THE NEWCASTLE SPEECH HIT A NERVE’
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