Chapter 6. Julia Gillard

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This chapter charts the political career of Julia Gillard, Australia’s first female Prime Minister (2010–2013), and argues that three intertwined discourses of gender shaped how she was perceived and represented in the political domain and in the media. First, Gillard was faced with challenges such as the “double bind,” by which female leaders are expected to demonstrate qualities stereotypically associated with masculinity, and at the same time to display qualities stereotypically associated with femininity. Second, Gillard faced sexist abuse in politics and media which labelled her an “unintelligible being.” Third, in acts of “strategic essentialism,” Gillard condemned the misogyny she endured, repositioning herself as a coherent political force and marking the re-emergence of feminism in Australian politics.


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