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Dutton stigmatises CEOs as no better than women. Wow.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton inexplicably stepped out of his portfolio last week to make commentary on CEOs with an opinion on marriage equality that does not coincide with his own.

Dutton singled out Qantas CEO Alan Joyce for particular attention, presumably because Mr Joyce is gay.

In a final flourish, Dutton advised CEOs to “stick with their knitting” and in so doing revealed the putrid depths of his masculinist contempt not only for gay men and marriage equality advocates, but also for women.

Knitting is largely (though not entirely) a female occupation. It has long been the practice of hegemonic masculinity to “feminise” and therefore devalue gay men through the conflation of homosexuality with effeminacy.

Heterosexual masculinists such as Dutton work to denigrate homosexuals and their CEO supporters as undesirably “female” by suggesting that their expertise is not in the world of business, opinion and commentary, but rather in a confined domestic environment where they are powerless, voiceless, and, knitting.

The denigration works only if Dutton (and heterosexual masculinists of both genders who agree with his point of view) believes women are inferior, and uses the recommendation to “stick to your knitting” as a profoundly unpleasant, homophobic and sexist insult.

The Minister is actually saying: you have no place and no power in the world of “real” men like me, because if you are a man who supports marriage equality you are inevitably effeminate.

Dutton devalues the male CEOs by attributing to them the “feminine” activity of knitting, and simultaneously devalues women. Our real place is not, in his opinion, in the public space advocating marriage equality, but in a domestic life removed from concerns best left to masculinist politicians.

In Dutton’s view, gay men and male supporters lack masculinity, evidenced by their subversive refusal to unquestioningly support the hegemonic masculinity Dutton represents.

Indeed, Dutton’s masculinity is, like the Australian Christian Lobby’s Lyle Shelton, defined by his heterosexuality. I recall Shelton’s plaintive tweet that if we allow marriage equality, no one will know he is straight.

Feminising gay men and supporters, stigmatising them as no better and no more relevant in the world than women, is an abject attempt to differentiate the heterosexual masculinist from his greatest perceived threat: a man who loves another man and in so doing becomes, oh dear god no, feminised.

In the world of heterosexual masculinists opposites attract, therefore, if you’re a man who loves a man, you must be a woman.

That this is employed as an insult by Dutton should give us significant pause.

Knitting is generally regarded as a harmless occupation, however, Dutton should note that knitters are not necessarily quite so bland. Madame Defarge, for example, knits contentedly on through the Revolution as the despised ruling heads of France fall one by one into the basket under the guillotine, their names stitched into her patterns.

Dutton has managed, in one short phrase, to cast a thoroughly offensive slur upon gay men and all women. Actually, there aren’t many human beings Dutton likes. This nasty piece of work does not belong in our government. Let’s hope his electorate see it that way.

This article was originally published on No Place For Sheep.



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  1. Mark Needham

    Men and Women, do not think the same, are not the same. Bugger me, we are different.

    I apologise for being a male.

    Standing, Peeing.
    Mark Needham

  2. longwhitekid

    Still here trolling Mark. Yeah, you should apologise for your very existence. Please, think about making some useful contribution to society.

  3. babyjewels10

    Why do conservatives have such a low opinion of women?

  4. Roswell

    Is that the best you can do, Mark?

  5. zoltan balint

    Yes Mark, standing peeing down your own leg. Babyjewels -conservatives fear change especially when it comes to having to share power and welth with the oppressed. When it comes to Dutton, he is just an idiot and I’m sure all the boys love him and he likes it when they pat him on the back … side in jest of course.

  6. Vikingduk

    Is this denigration because these people feel threatened? Do they fear their own suppressed softer sides being revealed? To give a very generalised opinion, I find I much prefer to talk with homosexuals and women. I find both, generally to be far more honest in their communication. Having worked with men, played sport with men and, of course, socialised with them, I have constantly found a similar attitude and denigration of women and homosexuals, a need for men to exhibit their maleness by attacking, because they believe that both groups are in the weaker sex category, feed each other’s fear and hate and ignorance.

    It lets them show their contemporaries their strength, establish the pecking order within the group, the alpha male leading the charge, all others in the male group competing then for the alpha male’s attention and praise.
    It becomes a contest of who can say really disgusting shit about women and/or homosexuals.

    Remember, I did say this is very generalised.

    All politics seemed to be played to the same standards —- shout, insult, vilify, denigrate, lie, respect nothing and no one that is not a mirror for you. The more you play the easier it becomes, spreading like a virus through your being, you find more to include as you drown in your ego. Tree hugging greenies? This glorious planet we live on? The health of our environment? Bash the needy? Easy, really easy.

    No room for love and compassion, hate and fear rule.

  7. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I invite Madame Defarge to be sitting in attendance at Dutton’s political demise.

    The idiot doesn’t realise the hornet’s nest he’s opened up.

  8. David Bruce

    I wonder if this excuse for a human suffered severe separation anxiety, and has never forgiven, nor forgotten? But then again, he was a member of the police force before the Fitzgerald clean-up. Anything is possible. He seems to represent a section of the population in Queensland who share his views and values. He and the former Prime Minister make a good pair, so perhaps they are closet types?

  9. Mark Needham

    Who said “that there is something wrong with women”
    It was NOT I.

    I just said that we are different.
    The article above seems to imply that there is something wrong with women.

    Now if I said, “Dutton is a girl” then, that is casting a slur on women.
    what the…?
    Mark Needham

    Oh, yes, I can knit and crochet. That does not make me a woman.

  10. Leanne Jones

    Dutton is a short fingered vulgarian. He must feel very threatened by others. Women, homosexuals, refugees are among those he hates. I can’t believe that people voted for this creature and shame on them for agreeing with his views which do not belong in the 21st century.
    As for his views on knitting, well, what can l say but that he has no understanding of the creative process that artists experience. He’s a cultural phillistine and shows his true ignorance by such statements. He’s a bully who is full of his own self importance and l just wish he’d go away.

  11. BeeTee-Ess

    Dutton – Australia would be better off without him. He certainly does not deserve a role in our government.

  12. brickbob

    After the bastard leaves parliament i think he could earn a good living as an Eugenicist,there are still a few countries around the world who still practice this dark art, he would be a natural at it.

  13. Ian Ellis

    I delight in calling Mr Dutton Potato Head. I acknowledge that this makes me a Vegephobe, and in fact I am proud to be thus.

  14. Sir ScotchMistery

    As a former (failed) drug squad cop, dutton is ruled by his short penis.

    That will never change.

  15. Jokewil

    Alan Joyce needs / should BAN Dutton from flying Qantas

  16. Kronomex

    One can easily imagine him lining up to torture witches then burn them at the stake.

    Ian, he’s more like a brussels sprout; small, hard, dense and bitter. Unlike Dutton they have great nutritional value

  17. Maeve Carney

    Don’t these politicians think BEFORE they speak? Better to not be offensive than to try to back peddle and apologise. My father, brother and three sons can all knit, crochet, sew and embroider. They are all over 6 foot, well muscled and real men. A real man doesn’t need to apologise for being a man and doesn’t need to denigrate others to make himself feel good.

  18. economicreform

    Dutton is a disgrace to the parliament and to this nation. The fact that Turnbull saw fit to place him in the ministry reveals the paucity of talent available within the parliamentary Liberal party.

  19. Neededagoodlaugh

    Hmmm – I’m a self confessed blokey bloke with a higher degree (so no idiot) who played the usual aggressive male sports in my youth. Many years before I retired, as senior management I actively supported diversity in the work place – seemed the right thing to do. My wife’s friends constantly remark on how much time I spend in selecting suitable gifts for her and that unlike their husbands I do a lot of house keeping. I came to the conclusion many years ago that men (I won’t call them blokes) who denigrate women and LGBTI folk are HIGHLY insecure in their own sexuality and have BIG inferiority complexes – in short they are usually narrow minded bullies who when confronted sulk away with their tail between their insignificant legs. Dutton is a goose and an embarrassment to Australia and real men share the load and are considerate of others.

  20. jimhaz

    So he didn’t beat around the bush, he beat up the bush.
    Political domestic violence.

    As Karma, I’d like to give him some knitting to do. The type that occurs with broken bones.

  21. Mark Needham

    Mark Needham

  22. Judith W

    neededagoodlaugh I totally agree. All bullies are insecure at their core. It is the measure of a person that they can talk to both peasants and royalty as equals. We rarely know the history of the people we meet. Except it is generally true that bullies are sad, insecure and ignorant loners.

  23. Phil

    I love this – I really do. Dutton is losing it. He’s feeling severly threatened by the inexorable rise of women in our times – he’s scared witless and his only response is violence – verbal for now against his own civic although its been seriously physical against those he sees as outsiders and ‘others’. I have no doubt whatsoever that given sufficient power, Dutton would lustily demonstrate his contempt for women, people of colour, non christian people, and LGBTI people.

