Cracking the dress code

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  • Published 20130604
  • ISBN: 9781922079978
  • Extent: 288 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

GERMAINE GREER HAD been responding to a questioner on the ABC’s Q&A program (March 19, 2012), who asked what advice the panel would give to the Prime Minister Julia Gillard on her image problem. Gillard’s style was dry and somewhat terse, Greer said, but there were lots of good things about her. She was an administrator, who knew how to get things done. ‘It’s unglamorous, it’s not star material but it’s what she’s been doing… What I want her to do is get rid of those bloody jackets!’

The last comment was a flash of mischievous insight that seemed to take Greer herself by surprise, following the rather sober way she’d approached the question. Clearly enjoying the instantaneous response from the studio audience, she added: ‘They don’t fit.’ If only she had stopped there, but by now the impulse to stir was irresistible. The jackets didn’t fit because they were cut too narrow in the hips. ‘You’ve got a big arse, Julia. Get over it.’ That was the line that went viral, and Greer was widely condemned for a betrayal of feminist principles. At her next appearance on Q&A, she was called to account but was unrepentant, and provoked a kind of scandalised hilarity as she expanded freely on the matter of the Prime Minister’s body shape and the need to rejoice in the fullness of female anatomy.

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