Here’s the speech that prompted Australia’s misogyny definition change (Video)

October 17, 2012

Policymakers' floor speeches don't often capture the public's attention, so it's even more unusual that a recent rant by Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard resulted in an actual dictionary definition change.

Gillard’s speech last week skewering the country's conservative opposition leader, Tony Abbott, for his sexist comments was a rare political speech gone viral, winning her accolades from feminists the world over.

“If he wants to know what misogyny looks like in modern Australia, he doesn’t need a motion in the House of Representatives; he needs a mirror,” Gillard told Australia's Parliament.

Gillard complained that Abbott had once rhetorically asked, "What if men are by physiology or temperament more adapted to exercise authority or to issue commands?" and, in reference to Gillard, said, "If the Prime Minister wants to, politically speaking, make an honest woman of herself...."

"I was offended by those things! Misogyny, sexism, every day from this leader of the opposition," she said.

But her critics were quick to call out her semantics, arguing that her use of the word "misogynist" was incorrect.

"The day will come when you can no longer call the gender card or the victim card, and by pretending to be a victim the prime minister has demeaned every woman in this parliament," Liberal Party representative Bronwyn Bishop wrote.

In response, Sue Butler, the editor of Australia's authoritative Macquarie Dictionary said Wednesday that "the political furor revealed to her fellow editors that their dictionary’s definition was decades out of date" and said "the dictionary will broaden its definition from a hatred of women to include entrenched prejudice against women," the AP reported.

The announcement elicited immediate reactions from Gillard's opponents, who argued that it's an overreach that blurs the lines between parlance and politics:

 

 "The PM should stop bleating about misogyny and get on with trying to run the country," wrote another senator of Australia's National Party, Fiona Nash, in an opinion piece for the Australian.

Unfortunately, Gillard's glory was short-lived. Twitter was newly buzzing Wednesday with a video of the PM tripping on some grass while on a goodwill mission to India:

  

 

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Max Fisher · October 17, 2012