Pauline Hanson held a press conference this morning and said the photos of her which were published at the weekend were not of her. I’m not here to discuss the pictures themselves or the morality of publishing them (but if you want to do that, please comment your socks off and go for gold).
What has dismayed me since this story broke yesterday, is the reaction to the pictures, particularly by sections of the media.
Last night, while I was working, I was also watching Rove. He opened the show by saying he was feeling sick. It was the set-up for a gag whose punch-line was the photos of Pauline (or whoever). It drew a huge laugh – the idea that seeing pictures of Pauline Hanson (or whoever) in lingerie being sexy was so disgusting as to inspire nausea and physical illness.
I never thought I’d find myself in the position of defending Pauline Hanson. Her politics, her attitudes and her rhetoric are repulsive to me. I was ashamed to be Australian when she and One Nation was able to gain the levels of support they did on an unabashedly racist platform of intolerance and prejudice – while our Prime Minister at the time, John Howard, pretty much just stood back and allowed her to take all the oxygen she wanted. And then co-opted many of her policies as his own. They were dark days for our country. Don’t get me started on that or we could be here for a week.
Whether those shots were of her or not, the woman is still a person. To have people (not just Rove, this was the general attitude expressed publicly and privately) openly saying “Yuck, I want to vomit” at the sight of her, well that to me was just cruel and nasty. Not to mention sexist.
If it was her? How awful to have a private moment in your youth, splashed everywhere for ridicule. And if it wasn’t? Pauline has spoken of her distress and the distress of her family over the pictures. One can only assume whoever it might be would be feeling pretty distressed too.
And they wonder why more women don’t want to get into politics……