A Captive Audience

The Politics of the Prime Ministerial Wardrobe
August 16, 2010, 3:36 am
Filed under: Research | Tags: ,

For some reason I woke up last night thinking “It’s all about Julia Gillard.”  I had read an article in The Age by Mia Freedman.  In the brief interview with Freedman, Gillard claims “I do get sleep and that helps. It’s not like I’m lying awake at night anxious; if I’m in bed, I’m asleep.” So I chanted that mantra to myself until I too fell back to sleep, along with the promise to dissect it in the morning.  Come morning and I’m not sure the significance.  To my mind, the “lifestyle” media is still getting its head around how to report on our first female prime minister.  While Tony Abbot’s speedos are fair game for everybody, the lifestyle media is politely tiptoeing around Julia Gillard at present.  There seems to be an inevitability that a woman in public life must comment freely on her fashion preferences, grooming tips and personal lifestyle choices.  Lifestyle columnists such as Freedman appear to want to present this information as if it will reveal the ‘real’ person.  Gillard herself appears to accept this inevitability that an if not glamorous, then at least polished image is necessary, despite not caring about this at all.  ” … In this position so much of how you look becomes public property, you can’t afford to be too psychologically hooked up about it.”  I think that because Gillard doesn’t really care, she merely does what is necessary, it makes it hard for the lifestyle press to know what to do with her.  She IS the first female prime minister, so she can’t be ignored by them, but it’s really hard to find much to say.

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