By ROSIE WATERLAND
Opposition leader, Tony Abbott, thinks liberal candidate Fiona Scott is hot.
Former ALP leader, Mark Latham thinks she is ugly.
This morning I woke up knowing nothing about Fiona Scott except that one man thinks she’s sexy and one man thinks she’s not.
And that made me furious.
In case you haven’t heard, on Tuesday, Tony Abbott was asked how the Liberal candidate for the seat of Lindsay compared to her predecessor Jackie Kelly.
He responded by saying: ‘‘They’re young, feisty, I think I can probably say have a bit of sex appeal.”
And once Abbott opened the door to a public dialogue about Scott’s sex-appeal, suddenly her ‘hotness’ was up for discussion.
Enter Mark Latham.
Here’s how Latham responded to Tony Abbott’s ‘sex appeal’ comment:
“It showed very bad judgment and it shows he has low standards,” he told 3AW. “I had a good look at Fiona Scott on page eight of The Australian today and she doesn’t have sex appeal at all. She’s not that good of a sort.”
“Tony had the beer goggles on and in politics they say it’s showbiz for ugly people and I don’t think she’ll be out of place.”
Okay, that’s it. Now you can scream.
Most people are calling Latham’s comments worse (because obviously if a woman is ‘ugly’ she has nothing to offer and nobody will ever want to marry her ever and CATS) but I really don’t see any difference between Latham’s insult and Abbott’s compliment. I’m just pissed off that we’re talking about it at all.
Would Abbott and Latham be speaking about the attractiveness of this candidate if she were a man?
No. And that is what makes me furious.
The fact that Fiona Scott’s looks are on the agenda at all speaks to a much bigger problem we have with women and how we value them. That problem is that a woman’s appearance continues to be considered one the main indicators of her worth.
Forget intelligence. Forget accomplishments. Forget kindness or wisdom or humour or skills. None of those things seem to add as much value to a woman’s worth as her looks.
Now, according to the interwebs, Fiona Scott has a degree in business, has extensive experience working with the small business sector and has been a committed disability advocate.
I don’t know anything about her values, or her opinions on the issues I care about. I learned more in one interview about the political ideals of a woman who thought Islam was a country than I have about Fiona Scott in the last 24 hours.
I may well disagree with Fiona Scott on many things. But I do know that she deserves to be represented in the media as something more than a debate on looks.
We should all be furious. But not about politics or politicians. This isn’t about liberal vs labor. We should be furious that Fiona Scott’s appearance is part of the public discourse to begin with.
We should be furious that a woman’s worth continues to be defined by how attractive she is.
We need to be furious for our daughters, our sisters, our friends. For ourselves. We need to be furious so that this message drowns out the rest:
You are more than the way you look.
You. Are. More.
Any time someone tries to define your worth according to your looks, don’t let them.
Stand up. And be furious.
Please share and be furious with us.