Yassmin Abdel-Magied has returned to Australian shores, and it seems she is even more out of touch than when she left.
On The Project on Wednesday night, an apparent effort to open up to the Australian public and bare her bleeding heart, she compared her experience of Australia to that of an abusive relationship.
It may seem innocuous at first, but let’s consider the depth of ignorance that such a comment betrays: that being the occasional target of online trolls somehow equates to the experience of consistent and inescapable abuse by a family member or domestic partner.
“Too deep? (Did I get) in too deep?” she laughed.
No, Yassmin. It’s just not funny.
It truly takes a special sort of ignorance for a person to assume that the experience of online backlash for their consistently privileged criticism of Australian values in the course of their high-profile and generously taxpayer-remunerated jobs can somehow be reasonably compared to the terrifying experiences of thousands of women across our country who are physically, sexually and emotionally assaulted in secret on a daily basis.
What’s more, Australia is a country, not a boyfriend. Australia does not exist to be Yassmin’s pillow at night, to make her eggs in the morning after a sleep in, or to take her to the movies to catch the latest romantic comedy. And Australia certainly does not exist to justify every tweet Yassmin ever made.
But engaging in Yassmin’s ill-conceived metaphor for a moment, it’s pretty clear that if Australia was her boyfriend, she definitely got dumped, and it wasn’t Australia at fault in the relationship.
It’s true, there was a moment some time ago; let’s call it the honeymoon phase, where Australia thought the relationship was going to work. Good ol’ Australia did a lot of things together with her; board promotions, media air time, and even generously funded her book tour.
It’s a well-understood concept however, that relationships are a two way street. Usually, you cannot expect to betray your partner’s interests with no consideration for their feelings and no consequences for your behaviour. Usually, you cannot expect to insult them on twitter, or laugh at their values in the national news, and think it will all be fine.
And you especially cannot then turn around and expect sympathy when all of Australia’s friends take Australia’s side in the inevitable breakup.
Australia didn’t call Yassmin after the split; we didn’t ask to give it another shot. It wasn’t us. It was her. Australia remembers the hurt, and doesn’t think Yassmin is worth its time or energy.
By appearing back on the Project, Yassmin has just become that clingy teenage ex-partner who sends sad text messages at 2.00 am, six months after the breakup.
A far cry from John F. Kennedy’s “Ask what you can do for your country”, her ill-conceived metaphor proves that Yassmin has chosen to indulge in the less-noble and decidedly pesky alternative, “ask what your country can do for you.”
But Australia has moved on, and much like that sad teenager, it’s time for Yassmin to realise that we’re just not that into her.
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