The cartoon published in Herald Sun on October 24 depicting Victorian Premier Jacinta Allan naked on a catwalk is offensive and yet another example of the ways that sexualisation is used to mock women in leadership.
Emily’s List CEO Pamela Anderson said the cartoon by Mark Knight shows misogyny is still alive and thriving in Australia and more proof that women in public life are treated with contempt.
Ms Anderson said that Knight’s defence that the cartoon was not sexualised imagery but a play on the folktale The Emperor’s New Clothes was a patronising justification.
“Women know exactly what is meant when they see images like the one drawn by Knight. Eleven years on from Julia Gillard’s iconic misogyny speech, sadly not much has changed,” Ms Anderson said.
“Women won’t stand for being sexualised and objectified by cowardly men.”
Ms Anderson said women in governments around Australia are treated in a way that males are not and that Knight has previous form for depicting women in sexist, derogatory ways.
In 1991 Knight drew a cartoon of Joan Kirner, Victoria’s first woman Premier, in a polka dot dress with the words “I object to being drawn in a polka dot dress” and then in an old-fashioned polka dot bikini, and the words “A wise guy, eh?”.
“Joan Kirner was frequently portrayed by cartoonists as a frumpy woman in a polka dot dress (despite saying she didn’t own one) and said during her time as premier that ‘men are judged by their contributions while women are judged by their image’,” Ms Anderson said.
“Denigrating women in power is nothing new and it’s not getting better. We could well argue it’s getting worse.”
Since EMILY's List Australia was launched in 1997, the organisation has advocated and fundraised to support progressive Labor women elected to Australian Parliaments.
Premier Allan, along with the late Joan Kirner and Julia Gillard, is a foundation member of EMILYs list and a long-time supporter.
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