‘Men need to do better’: Victorian MP’s fashion statement against ‘rife’ online abuse
- Georgie Purcell made a fashion statement to highlight the abuse and harassment female parliamentarians face.
- Ms Purcell said she has experienced abuse and threats for years.
- “Australia is actually one of the most misogynistic countries in the western world,” Ms Purcell said.
A newly-elected Victorian MP has made a fashion statement to highlight the abuse and harassment female parliamentarians face.
To coincide with International Women’s Day, Animal Justice Party MP Georgie Purcell donned a dress plastered with some of the choice slurs she has endured.
They include derogatory comments ranging from “brain dead bimbo”, “skank” and “whore” to the alliterative “tatted up trashbag”.
That isn’t even the worst she has encountered from trolls via social media, emails and sometimes phone calls and texts.
“We actually picked the lower-level messages for this dress because obviously I didn’t want to be walking around with direct threats on my body,” she told reporters on Wednesday.
Ms Purcell, who worked as a stripper and topless waitress before becoming chief of staff to former Animal Justice MP Andy Meddick, said she has experienced abuse and threats for years.
But she was taken aback after delivering her inaugural speech to Victorian parliament last month.
“The first notification I saw on my phone was someone calling me a whore-ible person,” Ms Purcell said.
“The most scary thing about being a female politician is that you are accessible in a way you can’t control and we need to make it safer for us.”
Parliamentary staff, she said, respond when MPs receive a direct threat but are powerless to act on abuse, name-calling and gendered language.
She has called for the state government to implement recommendations from a Gender Equity Victoria report last year into gendered online harassment of women in politics.
It suggested mandatory training and development of staff on online safety and the allocation of more staff to assist with social media management.
“Australia is actually one of the most misogynistic countries in the western world,” Ms Purcell said.
“Online abuse is rife for us as female MPs but its rife for women everywhere and the answer is that men need to do better.”
Victoria’s 128-seat parliament is made up of 62 women and 66 men.
The Victorian Labor government has more women (37) than men (34) in its caucus, while 16 of the coalition’s 42 MPs are women.