The Dawn Chorus

Fresh Australian Feminism

Posts Tagged ‘television’

Sunrise Asks Its Viewers: “Are Women To Blame For Footballers Behaving Badly?”

Posted by Clem Bastow on October 6, 2008

Thanks to keen-eyed and early-rising reader Christine for the heads up on this little doozy: Channel Seven’s Sunrise (those storied social justice merchants) chose for their “soapbox” topic this morning, “Are Women To Blame For Footballers Behaving Badly?

I missed the on-air discussion so can make no comment about that, but here’s the website’s slug:

Scandals plagued all codes of football in Australia in the last year.

The worst incidents gaining national coverage were often blamed on alcohol or drug abuse, but could the women around the footballers be to blame?

A study called “Rogue men and predatory women – female fans’ perceptions of Australian footballers’ sexual conduct” has just been published in a Sociology journal with very revealing findings.

That introductory paragraph doesn’t bode well for the findings, does it? Said research revealed the following:

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Posted in Media Watch, Politics, Sex And Love, Sport | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Ladette To Lady Comes Down Under

Posted by hannahcolman on July 31, 2008

Fellow Australians, be warned! A local version of the UK reality program Ladette to Lady will be hitting our screens in the very near future. In an article published in The Sunday Age, Peter Munro examines the controversial show while providing us with the eye-opening attitudes of some young women at a bar in Bundoora. The women interviewed for the article seem to have been strategically chosen to illustrate the type of participants that the Australian version of the program will most likely feature. For starters:

“We are real classy girls, but when you get a drink into us we are f–kin’, like, oh, my God, the dirtiest people ever,” says Lynda Evans, 18, waving an alcopop in the air. “Having fun is the main thing in life. Who cares if you can arrange flowers or bake a cake — you can buy cakes from a cake shop.”

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the Ladette to Lady format, the program basically takes a bunch of ladettes – “foul-mouthed, loud and uncultured young [women]”, and transforms them into ‘ladies’.

Now, I’ve seen bits and pieces of the English series and the whole premise of the show really irks me. Essentially it’s just a platform for reinforcing seriously outdated notions of a woman’s role in society, thinly veiled as ratings-grabbing, shock value viewing. Munro explains:

Successful ladettes will be flown to an English finishing school, where they will study floristry, cooking, elocution and needlework.

Needlework? I’m sorry, what year is it again? He continues:

The finale will be a debutante ball, where the budding ladies will parade before young male suitors.

Once I’d finished cringing, I had a flashback to an excellent article that Catherine Deveny wrote for The Age about the tradition of the deb ball. In it, she compared girls at their ‘debs’ with cows in a saleyard. Enough said.

Don’t get me wrong- I think some of the behaviour that these young women are engaging in is cause for concern. But surely teaching them how to cross-stitch isn’t the answer.

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Posted in Media Watch | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

ANTM: Demelza Unwittingly Highlights The Problem With The Australian Modelling Industry

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 27, 2008

The finalé of Australia’s Next Top Model is next Tuesday, so both finalists are working the press in the rush for last minute hits of Foxtel’s big red remote control button. Naturally this means both girls are having a go at each other (because it just wouldn’t be interesting if they were encouraged to support each other), and this is what 16-year-old Demelza Revely has to say about her rival, 21-year-old Alexandra Girdwood:

“I guess I’d be a little more concerned if I was her,” Reveley said.

“I mean, she’s 21 now, so she’s kind of running out of time to do this and to make it in this industry.

“There is a short shelf-life being a model and that’s just the way it is.

“I’d feel worried if I was in her shoes.”

The worst thing about all this is that she’s probably right; even if Alex wins, the Australian fashion industry does seem to be possibly even more obsessed with age than its European and American counterparts. It seems that overseas, if you have the right look, you will work, whether you are 15 or 28. And when you combine the need to be a certain size with the need to be of a very young age, you get into decidedly dangerous territory – just ask Demelza, she might be the right age, but she’s had to lose 10cm from her hips.

(Incidentally, if you want incisive and hilarious commentary on AusNTM, head to PetStarr’s hysterical blog, Bland Canyon. There’s only one wrap to go but there’s an afternoon’s worth of archive to trawl through.)

Posted in Media Watch | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

‘Britain’s Missing Top Model’: Enlightening Or Othering?

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 26, 2008

Britain\'s Missing Top Model

BBC3’s ‘Beauty Season‘ programming (for July) features a number of shows dedicated to exploring and exploding the myths of “beauty”. One show features Mis-Teeq’s Alesha Dixon shining a light on airbrushing and retouching, another sees ex-Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq taking a ‘when beauty treatments go wrong’ angle, but perhaps the most compelling of all the shows is Britain’s Missing Top Model, a six-part reality/documentary series that will track eight women of differing abilities in their attempts to convince “industry experts” that they can cut it in the modelling industry.

It’s not the first time the fashion industry has tried to pushed the boundaries of how we see “beautiful” – photographer Nick Night and designer Alexander McQueen collaborated with double-amputee Paralympian and model Aimee Mullins (amongst others) for their 1998 Dazed+Confused shoot, Fashion-Able. And on America’s Next Top Model, Cycle 3’s Amanda (who is legally blind) and Cycle 9’s Heather (who has Asperger’s Syndrome).

But I guess what I find slightly uneasy about Britain’s Missing Top Model – apart from the title, which surely flies in the face of what the show is trying to achieve; if they’re trying to show that these women still have what it takes, why focus the title on the things they don’t have? – is wondering, in the end, to what extent these shows do help broaden the average viewer’s horizons.

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Posted in Media Watch | Tagged: , , , | 5 Comments »

Sam Newman Apologises For Offending… People

Posted by Clem Bastow on June 26, 2008

Sam Newman last night apologised in a fairly vague manner for his recent “behaviour” on The Footy Show (i.e. stapling a photo of Caroline Wilson’s face to a lingerie-clad mannequin and then groping it between the ‘legs’. Oh, and then calling the female AFL board members “liars and hypocrites”. And then…).

Here’s what he said on Channel Nine News:

“I’m sorry, I have obviously offended people, and for that I’m sorry,” Newman said on Channel 9 news last night.


He said counselling had helped him to see he could be abrasive, rude and arrogant.

“Can you believe that? You could knock me down with some plumage that people could think that about me.

“Maybe I could just moderate some of the things I do.”

Is it just me, or is that apology a bit non-specific? You would’ve thought that his borderline slandering of Dr Susan Alberti, Beverly Knight, Sally Capp, Peggy Haines and the five other female signatories who wrote to Nine calling for Newman to be counselled would surely deserve a separate, public apology.

The thing is, an apology was absolutely necessary in general, but to say he has “offended people” – well, the simple fact is that the majority of The Footy Show‘s viewers probably thought it was totally hilarious. I realise it’s just semantics but his apology is so vague it doesn’t really address why “people” were offended in the first place.

Meanwhile, this is what Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight has to say about it all:

Herald Sun cartoonist Mark Knight\'s take on the issue

Pretty telling, isn’t it? Poor old persecuted Sam, being attacked by those nasty women (zombie mannequins, if we are to take his Romero-esque title at face value) who are all the same, and just want to ruin his harmless fun. What’s your take on the whole mess?

Posted in Media Watch | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »