Analysis of the Discourse of Disrespect of Women in Politics: Hating Hillary and Getting Gillard

Pamela D Schulz OAM


From June 2010 until June 24th 2013, and at times into 2014 the then Prime Minister of Australia The Honourable Ms Julia Gillard was subjected to the most intense and ruthless political rhetoric ever seen in Australian media. Personal attacks and talk back callers openly admitting they “hated her” and calling into question her mental state and hormonal status was just part of a brutal media campaign aided and abetted by Opposition Leader in Tony Abbott. He linguistically derailed a reforming and intelligent woman who held together a minority parliament which delivered significant legislation. In addition, a selection of media articles and a review of media analysis of the candidacy of Hillary Clinton in preparing a run for the White House in the USA during the years 2015-2016 echoes eerie parallels to a sub textual cultural discourse of misogyny especially in politics. This discourse analysis and media study questions whether the core of the Real Matilda misogyny reported by Miriam Dixson in Australia since 1976 is alive and well and lingers on in our linguistic heritage. The polarisation of political debate and concomitant bias some media quarters is analysed and shown to have a significant pattern beginning with disapproval and ending in directional linguistic commands from media. The end result was that the Politicians listened to the unrelenting chorus of demands to “end leadership speculation “and complete chaos and to go to an election.

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