Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Bad Sign on the Horizon

If you think US culture can't get any worse, it might be instructive to take a look at our Australian counterparts. Here's all the facts which you need to know:
  1. Tony Abbott is the center-right Liberal Leader of the Opposition for the Australian House of Representatives. I know, the fact that Australian Liberals are conservative is confusing. But everything's backwards down there, like when you flush the toilet.
  2. Abbott is said to be devoutly Catholic
  3. Abbot's a target of particular derision from the media, although I suppose that could be deduced from #1 and 2.
  4. When he was 19, he had sex with his girlfriend, and believed he'd gotten her pregnant (it turned out, it wasn't his son). Due to #3, this has been a big scandal.
  5. Since that time, he's married, and has three daughters.
In an interview, Abbott is asked what advice he would give his daughters on marriage. His response: ''I would say to my daughters, if they were to ask me this question … it is the greatest gift you can give someone, the ultimate gift of giving and don't give it to someone lightly.''

The guy screwed up when he was younger, nearly became a dad at 19, learned from his sins, and lives a seemingly upright life now. To put it in the US context, President Obama probably wouldn't suggest to his daughters that they should try cocaine. People learn from their mistakes. Abbott's answer is, if anything, too limited. Nothing about "don't have sex until marriage," just "don't give it to someone lightly." There was an age where Abbott's answer would seem strangely impure.

That age, it seems, is not today. Australians are livid, and for the life of me, I can't figure out why. Australia's Deputy Minister, Julia Gillard, publicly berated Abbott: ''Australian women don't want to be told what to do by Tony Abbott. Australian women want to make their own choices, and they don't want to be lectured to by Mr Abbott.''

Apparently, not only is it wrong to publicly state that sex should be within the confines of marriage, it's wrong to state that virginity should be valued ... even if the advice is to one's own daughters. Because, after all, the "Australian women" in question are his three daughters.

The article goes on to quote Latrobe University sex education expert Associate Professor Anne Mitchell, who decried Abbott's comment as "nonsense," saying that he "was 40 years out of date because at least 50 per cent of Australian students had experienced sexual intercourse before leaving school and 30 per cent before 16." Which would be like saying that Obama's warnings about drugs to his daughter would be wrong, since lots of people do drugs.

Of course, it gets only worse. The article (which bothered to include no sympathetic voices) concluded with this gem:

Leading feminist Eva Cox said it was not clear whether Mr Abbott was referring to virginity for both sexes or just for girls.

''If he is just referring to girls and saying they should not give away virginity lightly, then he is commodifying women, by saying their sexuality was something to trade,'' she said.

Right. He's prostituting his daughters. What a reasonable conclusion from his advice.

2 comments:

  1. Do you ever read Oz Conservative? If not, you should really check into it. The BEST insight into the Australian suicide there is.

    ReplyDelete