politics

Scott Morrison's comments about Anthony Albanese's weight is what women have been copping for years.  

Our federal election is fast approaching which means our Prime Minister Scott Morrison and the leader of the Australian Labor Party - Anthony Albanese - will spend the next few months talking about each other a lot.  

Of course, it's what you'd expect from an election, and for the most part, these conversations need to be had. 

I welcome any talk about policies, climate change, and women's general treatment. After all, a woman is still dying every week because of domestic abuse, and half of NSW is currently battling the aftermath of floods. 

We need strong leadership in these trying times.

Watch Scott Morrison interrupts Anne Ruston. Post continues after video. 


Video via Supplied.

But on Monday, Morrison got a bit off-topic when he decided to make a jab about Albanese's weight loss while speaking with Sky News host Paul Murray. 

He said: "I'm not pretending to be anyone else. I'm still wearing the same sunglasses. Sadly, the same suits. I weigh about the same size, and I don't mind a bit of Italian cuisine… I'm not pretending to be anyone else.

"And when you are the Prime Minister, you can't pretend to be anyone else. You've got to know who you are, because if you don't know who you are, then how are other people going to know?"  

His comments weren't about anything to do with Albanese's politics or policies.

Instead, they were about what size pants Albanese is currently wearing.

Of course, he was probably referencing the Women's Weekly photoshoot that saw the Australian Labor Party Leader looking handsome and appearing noticeably slimmer; he was definitely giving his best blue steel. 

This is often pretty typical when politicians are gearing up for a big election. They tend to take a holistic approach to winning, so they want their talking points to be sharp and they also want to be at the top of their health game.

Sometimes, this involves losing weight...

However, Morrison's comments imply that if your weight changes, you may change. It's the equivalent of people commenting that Rebel Wilson wouldn't be funny anymore because she is now thin. Naturally, Morrison's comments led to backlash and Twitter threads, and I'm sure by the end of the day, even memes. 

ADVERTISEMENT

People recognise how absurd it is to imply weight loss says anything about who a person is. However, these are the kind of comments women have been copping for years, but it's only now that there seems to be mass outrage.

It's interesting, isn't it? When a man suddenly receives the same treatment that women have been receiving for years, it seems easy for people to see how silly it all is and to see through it.

Yet, this kind of rhetoric around weight is normal for women, and often it has real-world consequences. 

Many female stars have shared how their weight has impacted their ability to get specific roles; including powerhouses like Amanda Seyfried and Mindy Kaling. Even, Rebel Wilson recently joked that she lost weight to get more roles - but was it a joke?  

The truth is women’s bodies often do define their careers.

Remember earlier this year when a headline by The New York Post went viral. It read: "Adele's Oprah concert proves she didn't lose her voice with those pounds." See, it's relatively common for women's abilities to be judged depending on what size dress they are currently wearing. Men are usually exempt from this kind of treatment. 

Listen to Anthony Albanese's No Filter episode with Mia Freedman. Post continues after audio. 


Morrison's comments are interesting because usually, men can gain or lose weight, and their careers and character don't come into question. Look at someone like Jonah Hill, who lost weight and his body changed, but his career continued to soar. In contrast, Rosanne Barr has theorised that her show got cancelled because of her weight loss.  

Honestly, I found Morrison's comments pretty troubling. Politics aside, I don't think anyone's body should become a talking point in an election. I'm happy for them to duke it out over financial policies, but I don't want either of them commenting on each other's bodies. Let alone imply that what they weigh says anything about their ability to lead our country. It just doesn't.  

How do I know this? Because Rebel Wilson didn't get any less funny when she lost weight. Adele didn't become any less of an incredible singer when her body changed. And I didn't get any less clever when I put on weight during lockdown.

You see, this is the issue. What Morrison says may just seem silly. It'd be easy to write it off as a jab that didn't quite resonate with Australians, but to me, it's horrifying.

Because I'm sick of people's bodies being used against them.

We need to separate people's physical appearances from who they are, and then may the best man win. 

Feature Image: Getty / Mamamia.

Looking forward to a brighter future? Complete this survey now and go in the running to win one of six $100 gift vouchers!