And it is not merely because of the gender, which itself is a huge positive development. Gillard, unlike politicians all over the developed world who strut around with their spouses and children, and talk about family values, is, well, not married. Has never been married. She has, as it once used to be said, shacked up. And with one who is a hairdresser. She has no children. What a contrast from all the politicians we are used to, particularly here in the US. A wonderfully fresh take on political life.It is a shame that people have to fit a certain profile in order to be political leaders here in the US. By and large, a conservative country this is!
And the ultimate clincher: Gillard has openly said that she does not believe in god. Hey, GOP, when do you think you might evolve enough to have such person among your leadership? For that matter, hey Dems, how about you?
Recently, in a couple of different instances, Gillard once again demonstrated that she has quite some cojones. It was awesome how she dealt with the leader of the opposition:
Gillard – Australia's first female leader – accused Abbott, head of the centre-right Liberal party, of repeated instances of sexism and misogyny, including his description of abortion as "the easy way out", his apparent characterisation of Australian women as housewives doing the ironing, and appearances at political rallies in front of posters urging voters to "ditch the witch".Talk about, pardon the expression, bitch slap! You go, girl!
She told MPs: "The leader of the opposition says that people who hold sexist views and who are misogynists are not appropriate for high office. Well, I hope the leader of the opposition has got a piece of paper and he's writing out his resignation because if he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn't need a motion in the House of Representatives; he needs a mirror."
Abbott had sparked the Labor prime minister's fury by calling for the speaker of parliament, Peter Slipper, to be sacked over a series of sexist and vulgar texts he had sent to a former member of staff. Slipper has since resigned as speaker.
Seized with indignation and pointing her finger across the despatch box, she retorted: "I will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. And the government will not be lectured about sexism and misogyny by this man. Not now, not ever."
Soon after that, she made the news, yet again because of the gender issue. An issue that won't bother male politicians--unless it was President Gerald Ford, who couldn't manage level ground even with flat shoes on. Gillard fell flat on her face at the Mahatma Gandhi memorial in New Delhi.
Gillard so casually brushed that off; good for her.
Male political leaders, for the most part, do not have to worry about high heels. Or even having to spend time to get themselves ready for work.
"He had very self-consciously sought to eliminate all trivial decision-making from his life, such as what he wears to work," Lewis tells NPR's Renee Montagne about his interviews with the president for his piece in the October issue of Vanity Fair. "So, he says, 'I got rid of all the clothes I have except for gray suits and blue suits, so I don't even have to think about what I put on.'"Hillary Clinton was routinely made fun of for her pantsuits, but it is totally ok for Barack Obama to wear nothing but grey and blue suits.
Why? The president "started talking about research that showed the mere act of making a decision, however trivial it was, degraded your ability to make a subsequent decision," Lewis says. "A lot of ... the trivial decisions in life — what he wears, what he eats — [are] essentially made for him."
I recall Hillary Clinton remarking--during the primaries--that Obama could allocate time for a workout because he didn't have to set aside time to get ready: no hair-dressing, no makeup, means that he has that much more time at his disposal compared to Clinton.
When Clinton went without her face all made-up, the photos and the jokes went viral, which says a lot about the atrociously different treatment we give men and women:
The caption read “Hillary Au Naturale,” and the photo showed the Secretary of state without makeup except lipstick, wearing black-framed glasses. Her hair fell in natural, unspectacular waves. Clinton was speaking at a news conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh during a trip to promote democracy and development. The event followed a complicated and highly dramatic trip to China.Joe Biden with an eyeliner and lipstick? Now you talking :)
Of course, if this was a male politician, few — if any — would focus on whether he had primped before his public appearance this deep into an overseas trip. It would only become a headline if Joe Biden suddenly started wearing eyeliner and lipstick.
But we aren’t accustomed to seeing female politicians and politicos without camera-ready makeup and, God forbid, showing wrinkles.
Speaking of eyeliner and lipstick, remember this?