Monday, 25 June 2012

Women in Politics, Foreign Aid, and Twitter Lunatics.

A week ago I sat in a crowded venue waiting for my stepdaughter's school performance to begin. I was sitting with a bunch of school parents who were all drinking red wine. If I drank red wine it would lead to a six-day bender so I had diet coke instead. I went on twitter to write a stupid tweet like, "I have bad PMS. Can I stab all of the people?"

I noticed that Prime Minister Julia Gillard had tweeted me, to thank me for coming to her morning tea. So I didn't tweet about stabbing people because I didn't want her to think I was an unhinged lunatic. New, vicious tweets soon appeared in my stream. CC'ing both the PM and me. From ..... actual unhinged lunatics. Helpful and considered things like,

"Why don't you go and get f*cked you c*nt."

I was and still am, appalled. I'm sure the PM is pretty tough and can cop it, and it takes a hell of a lot more than that to offend me. But, this is the online world that we're living in now? You just start a twitter account and spill forth the worst bile you can think of, with no thought or even any meaning behind it?

The thing that bugs me the most is that most of these tweets are sexual in nature, because Julia Gillard is a woman. So everything gets reduced to her physical attributes and what she should do with them. I often forget that sexism is so entrenched in our culture that a lot of us - men and women both - just kind of live with it.

Last week the PM announced Australia's further funding to the Global Agriculture and Food Security Program, specifically targeting regular food supply to the world's poor with things like agricultural productivity and improving nutrition. In short, Australia will be doing our bit to help world poverty, especially in the Pacific, Asia, and Africa. I love this news.

A few months ago I sat in some village in a dustbowl of Niger, and watched a woman called Ramata tend to her garden. It was boring to me. I was hot and tired. When people use jargon I fade out pretty quickly - it reminds me of school. But I did learn the impact of World Vision introducing new seeds to gardens over in Niger, how the new plants thrived and were accepted by the villagers. Sustaining them.

That's Ramata, proudly watering her garden. She is wearing her best clothes. She loves her cabbages. Her hard work helps feed many people in her village.

Aid programs work. Sometimes it's as simple as that.


The tweet stream of abuse continues. I guess it's part and parcel for anybody in the public eye, to be scorned and criticised with such intent? When the PM says anything about anything, people are outraged that she's not doing something about *their* particular cause.

"Why don't you help Assange, you f*cking mole."

"You killed the asylum seekers MURDERING B*TCH!!!"

Those are just the nice ones. I notice nobody is tweeting about the size of any male politicians dicks, or what they should do with said dicks.

I'm impressed at how the PM cops this level of abuse. But then again, I probably could too. So could a lot of my friends.

Women are pretty tough like that.

(Thank you for the comments on my last post. My mum read them all and cried. Thanks to people who shared their stories .. so nice to know we are not alone, that there is hope. Still no diagnosis yet. It's hard.)


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Write to be understood, speak to be heard. - Lawrence Powell

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