He’s “Taken Back the Reins” and She’s “a Backstabbing Murderer”: A gendered Australian comparative media analysis of the prime ministerial ascension of Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull with Blair Williams.
Join the Global Challenges Learning Community in a discussion of the media narrative associated with Julia Gillard and Malcolm Turnbull. The presentation will be followed by a discussion.
We will be providing a complimentary Food Co-op dinner for attendees but please RSVP on Eventbrite as soon as possible to make sure you don't miss out on dinner. Vegan and gluten-free options will be available but please contact Karan at if you have any other requirements.
The venue has disabled access.
In contemporary Australian politics, though once rare, leadership challenges now seem to have become the norm. In the last five years, Australia has had five Prime Ministers (counting Kevin Rudd twice), with our first ever woman Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, leading the first coup. There is a stark contrast, however, in media portrayals of Gillard and her male counterparts, apparent most recently in the response to Malcolm Turnbull.
This presentation uses feminist theory, such as Judith Butler's theory of gender performativity, to expose the rigid gender confines to which politicians have to adhere, and to address the issue of why women politicians experience more explicitly gendered media criticism. Through Blair’s analysis, it is evident that whilst Gillard experienced gendered and more negative media coverage, Turnbull escaped this phenomenon and was encouraged and largely respected. Therefore, whether performing acts that are deemed ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’, women will always be reprimanded until normative definitions of the gender binary and expectations are challenged and changed.
Blair Williams started her PhD at the School of Politics and International Relations in March 2015. Her thesis focuses on why first women Prime Ministers experience misogynistic representations in the media and how the media in turn construct misogyny through discourse.
Ms Williams is currently the Social Media Coordinator for the Australian Political Studies Association (APSA) Women's Caucus, the International Political Science Association (IPSA) RC19, and the Australian Women and Gender Studies Association (AWGSA) pages.
Blair has written feminist themed articles for local Canberran feminist art journal Feminartsy, HerCanberra, ANU's Woroni and University of Adelaide's On Dit.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions and we can’t wait to see you there!