Mia Freedman has some powerful words to say to Mark Latham.
Mark Latham wants women to shut up. Shut up about your mental health problems, he insists. Shut up about the challenges of balancing paid work and family demands. Shut up about being victims of domestic violence. Shut up about your grief and your trauma. Shut up about anything you believe is upsetting or unjust. Shut up about your rights and about inequality. Shut up about your post natal depression and the murder of your children.
Just shut up.
Week after week in his column, paid for and published by the Australian Financial Review, Mark Latham tells women in no uncertain terms to shut their mouths, in the most disparaging, demeaning, insulting and derogatory ways.
He viciously castigated journalist and doctor Lisa Pryor for daring to admit she takes medication to treat her depression. He eviscerated journalists Annabel Crabb and Sarah MacDonald for writing with generous honesty about the realities of motherhood. And this week, astonishingly even for him, he derided Rosie Batty for speaking publicly about the murder of her son Luke in her bid to raise awareness about domestic violence.
You see, Mark Latham believes we women should keep our thoughts to ourselves. And when we do open up about our lives, Latham seeks to bully and intimidate women by mocking us on the various media platforms upon which he leaps to launch his attacks.
Despite his incessant demands for brave women like Rosie Batty to shut up, Mark Latham flatly refuses to shut up himself. He has powerful platforms and multiple megaphones to amplify his bile thanks to the media outlets who employ him. He appears regularly as a contributor on Sunrise, on 3AW and he has a weekly column in the Australian Financial Review.
He has the right to his views, of course. Just as media organisations have the right to decide who they pay and to whom they give a megaphone. And as the public, we have the right to decide which media organisations to support.
I say it’s time. Let’s call out Mark Latham for what he is: a man who is hugely threatened by women who tell their stories, women who speak with honesty and authenticity, women who are brave enough to give voice to what many of us suffer in silence.
Mark Latham is a man who appears deeply disturbed by women’s voices, women’s opinions and women’s self expression.
Latham is a man who endlessly rails against feminism and feminists – terms he uses disparagingly about any woman who has the temerity to differentiate herself from a doormat.
Latham is a man who repeatedly writes of his longing for the olden days, when nobody spoke about their feelings and, presumably, women didn’t get crazy ideas in their heads about working outside the home, earning their own money and having a voice to speak up for themselves.
Just this week he wrote pompously: “There was a time, in the dignity of working class life, when grieving was conducted in private. In the 1960s, nobody tried to enlist the parents of Adelaide’s missing Beaumont children as celebrity speakers.”
Yes Mark. And in the 1960s, rape in marriage was still legal and children were routinely sexually abused by clergy in churches who thought it was fine to cover up their abuse. Just because something happened a long time ago, doesn’t make it right or better than things are now. What an absurd, reckless and fatuous argument.
Latham is a man who is constantly confused about why any woman would want to work outside the home; in Latham World, women should shut up and stay happily domesticated. Like household pets.