PASSIONATE SPEECH: Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
PASSIONATE SPEECH: Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Getty Images

Please don't mess with misogyny!

A LOT of people got a kick out of Julia Gillard's 15-minute assault on Tony Abbott.

I can't blame them.

I have to admit I also felt a degree of satisfaction in seeing a stony-faced Abbott sit opposite the PM, virtually silent, for a good quarter of an hour while he copped a spray in Parliament.

The speech certainly was worthy of the news coverage, for it is rare to see Mr Abbott keep his mouth closed for such a long time.

But was it worthy of changing the dictionary to suit?

It what some have viewed as opportunism, the Macquarie Dictionary announced this week that Ms Gillard's now famous speech was the catalyst for a softening of the meaning "misogyny".

Traditionally used as a noun to describe the pathological hatred of women, the Macquarie Dictionary will now alter the meaning to include an "entrenched prejudice against women".

Dictionary editor Susan Butler said the change was a long time coming.

"Since the 1980s misogyny has been used as a synonym for sexism - a synonym with bite but nevertheless with the meaning of 'entrenched prejudice against women' rather than pathological hatred," Ms Butler said.

This creates a confusing situation when it comes to Mr Abbott, because as much as he has embarrassed himself with his comments about women, I never considered him a misogynist.

Ms Gillard should be free to spurt insults at her opposition - at her own risk of course - but let's not forget that politicians are known to stretch the truth.

With one simple alteration of the dictionary, Mr Abbott has gone from plain old antiquated sexist to a mean and nasty misogynist.

What's next; Abbott's mug in the dictionary next to the word? Perhaps a picture of the offending shoe that Ms Gillard wore in India? And another question, what do we now call those people who actually have a pathological hatred of women?



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