Here's the email from Tomlinson, which was published along with an interesting commentary, over at Crikey.com;
So, there are many, many points to make about this, least of which is to note that when he wrote this email, Tomlinson was reported to be working as a media advisor to Queensland LNP Senator Ian Macdonald. What a shithouse media adviser this guy must have been. I mean, seriously! What kind of advice was he giving Senator Macdonald? I shudder to think.
Because despite him pleading otherwise, Tomlinson's email serves as an excellent example of "bias, s-xism, misogyny, chauvinism etc. etc. ad infinitum". The argument he puts forward, that men have a biologically determined superiority, sounds like some fundamentalist bullshit that is not only patronising and offensive to women, but also to most men. Unfortunately, this email suggests that it is Mr Tomlinson himself who is not so "naturally equipped to succeed", especially not if he thinks that the emails he sends are ever 'private'.
Unfortunately, Tomlinson does himself, his wife and any children they may have, a massive disservice by suggesting that women inherently lack the capacity to be successful, creative, adventurous, determined and otherwise bad-ass. Because, despite the attitudes and aspirations of men like Tomlinson and their misguided 'facts of biology', women have been and are all of these things. Not always of course. Like some men, some women women are uninterested or lazy or happy to cruise along in life, all of which is fine by me. And sure, women may have some physiological differences than some men, but while this might mean they can't run quite as fast or jump quite as high, it does not preclude women from working hard, achieving goals and succeeding in ways that are hugely inspiring and significant.
To paraphrase Mr Tomlinson, 'Sorry Max, but that is fact, not fiction.'
In amongst the vitriol of his sexist email, Tomlinson fails to understand that part of what 'sourpuss' feminists are trying to do is to point out such women and their successes - to bring them to light in a world where men's achievements have historically been the overwhelming focus. This endeavour is not an attempt to ridicule, belittle or diminish men, but instead to add to what we know of the world and the ways we can imagine it. Feminism isn't man-hating, nor is it opposed to women becoming wives, mothers or homemakers. Far from it! Feminism - the feminism I subscribe to anyway - questions our assumptions about men and women, and tries to provide space and opportunities for us all to move beyond them to be women and men in a range of ways, rather than subscribing to existing ideals. Tomlinson and his ideas are offensive because they suggest that not only have women never achieved any kind of 'success' and are biologically incapable of doing so, but also because in making this point he also diminishes the contributions to the world of women who bear children and keep homes. Basically, women can't win.
It is also worth pointing out that sadly, in their article about this incident, the BrisbaneTimes effectively buys into Tomlinson's nonsense by finishing with a defence of Carole Ford's credentials as a feminist by promoting her status as a wife and mother;
So thanks for the reminder, ex-LNP media adviser, Max Tomlinson. You self-important, self-righteous, sexist, ignorant bully. The men I know in my life are loving, supportive, open-minded, inspiring people, who are not only confident in their own male-ness, but remain unthreatened by the myriad successes of the women around them. Rather, they are proud of them! Your nastiness and sexism served only to remind me that this stuff still goes on and that outdated attitudes like yours continue to exist. And now that you yourself are unemployed, Max, just remember that the most important, "sacrificial", "life-giving" work goes on in the home, so give your wife a hand!
*For the information of those of you beyond Australian political shores, despite the big L in their party name, they are not liberal, politically. They're conservatives, they're Tories. They're the Australian version of America's Republican party.