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Double Standards? Why is Jacqui Lambie “getting away with it”?

Jacqui Lambie (image by abc.net.au)

Jacqui Lambie (image by abc.net.au)

I’m sure you’ve all heard about Jacqui Lambie’s disgraceful performance on the Kim and Dave show. No, I’m not talking about her description of her perfect man as “well-hung” – I’m talking about this, when she was asked about her body hair:

“Right now the state I’m in, I can tell you what, you’d want to bring out that whipper snipper first.”

I mean, what sort of example is this for an elected representative to be setting? Surely, Jacqui Lambie shouldn’t be using the fact that she hasn’t been in a relationship for eleven years to justify her lack of waxing.

Sexist? Double-standard?

Yeah, I guess we don’t criticise Tony for his lacking of waxing.

But the whole Jacqui Lambie “controversy” has been another one of those moments where I feel like some people are inhabiting another planet. Why? Well, let’s look at how it’s played out:
Lambie goes on the Kim and Dave show and gets asked some personal (and dare I suggest, risqué and crude) questions.
She responds in a risqué and crude manner.
This is thought to be important enough to be widely reported.
Jacqui Lambie apologised to anyone who was offended.

Responses include Judith Ireland who told us that Jacqui “shouldn’t be let off the hook” for her comments, and Neil Mitchell who asserted that if a male politician talked about a woman’s breasts “there’d be fury” and various letters and comments along these lines:

“If any male pollie mentioned a part of a womans body he would be walked over hot coals. This type of ‘talk’ is not acceptable, she can try and paint it anyway she pleases. It is not ‘normal ‘ I would be absolutely horrified if I heard my daughter speak in this manner, women want respect, well she just lost a whole lot. I feel so sorry for her teenage son!”

And a number of articles compared it to the reaction when Tony Abbott described a Liberal candidate he was introducing as “feisty” and possessing “sex appeal”. The general suggestion being how come that Lambie, a woman, can get away with it, when Abbott was so severely dealt with.

All that sounds fine, except for the fact that it draws a completely different narrative from what actually happened. If we reduce the two incidents to the basic facts.

Abbott – at a political meeting – uses sexist language to introduce a candidate. He is criticised for it. He doesn’t resign. He goes on to become PM. He doesn’t apologise.
Lambie – on a breakfast show – uses sexist language after telling the radio audience that she hadn’t been in a relationship for eleven years because she’d been “physically and psychologically damaged” and the announcers decide not to explore that part of her answer, but instead find her a partner (because we all know that every woman needs a man!). She is criticised for it. She doesn’t resign. She DOES apologise.

I fail to see that one “got away with it” and the other didn’t, given that both faced a storm of criticism and that neither has – so far – suffered any consequences in terms of their public position.

Yes, her language was inappropriate. Yes, I am happy to condemn her for reducing men to sex objects based on the size of their penis. Yes, if a man did something similar, they’d face criticism and be forced to apologise. JUST LIKE SHE DID!

But, of course, I can’t imagine any breakfast announcer saying to a man, “You haven’t been in a relationship for something like eight years…”

Or asking Tony if he misses Margie on those cold Canberra nights!

P.S. The bottom of the page gave me the following warning:

“Warning: Title display in Google is limited to a fixed width, yours is too long.”

Seems appropriate.

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44 comments

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  1. David Stephens

    I cannot believe that we are bothering with this stuff

  2. kerrilmail

    I can believe we are bothering with this stuff because the MSM, including those rascals on morning radio are letting too many people, politicians included, get away with commentary on such trivia in such a sexist manner. Abbott’s continual commentary on women, wink, wink, “the one with the not bad looking daughters” heh heh ok ok yes well”…. etc is not only sexist but frankly brain dead and the people interviewing him just accept this hackneyed, steroetypically, naughty, old man behaviour as though it is in any way fitting or acceptable in a Prime Minister who represents us on the world stage!!! The world, when it is not roundly criticising us, is laughing at us while this buffoon tries to prove by example that Dinosaurs still exist!!

  3. Rafe Falkiner

    Who cares. As long as she doesn’t vote to destroy the country by following a looney right wing line

  4. Geoffrey England

    21st Century folks…remember?

  5. mars08

    Lambie – on a breakfast show – uses sexist language after telling the radio audience that she hadn’t been in a relationship for eleven years because she’d been “physically and psychologically damaged” and the announcers decide not to explore that part of her answer, but instead find her a partner (because we all know that every woman needs a man!). She is criticised for it. She doesn’t resign. She DOES apologise.

    That para gets straight to the crotch crux of the matter. It was on morning radio! Anyone who listens to that rubbish wants/deserves what they get. It’s a brain-free zone, it is (quite intentionally) vapid… it is TRASH!

  6. margaret millar

    Well I think that it is to the benefit of every Member of Parliament that they display a certain dignity of attitude when dealing with the press/radio. We need more women in parliament and they will be subject to more scrutiny and attack than the men. I look at the appaling treatment of our first woman PM -Julia Gillard -criticised for- her clothes –her accent -her hair -her having no children-her relationship with Tim–and even for having a little used kitchen !! She was also atttacked viciously for her determination to bring in a carbon tax -now destroyed by the Abbott government-!-All women in parliament need to be careful how they speak in public-so the newly elected women need to be especially so and think before they speak to the media–that loves sensation and a beat up no matter how trivial! Take a leaf form Tanya P’s manner–determined sensible clever and dignified

  7. kathysutherland2013

    Who “got away” with asking Julia Gillard if her partner was gay? And what about that disgusting menu? What about that “chaff bag” comment? And so on and so on? At least Jackie was talking about herself, not someone else! And she apologised.

  8. Kevin Arnold

    What Jacqui Lambie does with her whipper snipper is her business but it is our business when she votes to repeal legislation that has been proven to work, and put nothing in
    It ‘s place. The sight of her whooping and clicking her heels afterwards did not fill me with much hope. Compare the difference with Julia Gillard when confronted with such puerile rubbish.
    The Americans got it right, ” Dumbing Down”

  9. Carol Taylor

    David, we are bothering with this stuff because it’s the way that the media treats our politicians and the voters..the Great Dumbing Down. And because of the Great Dumbing Down we are not receiving insightful analysis of policies except on rare occasions.

    Without a doubt, and as Rossleigh has pointed out, male politicians would not be asked the same questions and when a female responds in the same tone as some males do, then there is *shock, horror* outrage.

    One of my “favorites” from Tony Abbott is when he questioned teenage girls, netballers/basketballers (forgotten which) whether they enjoyed “body contact”..snigger, snigger.

  10. Kaye Lee

    Is it too much to ask that they display behaviour appropriate to their very responsible, high paying jobs? Our footballers are now held to higher account than our politicians.

    This is not Jacqui’s first faux pas and I am certain it will not be her last. She might make a good barmaid but she most definitely is not up to the job of making far reaching decisions about the running of this country that affect us all.

    I am getting a little sick of apologies. What person in their right mind would consider what she said appropriate for a member of parliament in a public interview? I most definitely do NOT need to know about her pubic hair, the size of her son’s penis, or anything at all to do with her love life or lack thereof.

    All of us are accountable in our jobs. We have to meet performance indicators and pass quality assurance assessment. We must meet certain criteria to even get the job in the first place and must then live up to the standards required, with ongoing education a requirement for many.

    Jacqui Lambie has failed on all counts so far and has given no indication that she will ever be capable of understanding the rigours of the job she has been handed by the people of Tasmania. Oh and thanks for Eric Abetz too.

  11. mars08

    Carol Taylor:

    …because of the Great Dumbing Down we are not receiving insightful analysis of policies except on rare occasions.

    I’d suggest that the fact we have Lambie, Hockey, Barnaby, Abbott AND morning radio in all our major cities… proves that the Great Dumbing Down boat has well and truly sailed. And there’s no shortage of people lining up for the cruise.

  12. Ryan H

    Im more concerned with the fact that before the election, she was quoted as wanting to keep the carbon tax, but then was one of the people celebrating the most as she helped bring about its demise. ..

  13. Michael Taylor

    So Google thinks you’re too long, Rossleigh. That’s an impressive credential.

