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I think all women should wear heels, I just can’t take them seriously otherwise,' he said, with a smile.It wasn’t exactly what I was expecting a male senior executive to say to me following a business pitch.I used to live in Dubai, where abortion is illegal and being gay is punishable by death, so it wasn't like I was shocked.I just didn't expect that to be the case in a country that's often portrayed as sunny and fun. In fact, I've never seen the same deep-seated and openly acceptable sexist attitudes that exist in Australia anywhere else – including The Middle East.I’ve also had my knowledge of current affairs met with utter incredulity, not because of my political leanings, but because I – a woman – know anything about it at all.The last time I went on a date with an Australian man, I thought I’d finally cracked it when, after I explained what I did, he said it was good I had a career path as he’d never go out with anyone who had no drive or ambition.While on dates with Australian men, I’ve been accused of being ‘one of those stupid feminists who thinks they can buy a man’ because I bought the second round of drink.
On a menu for a Liberal National Party fundraiser, they declared they were serving up Julia Gillard quail with ‘small breasts, huge thighs and a big red box’ – and when there was a furore over it, dismissed it as ‘just a joke’ between the event’s two organisers.
After all, what could a woman possibly have to contribute to serious men’s business?
Challenge the misogynistic status quo, you’re told it’s clear you don’t ‘get’ Australian humour – it’s just the ‘blokey’ culture, nothing to be taken seriously.
When current PM Tony Abbott led protests against her leadership, his supporters held up placards emblazoned with the words ‘bitch’ and 'witch’.
It makes David Cameron telling Angela Eagle to ‘calm down, dear’ during a Commons exchange look tame by comparison.