The growing media obsession with both Julia Gillard’s physical appearance and her marital status could be dismissed as indicative of both the essential inanity of the press and its casual sexism.

That’s certainly enough as it is. The media subjects female politicians to a blatant double standard, requiring them to conform to standards on physical presentation and lifestyle choices that are never applied to men. Moreover, it’s not as if the media perpetuates a single stereotype to which female politicians must conform. Instead, it’s a constantly changing set of requirements that means there’s always something to criticise and the media always wins. Look too good, you’re condemned as vacuous, or reliant on your appearance.