Book Review: Destroying the joint. Edited by Jane Caro

On August 31, 2012, a certain AM radio "shock jock” loudly and proudly declared that women, as leaders, were incompetent and unfit to occupy positions of power. To quote him directly, women, as leaders were “destroying the joint.” What was said wasn’t anything new, or surprising. It had been said a million times before, often in subtle ways, in workplaces across the world. What hit a nerve with Australia's feminist community was the openness with which those words were so carelessly uttered. He wasn't even trying to hide his prejudice anymore – in his eyes, discrimination against women was not only acceptable but also desirable.

That night, at home, social commentator and journalist Jane Caro unintentionally, but very effectively started a twitter hashtag, #destroythejoint, which rapidly evolved into the feminist movement it is today. Today, the destroy the joint movement has over 80,000 followers, both male and female, and seeks to unite those in Australia who want equality for all.

Jane’s superb editorial of this collection of essays from prominent Australian women, from senators to budding teenage feminists, and the incomparable late Stella Young, is well worth a read whether you’re a fledgling or seasoned feminist. Crafted in direct response to Mr. Jones’ comments, it covers everything from the environmental impact of discrimination to the murky line between freedom of speech and discrimination. Ms. Young's essay on the invisibility of the disabled woman, Emily Maguire's global take on gender-based discrimination and Nina Funnel's very amusing thoughts on menstruation were highlights. There's plenty of relevance to medical practice, with much discussion on the ongoing issue of gender-based discrimination at work, the reluctance to promote females to leadership roles and the added pressures associated with being a woman leader. Although diverse in their approach, these sensational women often came back to the one sticking point - if patriarchy, discrimination, invisibility, and stigma constituted the “joint” then we should all be hell bent on destroying it.

I, for one, couldn’t agree more.

Publisher - University of Queensland Press, 2013

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