    Has there been a nastier piece of flotsam to have washed up in the halls of our parliament than this creep from nineteen fifties Australia?

    All strength to the pens of the justifiably angered women challenging this conservative creep from the back-blocks of ignorance.

    Gillian Triggs’ humanity and her decency and brains have long rattled Dutton, as have many other women in positions of influence but I think the ascent of Sally McManus to secretary of ACTU has tipped him close to insanity.

    He’s on his way out – 50 years too late but at least its happening. Dutton old son, you can’t see it I know, but the writing is on the wall – goodbye creep.

  24. Steve Laing

    Actually “stick to the knitting” is a phrase that was brought into management speak in the 80s/90s by management/leadership guru Tom Peters who used it as the chapter title of his books In Search of Excellence, and was used to describe the change in businesses who got very diversified and then failed suggesting they would be better off sticking to what they knew best. I suspect he picked the phrase up from one of the merry band of “consultants” that he employs at our expense.

    Saying that, given his use of the terms “force down your throat” and that they should “butt out”, does suggest he used all these terms to delight the mangy crew of the anti-pc brigade whom are his adoring fans, by sailing as close to the derogatory wind as he could possibly muster.

    He truly is a rather sad reflection of humanity, isn’t he.

  25. crypt0

    Australia is about to see job shedding the likes of which we have never seen, due to automation, robotics etc.
    Homelessness and suicide are endemic and will grow exponentially with the looming unemployment.
    Yet despite all this, dutton, who was pronounced the worst health minister in 35 years in a poll of doctors, (his record as Immigration minister speaks for itself) still has a job !
    A job paying $300,000 plus, plus “entitlements” and so on.!
    It beggars belief, but with “leadership” like this, it does give us a clue just where Oz is headed.

  26. Deanna Jones

    Thanks for saying this, Jennifer. Yes, homophobia is the little cousin of misogyny. Our elected official’s so-called political commentary now resembles the comments thread under a youtube video.

  27. Ian

    Quote -: “Immigration Minister Peter Dutton inexplicably stepped out of his portfolio last week to make commentary on CEOs ……… ”

    I’m not so sure about the use of ‘inexplicable’ here as I’d say he is clearly circling Truffles as he spirals down the S-Bend.
    Let’s face it, Morriscum has stuff all chance of getting the Top Job as he has little following in the electorate apart from the Happy Clappers, Asbestos Jules won’t get a death stare in as she is, well, the opposite of our learned friend above, Mark Needham, and the RWNJs won’t entertain the thought of a woman taking over a ‘Man’s Job’ (as per the Tory Songbook Hymn No. 48 ‘I’ll Be f*cked If I’m Going To Let A Woman Rule Over Me” so she’s a non-starter.

    So, there you have it. Potato Head is gunning for the Top Job and I can only hope he gets it as that will nail the Tory coffin shut for many a year.

    And think of all the fun I’ll have cooking a stash of Sebagos in the pot and imagining his pig ugly head in the boiling water.

  28. Jennifer Meyer-Smith

    I see the wisdom of your words, Ian especially in that last yummy line.

  29. Geoff Andrews

    Dutton was drawing our attention to the reported fact that the CEO of Qantas is gay and that he therefore should pull his head in.

  30. Keitha Granville

    And we pay these people to be public servants – what does that say about our choices on election day ? We are going to have to start at the grass roots, find candidates who have some level of ethics and morality not based on religion. I fear there are but a few decent folks prepared to give their all for their country. More’s the pity.

  31. Lynne Chinnery

    Dutton’s comment instead of stigmatising CEO as no better than women could also be construed as women no better than CEO, neither of which is warranted or acceptable!!! Hopefully it will have the reverse effect and show Dutton for the person he really is, and how such comment is uncalled for!!!

  32. Ian

    I have no time for Alan Joyce whether he’s gay or not. Any CEO who strands thousands of innocent travellers and passengers for his own purely political advantage is, as far as I’m concerned, an arsehole of the highest order and deserves no praise. Never will I travel Qantas or Jetstar for this primary reason.

    As for Dutton, once a pig always a pig.

