As I draw all the threads of my thesis together, sigh a big sigh of relief, and start my concluding chapter, my 1950s housewife somewhat ironically nods at me from my facebook page and my twitter account with a hash tag #thankstony and declares, “hang on … I am not done yet.”
On December 23 Tony Abbott, Australia’s Prime Minister revealed that in his opinion his biggest achievement for women in 2014 was his repeal of the carbon tax He said on national television:
Well, you know, it is very important to do the right thing by families and households,” Abbott said. “As many of us know, women are particularly focused on the household budget and the repeal of the carbon tax means a $550 a year benefit for the average family (http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2014/12/22/top-achievement-minister-women-was-carbon-tax-repeal-pm-says accessed 24 December 2014).Christine Milne, the leader of the Greens Party said Abbott had been “a disaster” as minister for women. “He might as well have said that by abolishing the carbon price he’s been able to give women more money to buy a new iron and stay at home and do the ironing more often” (Michael Safi and Shalailah Medhora 22 December 2014 <http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/dec/22/tony-abbott-repealing-carbon-tax-biggest-achievement-minister-for-women>)The article in The Guardian was shared 14,750 times and received 1492 comments, most of them derogatory.My 1950s housewife reappeared on my facebook page and in my twitter account. Social media went nuts with her images and her message to Tony Abbott.
In one image of her, she has been lifted from material culture and in another has been styled. Both refer to the 1950s housewife. Here she is managing the budget and getting on with the housework in this case ironing (a perfect metaphor for her most commonly remembered role smoothing out the wrinkles by keeping the household under control). In 2014 she carries powerful political message from One Million Women (a community of women acting on climate change)
and Getup (an independent movement to build a progressive Australia and bring participation back into our democracy) to Australia’s leaders. Social media is alive with her twitter. Sixty years later, a brand new narrative and through her the potential for political and environmental change.