  14. diannaart

    Good that at least a fraction of sexist commentary is protested. I want the every day B/S outed.

    Maybe it is time we made even more use of our smart phones, racists are being outed…

    For example, waiting in a queue at the Post Office recently the male customer ahead of me remarked to the male postal clerk, the EFTPOS machine was taking too long because it was “female” and “wouldn’t be told what to do”! I was standing right there, where the clerk could see me and he went on to agree with the customer. I did ask them what they meant – neither could look me in the eye or even speak.

    BTW for every Jacqui Lambie out there we are still way off catching up to the chair sniffers, the excruciating Tony Abbotts, the George Pells, innumerable sportsmen and so on ad nauseam. That said, I hope women never catch up and men realise it is a record they really don’t need.

  15. Jim

    I guess if you ask a stupid question…

  16. lawrencewinder

    Welcome to Reactionary Aspirational Bogan Liarbril Land….. aka….. Australia or RABLL

  17. paul walter

    Mixed feelings. That she hasn’t shaved bush is to me, a positive…that’s a WOMAN.

    On the other hand you do, really, get the sense of an empathy deficit overall.

    I want to know more about her ideas on other things, to do with her job as a legislator, that could affect other people.

    But I suspect what we will get instead is another tabloid confection veering to populist right megaphone valorising passive/aggressive ignorance, after Hanson and Palin.

  18. bobrafto

    Hey Paul, I suppose you’re a connoisseur of hirsuteness. Do you have a grading system? lol

    back to topic…

    cos she is a bogan and doesn’t know better.
    Cos most of the population identify with boganess.
    Cos no one could give a shit anymore.
    Cos the Abbott has dumbed everyone down.

    Very simple how she got away with it.

  19. Kaye Lee

    Axe the wax!

  20. paul walter

    Way to go, yo.

    bobrafto, good decoding.

  21. Dan Rowden

    The male gender equivalent of Lambi’s idiotic radio session statement[s] – for which she is 100% responsible – has nothing to do with breasts, as some have tried to suggest by analogy. The physical and sexual equivalent of what she said is “tight pussy”. Nothing more, nothing less. No male politicians’s career could survive that in my estimation.

  22. David Farrell

    Why is that when we finally have a truthful politition, she gets pilloried buy all and sundry and they forget they would not be here if their parents didn’t have set . Let’s face it, it makes the world go around.

  23. Kaye Lee

    David,

    Would you be comfortable for your child’s teacher to say something similar in class?

  24. Dan Rowden

    David,

    A “truthful” politician? What the hell does that even mean? How about we have politicians who will happily announce how many times they wipe their arse after taking a dump? That would be “truthful” by the same measure of truthfulness.

    Lambi has already embarked on a process of turning her Senatorship into celebrity. She is a dangerous idiot.

  25. bobrafto

    This is really off putting and I can understand how people like myself get upset.

    We have to put up with an image of Lambi having sex in a bush.Eleven years of it, mind you, it might be a forest now for all we know.

    I suppose we should all look on the bright side (look away) and pretend Lambie is F*l*a*s*h*i*n*g* her conservationist side.

  26. diongiles

    Horrible though she may be she’s less horrible than any member of Abbott’s Cabinet. Actually as Kevin Arnold has pointed out, her worst obscenity was when, after the repeal of the carbon tax, she skipped down the corridor crowing “One down one to go”

  27. mars08

    I suspect that neither by bank balance not my package is up to Jacqui’s high standards, and frankly her pubic undergrowth isn’t a major issue. The biggest thing (by far) keeping my desire and lust in check… is her relentless bogan-ness!!!!

  28. Kaye Lee

    “her worst obscenity was when, after the repeal of the carbon tax, she skipped down the corridor crowing “One down one to go”

    Oh I don’t know….I still think her performance on the 7:30 report last September was pretty obscene

    “I support tearing up the carbon tax to a certain degree but some of that carbon tax is quite good. So, you know what, tearing something up and restarting again takes longer. We probably need to start that carbon tax at maybe three or four per cent.”

    She probably has a similar understanding of the MRRT.

