“The world’s biggest pain in the arse”

At a Sydney Media Club lunch on Wednesday, the 7.30 host Leigh Sales was asked to talk about her experiences as a woman making a successful career. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Bianca De Marchi

The fact is that the way evolution has worked its way through the millennia, men do everything they can to accommodate women. “Women and children first” was, and probably still is, the mantra in any emergency where lives are at risk. Men die so that women can survive and bring on the next generation. There is not necessarily a lot of gratitude that comes with the actions taken by men, but that is how it has always been.

Which brings me to this, which is hard not to take as a parody, but apparently it is real. ABC 7.30 anchor Leigh Sales’s honest words about sexism in Australia. Everything you read below is in quotes:

“I do think, from speaking to a lot of female friends and colleagues, there are also just what I would call minor little slights, that happen all the time and which constantly make you feel like the world is designed mostly for men to be in key positions.”

“When it happens individually it’s nothing, but when it happens all the time, taken together, it can be a lot.”

So what are these horrors she has had to endure?

As an example, she said wireless microphones often used during public speaking engagements were designed for men’s clothes, and required a sturdy lapel, a heavy belt and a coat to cover it up.

“I’m always made to feel a little bit inconvenient,” she said.

There were other examples as well — such as being made to feel annoying for needing to use the toilet and being told her male counterpart never had that need; and male colleagues setting up windy filming locations suitable for men with short hair, but not women with long hair.

“Nobody involved in any of these incidents do I consider sexist, or bad people, or anything of that nature. In isolation, (the incidents) are all totally minor,” Sales said.

But it’s also the fact that all of these things can be immediately skewed to make me sound like the world’s biggest pain in the arse … It’s very easy for women in these situations to turn into the person who is ‘the problem’. When actually, the problem is that this is designed for men.”

Oh how she must suffer! But then there is this to add on to the rest: Now Chanel’s petition is leading a sex education revolution. I have to say that I find this story quite incredible and not charming in the least.

Chanel Contos has spent most of the last two weeks in her room in London, watching events in Sydney play out on her laptop.

“She rang her father first, to give him a heads up. ‘He was at a party, and I said: “I have to tell you something. I’m about to do an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald. By the way, I got sexually assaulted when I was 13. Bye!” He was like: “What?” It was confronting for dad at first.'”

Was it the man who lived next door, her uncle or some fellow teenage lad who was trying to work out how to approach a young maid?

She believes there has been some tangible change: from the people who have told her they have understood, for the first time in their lives, that they experienced sexual assault and it wasn’t their fault.

How could they not have known that they had been sexually assaulted? But what I am most interested in is what ought to be done. I do not doubt that young women find the going more difficult than in my time, but I cannot picture what the rules are or should be, and who is supposed to enforce them.

So here is another vacuous bit of empty rhetoric with nothing there about what the rules should be. If Chanel was assaulted when she was thirteen but never mentioned anything to her father for more than a decade, seriously, what specifically does she want done? This will not help at all: Embed consent education in school curriculum, Liberal MP urges.

Dr Martin said education about protective behaviours should begin as soon as children started to talk, in an age-appropriate way such as reading a picture book like Tess Rowley’s Everybody’s Got A Bottom. Protective behaviours include teaching young children the proper names for body parts, what is private and how to respect and protect their bodies.

Relationship skills could also start being taught to preschool children through conversations about who their friends were, who they played with and what made a good friendship, she said. As children got older, this could evolve into assertiveness training, giving them the confidence to speak up against bullying or about other unhealthy relationships.

Consent means a girl gets to choose which boy she will pair off with, not that there will be no pairing off at all.

BTW Leigh and Chanel, if you were on The Titanic, would you get into the lifeboat first? I bet you would.

2 thoughts on ““The world’s biggest pain in the arse”

  1. Pingback: “The world’s biggest pain in the arse” - The Rabbit Hole

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