Backlash: how the government is trying to sneak out of its Me Too mess

The personal attacks have been so ham-fisted they’ve generated a backlash to the backlash. But a poorly implemented plan is a plan all the same.

Scott Morrison Tanya PlibersekScott Morrison Tanya Plibersek

(Image: AAP/Mick Tsikas)

Well, that was quick. After one mishandled press conference and a handful of tidying-up articles, it seems we’re already into the “backlash” stage of the Me Too reckoning within Australian Parliament.

It’s playing out much as you’d expect. There are attempts to tear down women making a stand, and a lot of misdirection. It’s a mix of a “what are you gonna do?” with “you just can’t please some people”.

There’s a seeming inevitability to it. In her 1991 book of the same name, US writer Susan Faludi popularised the term as a recurring phenomenon: “[backlash] returns every time women begin to make some headway towards equality, a seemingly inevitable early frost to the brief flowerings of feminism”.

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