THE NEW­CAS­TLE SPEECH HIT A NERVE’

The Weekend Australian - Review - - Books -

ways to de­stroy the joint, be­ing a woman and all. Ideas wel­come.’’

With this, Caro took Jones’s words and reimag­ined them, and the hash­tag de­stroy­ingth­e­joint was cre­ated. A Face­book page and mer­chan­dise fol­lowed, and, most re­cently, a col­lec­tion of es­says edited by Caro ti­tled De­stroy­ing the Joint: Why Women Have to Change the World (re­viewed op­po­site page).

Sum­mers points out sim­i­lar rein­ven­tions of terms in­tended to in­sult, in­clud­ing suf­fragette. Like the suf­fragettes, ‘‘ de­stroy­ing the joint’’ brought about change by pres­sur­ing ad­ver­tis­ers to sus­pend their sup­port of Jones’s pro­gram. Tel­stra, Coles, Wool­worths and Med­ibank did so, al­though Sum­mers re­ports it is un­clear whether any of them has re­turned.

An­other hash­tag, every­daysex­ism, fol­lowed, pro­vid­ing a fur­ther fo­rum for ex­change and fu­elling fur­ther ac­tivism. While de­stroy­ingthe- joint and every­daysex­ism high­light the rad­i­cal and sub­ver­sive power of so­cial me­dia, in Her Rights at Work, Sum­mers de­scribes the use of sex­ism as a means of vil­i­fy­ing Gil­lard.

As well as me­dia slights such as call­ing her by her first name and the ex­tra­or­di­nary spleen of cartoon de­pic­tions of the Prime Min­is­ter, Sum­mers as­sem­bles an ar­ray of Pho­to­shopped and Face­book cam­paigns that com­bine to at­tack Gil­lard.

The ef­fect of their as­sem­blage is to il­lu­mi­nate prac­tices that, as Sum­mers notes, may well be un­der the radar of many. Be­neath her case that Gil­lard could well ar­gue that she has been sex­u­ally ha­rassed in her pro­fes­sional role lies an ar­gu­ment for so­cial change, which Sum­mers puts in one of her pithy phrases. What if any of us, faced with the ev­i­dence of the abuse of Gil­lard, were to refuse to ac­cept such be­hav­iour, say­ing: ‘‘ It stops with me’’?

Sum­mers quotes Caro’s sug­ges­tion that the New­cas­tle speech ‘‘ hit a nerve and gave women the am­mu­ni­tion they needed’’. This cli­mate may have con­trib­uted to em­pow­er­ing Gil­lard to make her misog­yny speech, which Sum­mers calls ‘‘ a ma­jor game-changer’’.

The treat­ment of Gil­lard ex­em­pli­fies Sum­mers’s broader dis­cus­sion of sex­ual in­equal­ity. The ‘‘ equal­ity pro­ject’’ cen­tral to The Misog­yny

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