    Jennifer – I feel like some chips. Imagine all those steakhouse-cut thick chips in smoking hot oil sizzling away and an end product that’s hard and crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside … much like Dutton’s head when I think about it. They do say chips are unhealthy and considering the similarities to Mr Starchy Edible Tuber Head, I’d have to agree.

  33. Michael Taylor

    I agree, Ian. Many applauded him, because by the end of the year he’d returned a profit. He did his job for the shareholders, but the fact that he stranded thousands of customers all over the world – not to mention here in Australia – was disgraceful. It was a pig of an act.

  34. sue macdonald

    Whilst I totally agree with this article and have the utmost respect for the rights of the cohort of people Dutton is vicariously attacking, I have to say that I have seen on many occasions comments of disgust and contempt from members of this same cohort, towards single mothers. I have seen these comments in relation to ‘the right to adopt’ and as a single mother, I can tell you – it has hurt, demeaned and insulted me profoundly. In fighting for ‘right to form a family’ one needs to respect the rights of another family not to be denounced and preyed upon for personal wants and gains.

  35. paulwalter

    Michael Taylor, not to mention the thousands of jobs he cost.

  36. Michael Taylor

    I’d forgotten about that, Paul. They’ve also cut back on the quality of their service, too.

    And don’t get me started on their meals. One one flight we were given … wait for it … capsicum muffins with salsa sauce and onions. I watched the hostess later as she collected dozens of muffins with only one bite taken out of them.

    At least they were good enough for one bite. Most things don’t even get that.

    And have you ever tried cutting a steak with a plastic knife?

    Did I say steak? I could have put boot laces on it and worn it home.

    On another flight we were served chilli noodles for breakfast. Yes, breakfast.

    But at least they’re making a profit.

  37. Michael Taylor

    And while I’m moaning …

    We flew to Singapore once – business class – and Carol was asleep when they served the meal. When she woke up she asked if she could have her meal, and the hostess said that she blew her chance because she was asleep. Bad luck.

    I assured Carol it wasn’t worth having.

    “Go back to sleep. You haven’t missed anything”.

  38. The Skept

    Clickbait bullshit and propagandist outrage.
    Don’t get me wrong – I’m no fan of Peter Dutton.
    Yes: Dutton is wrong to tell CEOs that they ought not participate in public debate (about issues like marriage equality). They absolutely can and should, and this is where the author’s outrage would have been better directed.
    But the phrase “stick to your knitting” is simply an old idiom. It is not sexist, nor intentionally “feminising”, and it is not the case that “Dutton stigmatises CEOs as no better than women”.
    Pieces like this shit me to tears, because they are a boring and stupid over-reach of political correctness, and they divert and distract from the worthwhile points that could be under discussion.

  39. Rossleigh

    Gee, The Skept, I think you should stick to your knitting!

  40. Derek

    I knit – and am pretty damn good at it if I can blow my own horn. I have knitted aran and cable, socks and gloves, cashmere and synthetic.
    I am straight – that’s for Dutton’s benefit.
    I had *zero* idea that Alan Joyce was gay and I give zero f*cks that he is – I still hate what he has done to Qantas but that’s purely because of how it affects my own travel as a very weary road warrior. But I applaud his public stance on what should have just been “not even a thing and over long ago”
    And I think Dutton is a complete tool
    Oh and the rest of them too

  41. Jennifer Wilson

    Hello, Skept,
    “Simply old idioms” doesn’t cut it as justification of or explanation for demeaning commentary.
    Are you suggesting we revert to the “n” word because it’s simply old idiom?
    I can’t for the life of me understand why you read pieces like this that shit you to tears and bore you. Are you a masochist?
    Finally, you are not the arbiter of what is or is not offensive to women in public discourse. You have an opinion and the right to express it. So do I.
    There is far more to Dutton’s comment on CEOs than merely telling them they shouldn’t participate. That you do not see these complexities is your problem, and not proof that they do not exist.
    Cheers, Jennifer.

  42. Michael Taylor

    I can’t for the life of me understand why you read pieces like this that shit you to tears and bore you. Are you a masochist?

    Jennifer, I think it’s his morbid fascination with clickbait. ?

  43. helvityni

    Knitting needles can be dangerous weapons in wrong hands… 🙂

  44. Halfbreeder

    Duttons just a fckn FASCIST. Anyone can see that. Rascist, misogenist, pro corporate, economic policies and strategies, anti welfare, phoney nationalism, anti human rights. These are all traits of a fascist and of Dutton too. Hes not a fit and proper person to have public office.

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