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those Hanson photos

My Crikey piece on Pauline Hanson is behind the titanium subscriber wall. But it seems to me that, as ghastly as Hanson is, this kind of thing is exactly what fuels right-wing populism.  It’s not just that no editor would publish photos of a male politician in his jocks, it’s also that the tabloids would never treat a ‘respectable’ female politician the way they treat Hanson. Because she’s unpolished and unsophisticated, she’s seen as fair game — which, of course, will only further convince her supporters that the ‘elites’ are conspiring against them.

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Jeff Sparrow is the former editor of Overland. He is the co-author (with Jill Sparrow) of Radical Melbourne: A Secret History and Radical Melbourne 2: The Enemy Within, the editor (with Antony Loewenstein) of Left Turn: Essays for the New Left and the author of Communism: a love story, Killing: Misadventures in violence, and Money Shot: A Journey into Censorship and Porn.  On Twitter, he's @Jeff_Sparrow.

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  1. Pauline Hanson IS fair game. Not because she is unsophisticated, but because she is a racist whack job whose election bids are always partly on (false) moral high-grounds. We need to ask if raunchy nude pics of say, a male Family First candidate surfaced, they would be as broadly reproduced. I believe they would.

    Hanson has also probably made quite a living appearing, sometimes in dance leotards, in the same tabloid publications now ‘turning against her’.

    I couldn’t read your Crikey article because the link was a subscription hook, which of course I resent, but…do these sound familiar?

    Malcolm Turnball is an ‘out of touch self-made millionaire’.
    Julia Gillard is not fit to lead the country because she is ‘deliberately barren’
    Remember the scandal over Abbott’s ‘adopted-out biological son’?
    The furore over the Therese Rein’s job network millions?

    The media’s treatment of Hanson may well be classist and sexist, and this might not be lessened by the fact that the woman herself is classist and racist, but I’ll bet there are a lot of people out there saying words like: mean, justify and ends.

    I’m not so sure about your assessment that this will strengthen her following, but then I might be more convinced if I could read the article.

  2. Don’t get me wrong — I’m not saying she’s the voice of the workers or anything like that. Fully agree that she’s a racist whack job who needs to be politically defeated. But I think that what the Telegraph has done will help her much more than it will hurt her. One Nation got its support from people who thought the inner city elites treated them with disdain. What better evidence than this nasty sexist smear against Hanson?
    Yes, I do think it’s comparable to the attacks on Gillard, which were equally outrageous. But stuff with Turnbull is different, cos in his case it’s political. I mean, the man is a millionaire, which puts him in a different category to most of the population.

  3. I read your article and thought it made a good point. I had an unusual media free couple of days and only became aware of this whole thing when I caught Media Watch last night. I was horrified because there is no way that it could be justified as in the public interests, its sexist, and nasty self serving invasion of privacy that fails completely to attack Hanson politically. My thought was that it will only aid her by drumming up sympathy. I hadn’t really considered the calss angle until I read your article.

  4. I disagree with Maxine – It is no more acceptable to have pics like those of Hanson floating around that it is of Julia Guillard or any other female politician. It reduces all female politicians to be treated in this way. And I’d say ‘all politicians’ if anyone ever thought it okay to publish similar photos of the blokes. It is simply a case of not analysing a politician’s policies but showing us her tits instead. And doesn’t Hanson, of all people, need her policies examined closely?

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