  29. paul walter

    She can say what she likes, just so long as don’t have to marry her… ugrork!

  30. corvus boreus

    Troubling for me, underlying the crassness of the Senator’s comments, is the egocentricity of her standards.
    A lot of cash for Her whims and desires, package enough to satisfy Her lusts.
    Other beneficial and admirable qualities within themselves or as benefit to the broader are irrelevant, She wants access to big money and a big dick because these are all She feels is lacking in Her life.
    This is indicative if a greedy, shallow, narcissistic, uncouth, non-empathic person who lacks self-restraint and wider consideration.
    We have an excess of selfish stultidia in our parliaments as it is, and Miss Lambie’s addition does not seem to have improved the outlook.
    I suggest Jacqui Lambie improve her personal fiscal management, purchase a suitable vibrator, and keep the status of her genital pubic pruning to herself.
    She should definitely learn something of humility, empathy and the value of the other beyond the self..

  31. bobrafto

    Everyone is getting into a huff over a couple of throwaway lines, inappropriate, sure.

    However this is female equality coming into play aping what men and boys talk about in pubs and parties.

    Recently Amanda Vanstone said she likes big packages, there wasn’t an uproar about that, now that’s an image to behold. Who would you rather be mentally offended by Lambie or Vanstone? not much of a choice..

    One can be sure of one thing, size does matter.

  32. Kaye Lee

    This is not female equality. Because some men choose to behave badly does not mean I want to fight for my right to do likewise. The men should lift THEIR game if they want to be considered equal in non-sexist language.

    I too have heard Amanda Vanstone share things I most definitely did not need to know but I would caution you to not listen to either of these women about what matters.

  33. mars08

    Kaye Lee… unfortunately some women will emulate what they see as acceptable behaviour by the men they know. It’s the down side of “liberal” feminism… and it disappoints me. That said, they SHOULD have the same right to be as crass, vulgar and devoid of class as anyone else. To tell them that certain (disagreeable) topics are taboo is to limit their freedoms.

    That said, Lambie’s eagerness to dive into the muck DOES NOT say much for her as a person… much less a senator.

  34. Kaye Lee

    Are we really going to let George Brandis and Tim Wilson define the meaning of freedom? I was brought up to believe that people have the right to be free from harassment of any description. I was taught that appropriate behaviour was my responsibility, not a freedom. We should not be free to behave how we please. It behoves all of us to improve the way we view each other and objectification is not a good start. The bottom line is Ms Lambie’s public behaviour is simply unacceptable for the responsible position she holds.

    She has come out all guns blazing and embraced the media circus in true Clive fashion but sadly she is firing blanks. A lot of noise with no substance.

  35. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    The men should lift THEIR game if they want to be considered equal in non-sexist language.

    I think this rather depends on context. In my experience women chatting together in pubs or at parties can be every bit as crass and uncouth as men with regard to sexual matters.

    bobrafto’s reference to female equality is rather bemusing. Male politicians are not, in any way, free to talk about their taste in female genitalia in public. And no, that was not meant to be an anchovy joke ……

  36. Dan Rowden

    No-one is harming Lambi’s “right” to freedom of speech. She can, more or less, say what she likes when she likes – but such behaviour has contextual consequences. There’s a time and place for such musings, and for an Australian senator, a morning radio program is neither the time, or the place. I appreciate that she’s still on a political learning curve, but thus far her judgement seems to be poor to say the least.

    A little dignity, if you please.

  37. Kaye Lee

    Dan,

    I am 56 years old and have close girlfriends from school, work, sport, kids, volunteering, locals….totally disparate groups. I cannot remember ever having such a conversation. Women don’t sit there speculating on or discussing the size of a man’s “package”…ok…the women I know anyway.

  38. Dan Rowden

    Kaye Lee,

    We’ve obviously traveled through rather different cultural terrains. I’ve probably spent a lot more time in pubs and clubs than you have.

  39. Kaye Lee

    Dan,

    I have worked as a barmaid, a waitress in a club, on a production factory line, as a bookmaker’s clerk….I copped a lot from men when I was young but did not hear the same sort of language from women. I went to school in the Western suburbs of Sydney. I don’t spend much time in pubs and clubs nowadays but pre-kids I can guarantee you I could see you and raise you on the hours spent in such establishments. Perhaps times have changed.

