Most women watching Julia Gillard's speech to Parliament last Tuesday would have felt that silent cheer.
If you forgot the context, didn't over-scrutinise the substance and just saw a powerful woman calling out sexism and saying she had had enough, it was arresting.
Any woman who has ever been put down, talked over, dismissed, demeaned, overlooked or derided - in ways a male colleague would never be - was probably transfixed.
And let's face it, that's most women, except for the very fortunate columnist Judith Sloan, who wrote this week that she had not encountered any sexism in her entire career.
The further away from the context people were, the more transfixed by the speech they seemed to be.
It went viral. Commentators and bloggers around the world gasped. The fact that journalists in Canberra appeared less transfixed was - according to another columnist, Anne Summers - because the press gallery has ''tone-deaf ears''.
Maybe we do. But the take-out from Canberra was also because our job is to look closely at the context.
Like the context that the speech was part of a deliberate, tested strategy of capitalising on the Coalition's relative unpopularity with women due to Tony Abbott's political aggression by conflating it with the unsupportable allegation that he actually hates females.
It allows Labor to remind voters of a whole string of statements Abbott made before he became Opposition Leader, which he has been at pains not to repeat since. That's perfectly valid strategy, it might even be of service to voters, but it is not consistent with the impression from afar that the speech was entirely and solely the result of a woman who was mad as hell and not taking it any more.
Yes, Australia's first female prime minister has been subject to gender-based vilification and yes, she was unbottling genuine anger in a genuinely powerful speech, but she was doing it as part of a plan.
Or like the context that the speech was given to defend the indefensible, namely the continuation of Peter Slipper in the role of speaker after the latest ream of offensive and explicit text messages were revealed.
That assessment is not an unthinking acceptance of the ''spin'' fed by the opposition, as several commentators and bloggers have maintained, nor the ''spin'' by Gillard's opponents in the Labor Party for that matter. It was actually what the debate was about. She was arguing that the Parliament should not vote for Slipper's removal.
The later spin, fed by the government, that Labor had not wanted to give Abbott ''a win'' and had known before the Prime Minister's speech that Slipper had decided to resign later that night, reveals just how entwined in raw politics this discussion of sexism actually is.
It also does not concur with the statements by independent MPs Rob Oakeshott and Tony Windsor who say he made the decision, primarily because of their persuading, about half an hour after the Prime Minister finished speaking. The leader of government business in the house, Anthony Albanese, arrived during the meeting.
The government and the independents were concerned about Slipper's emotional health and wanted to allow him to make a more dignified exit, but we had learnt of his text about female genitalia the previous week.
The government subsequently agreed that these texts were a big part of the reason Slipper's position had become untenable, so it seems strange they did not start trying to persuade him to go earlier, instead of coming to that conclusion after Abbott moved in the Parliament to remove him and after Oakeshott and Windsor had told him they couldn't continue to support him in the role.
To be clear, I thought Gillard gave a great speech, but that it was delivered for at least some of the wrong reasons, in the wrong context, at the wrong time.
That was a shame, as was the fact that the debate so quickly descended into false moral equivalence with the tit-for-tat production of endless examples of tasteless or sexist language and off-colour jokes and the mutual accusations of hypocrisy. Not to mention the shame that there were so many examples available.
It was also a shame that, in all the fracas about sexism, actual policies that would have a huge impact on women received much less attention. For example, Parliament passed a bill that will result in single parents, primarily women, shifted on to Newstart allowance, costing them at least $100 a week. Many members of Labor's own caucus think this budget savings measure - even with extra programs to help single parents find work - will prove both counterproductive and cruel.
I'm certainly not about to start defending everything written or said by every member of the press gallery which, contrary to what some seem to believe, is a big group of people with hugely divergent work practices, interests, opinions and views. And I reckon the more perspectives available in the political debate, particularly from outside the gallery, the better.
But I do take issue with the suggestion that the differences in response is because the Canberra press gallery is oblivious to how ''real people'' think. Apparently juggling work and kids and doing the shopping and getting to weekend sport on time - as most members of the press gallery do - all occurs inside a ''bubble'' insulating us from ''real'' folk. Of course if it is ever suggested citizens of other places, such as parts of Sydney, are ''out of touch'', that is immediately decried as ''class warfare''.
But I digress. The point is that understanding and calculating the political context, the strategies, the deal-making, the sequences of events, is a critical part of our job. Politics is about presenting a message-as-product, which is what most observers see. We are supposed to gather information and make assessments about how and why the product is made.
Assessing the actual political impact of this out-in-the-open gender debate, rather than simply how it made some people feel as Julia Gillard spoke, is something that will only be possible over time.
And it could also be that one reason the feeling, the silent cheer, the thank-god-someone is-saying-it response was almost entirely missing on the day after the Prime Minister's speech was not because the writers lived in Canberra, but because on that particular day a lot of the most prominent commentary was written by men.
The story PM's speech did stir hearts, but remember the context first appeared on Fairfax Regional Pages.