We’ve heard a lot about reckonings in recent times, especially of the political kind, here in Australia. Our media and other notable if not exactly worthy opinion-makers, would have us believe that Scott Morrison and his increasingly fragile government, is in the middle of a reckoning. Female politicians of various persuasions and female journalists from various publications are rightly posting scathing commentaries on the poor performance of a Prime Minister who still fails to fully understand the scale of female anger. And women have a lot to rage about right now. They have marched and heard stories and believed their sisters who were abused by politicians in particular and men in general. They watched a so-called ‘safe’ female journo who hosts a current affairs program on TV, ask the Prime Minister if he really expected Australian women to believe that he’d only woken up to the scale of the problem after it was pointed out to him a few weeks ago.
And the latest female journalist to roast the Prime Minister is Annabel Crabb with her analysis of the decline of decency in Australian federal politics and a floundering Prime Minister. Crabb dwells briefly on the young women who have become a recognisable force, including Malala Yousafzai and Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez, signalling the global nature of the problem of violence against women. In the same article Crabb also makes this statement, “And Scott Morrison — a man against whom one could never imagine an allegation of sexual misconduct being levelled — could rightly feel aggrieved that other men’s chickens are coming to roost on him.” Why, I wondered, is Ms Crabb so confident that “one could never imagine an allegation of sexual misconduct” against the Prime Minister? Is it because he is above the law? Because he is an evangelical Christian? Because he cried and said he loved his widowed mother? Or because Crabb was invited to his house where he impressed her with his compassionate and devout Christian values? Are we really expected to ignore how she fawned and simpered over Morrison then, and how delighted she appeared with his samosa making abilities while being oblivious to the fact that the man in front of her had condemned thousands of asylum seekers to indefinite detention? To be clear, I’m not suggesting that Morrison is another Christian Porter or Andrew Laming. I’m just a little disbelieving that someone like Crabb who thus far has been willing to play politics for her own gain, has suddenly acquired a conscience that allows her to be moderately critical of a Prime Minister she still doesn’t see as hugely problematic.
Also missing, in this debate of masculine, toxic-to-women cultures is any acknowledgement that when we speak about women, we speak exclusively of white women. From lamenting the loss of Julie Bishop to ‘big swinging dicks‘ to sparing a thought for fall-girl Linda Reynolds to wondering what it will take for Marise Payne to stand up and be counted as a woman instead of a loyal Liberal, entirely missing are the voices of women of colour. Isn’t it a little strange that the opinions of brown/blak/Asian women are not applauded as regularly? Actually, where are the opinion columns by and about enraged women of colour? Where are the voices and opinions of women who are not white? Where are the brown women, blak women, trans women? Do we not suffer the same consequences as Grace Tame and Brittany Higgins even though we don’t look like them? Do our years of struggle, decades of therapy, avalanches of shame, ugly tears and unresolved griefs not matter? Do brown women heed the cautionary tale provided by our white sisters? You bet we do. Forgive me if I don’t join your righteous protests and marches in solidarity. I’m a little busy at the moment. I am consumed by the stories white women don’t hear.