, congratulations, you are now an activist and a feminist. Just hope and wish really, really hard that some loser out there isn’t keeping a copy of the photo.
Hey sister, sorry, I can’t sign your petition, attend your fundraiser, paint your placard, or join your street march, I’m too busy taking a photo of my cleavage, but it’s okay, it’s all a feminist statement of support for the Prime Minister. I’m sure the people looking at these pictures, especially on Daily Mail, and Huffington Post websites will understand completely the context in which it is intended.
Should I write a thoroughly researched blog post on sexism and misogyny of Tony Abbott and the Liberal party and why a vote for Tony Abbott’s Liberals is a step back for women in this country? Or should I take a photo of my cleavage?
Should I join a group such as Emily’s List, and raise funds, make phone calls, organise events with famous feminists? Or should I take a photo of my cleavage?
Should I organise a fundraising event for a female candidate who supports pro-choice and women’s rights? Or should I take a photo of my cleavage?
Should I organise an evening in celebration of women’s right to vote, and right to stand for Parliament, complete with speeches and songs and sparkling wine and nibbles and goodie bags? Or should I take a photo of my cleavage?
Should I advocate for harsher parole conditions for men who rape and murder women than the current system that allows rapists and murderers parole enabling them to do it all over again to someone else? Or should I take a photo of my cleavage?
But if I do take a photo of my cleavage, you have to view it from a standpoint of solidarity with the Prime Minister against the slings and arrows of the Right wing who spend countless hours criticising the Prime Minister’s appearance as a substitute for giving Australia their Right wing policies.
If I do take a photo of my cleavage, you cannot view it as sexual or in any way objectify women by reducing them to a body part, you have to view it a feminist statement.
Qu’est-ce que c’est?
Should I take a photo of my booty too? After all, Germaine Greer did say “You’ve got a big arse, Julia, just get on with it”. The booty of consequence?
It seems like only a few months ago, women across Australia were protesting against Channel 7’s Kochie and his statements about nursing mothers should be more “discreet” (January 2013), and breast-feeding mothers were gathered outside the studies for Kochie’s breakfast show in protest.
It would appear my greatest contribution to political discourse and protest in this country involves my breasts.
The Prime Minister was also wearing a black outfit in the photo used to illustrate Colliers’ comment about “cleavage in Parliament”, would wearing black, something men and women could do, have been an acceptable sign of solidarity?
Alex Hawke, Liberal MP NSW tweeted on 18 June “It’s Blue Tie Day, supporting political & intellectual freedom and not judging people by their tie colour #qt“.
Really? Everybody dressing the same is intellectual freedom? Just as well they all intellectually used their freedom of thought to all decided to do exactly the same thing as each. It is stupid, childish and trivial when there are so many other more important things going on the country.
Work makes free
War is peace
Ignorance is strength
Everyone doing exactly what Tony does is intellectual freedom.
If Tony says jump, do Liberal MPs raise their arms and say “hey, I’ll do that, high? this high?”
Every media commentator and churnalist, who then pointed out whenever a Labor party member was wearing a blue tie, brought this issue into the “even more stupid than before” category. They obsessed with tie colours because it is easier to talk about who is wearing what than the policies of the Liberal party (easier because the Liberal party have 3-word slogans, not policies, and it takes a lot of media spin to make it sound plausible).
If Liberal party men wearing blue ties and Liberal party women wearing blue scarfs in reaction to a fleeting mention of “blue ties” in a speech from the Prime Minister is childish, then how is this a serious political statement?
Imagine a 45-year-old Right wing internet troll, living in his mothers’ spare bedroom and spending all his after work hours trawling the web collecting images of women’s cleaving and compiling them into one website named “Breasts Of The Left” – is that not a show of solidarity with the Prime Minister?
This is what Australian politics has become. As the street graffiti once said “Stop The World – I Want To Get Off”.
On the other hand, maybe I can’t string two sentences together. Maybe I am incapable of organising anything, or baking lamingtons for a fundraiser or tweeting links to the right Facebook groups, maybe just maybe my greatest contribution really is a picture of my cleavage.
So, here it is, a picture of my cleavage. For every $25 donation to Emily’s List, I will unveil another piece. If I’m going to show my cleavage to empower the women on the Left, I can’t think of anything more empowering than a financial donation.