  40. randalstella

    If one recalls the menu narrative to the Brisbane celebratory dinner of the Liberal Party scum, this woman is no worse than members of the Coalition. She is a trash-talking cipher of COAL-ition forces that would never have dreamt of inviting her to dine. She’s imbedded her disrespect as justified by what she thinks of herself. She agrees with them, before they even had to meet her. She is there to serve Big Daddy, and has no illusions about herself – that she does not assume of others of her class.

    The later Capitalism gets, the crasser and crazier it has to be; the more brutal its functionaries. There is no justification for their acts or words, except their brazenness. It comes down to persona. They seek to belittle and damage and dismantle the common wealth and the respect that is implicit in it. The more privileged impugn anyone who opposes their private interests, in the most personal terms. Those from less privileged backgrounds include themselves in this humiliation.

    The GFC shows that whatever big interests do, the taxpayer will save them. Their self-vindication is to abuse and trash the governance that bailed them out; that acted in time to make the effects of the crisis minimal for everyone. ‘For everyone’ is what they begrudge and seek vengeance for; as if a breach of solemn principle. They want some basic acknowledgement that Capitalism is civil war; and they are dedicated to providing this themselves. And they can drag socio-economically lower-class dimwits along with them, who flattered by the attention can tough-talk their affinity with the masses; who should therefore be set for punitive reparations in place of taxing the very wealthy.
    The ideologues of intensely subsidised private power are now essentially mad and bad, with their impassioned rhetoric about open government and the end of entitlement to handouts. It is so counter-factual and flagrantly unfair that this has to be the point: the mission in place of morality and equity is to spite truth and fairness. The unstated, virtually stated, civil war is to put the truth at a dangerous disadvantage – for fairness assuming that there must be some standards of probity somewhere among them, in what they claim; that they surely do not mean complete enmity to the common wealth.

    The point about this particular sordid woman is to challenge Palmer on his credibility for choosing such bluffed and obedient followers. Why do the Media not consistently challenge him? Why does relentless bluster trump analysis – without fail? Why is such a blatantly self-indulgent man so formidable to the Media?

    Scratch any dirty little scheme and half a dozen squalid twerps come running out to threaten you. She is normalised rubbisher of values. He is all-too typical in his literally inflated idea of himself.

    The literal has bought out the metaphoric. The absurd is surpassed, the comic opera no longer possible. There is no room left for the send-up to expand into. Palmer summons a presser with Al Gore, with big news for mankind.

  41. Kaye Lee

    Yup. Palmer standing next to Gore…let’s get rid of that carbon tax. Jacqui likes bits of it…let’s make it 3%. Dio isn’t interested in politics, and their leader in the Senate, the brick with eyes, has only given one interview I can find in which his main focus was to “bring back the business lunch”.

    Collectively (add in Ricky) these 5 people will be paid a million dollars each year with god knows how much added on for “entitlements” and superannuation. Clive is donating his salary to charity which is nice of him….a reasonable investment to save him millions in carbon and mining taxes.

  42. pap262

    if I want to be degraded by a female for my package I would expect it at a female rugby club convention in Ibiza or maybe the” sisters in Arms” MC annual bash . A bit of a highlight when an Australian Senator does the trash talking. Love to be a fly on the wall at the Senate Annual Xmas Party; must be an real down dirty, affair going on the current acceptable standard of behaviour. I m by no means a prude I had thirty years in the military to sort that out. I just expect a higher standard of ethic by elected federal members.

  43. bobrafto

    pap

    Have you been hiding somewhere, ‘a higher standard of ethic’ from slime bag politicians, sorry, that just doesn’t gel with me.

    Lying, stealing, bribery Infidelity, rorting, nepotism, cronyism and snouts in the trough is what I have been treated to over the years.

    And some politicians like Joe (hocks) Hockey wants all of us now to bend over for him for the ultimate humiliation.

    I don’t believe the word ethic is part of a politicians vocabulary..

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