Let’s play a game

It’s called Things That Would Never Happen in American Politics. I usually play it with French politics, like when Ségolène Royale replaced her former common law husband, with whom she had four children, as head of the Socialist party, and ran against Nicolas Sarkozy.

Today, let’s play it with Australian politics. As you might know, last week Julia Gillard became Australia’s first woman Prime Minister when she ousted the leader of the Australian Labour Party, Kevin Rudd. Gillard is not married, but has a de facto partner, and now, it seems that a not-technically married woman will be moving into official residences (there’s The Lodge in Canberra and Kirribilli House in Sydney) and living in sin.

So, that concludes our special Australian edition of Things That Would Never Happen in American Politics. But you know what would happen in American politics?

A poll like the one being held by the Sydney Morning Herald, which asks: “Do you agree that Julia Gillard’s lifestyle is a bad influence for women?”

Emphasis mine. Even though de facto marriages usually involve a man and a woman (and sometimes two men, or two women, according to the 2006 Australian census) the Sydney Morning Herald, bless its pearl-clutching heart, is just concerned about the womenfolk.

And they’re right, of course. Gillard is the most powerful woman in Australia, having worked long and hard to get there, and having found long-term love along the way. She’s young, successful and in a stable relationship with her partner. Clearly, this sets a terrible example for the women of Australia. Who does this woman think she is? Hardworking, good at her job and in love with a supportive non-husband partner? She must be stopped, lest all Australian women start following her horrendous lead.

Want to play another round of this fun game? Check out what Gillard said when asked whether or not she believed in God.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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