You are a respected, Walkley Award winning journalist.
You are held in such high esteem you are appointed Europe Bureau Chief by the ABC, based in London.
A tragedy takes place in Paris.
You rush from London to cover one of the most tragic events of the year.
You are reporting on the unfolding events in Paris, delivering breaking news, valued insights, and work around the clock to do so.
A viewer then sends you a tweet, complaining, because you have been … wearing the same jacket while reporting from Paris.
Seriously. That’s what just happened to Lisa Millar.
I have seen the ridiculous double standards for women in the workplace, and in public life, many, many times before, but this tweet has taken the issue to stratospheric ridiculousness.
Millar was reporting about a barbaric, terrorist attack on Paris, where over a hundred people had just lost their lives, in the worst atrocity committed against the people of France since WWII.
Stephen Blackman’s biggest concern? Millar’s wardrobe. I smell misplaced priorities, spiced up with a healthy dose of sexism, Mr Blackman.
It’s curious that Millar would be the one pulled up on her outfit, especially as the men reporting from Paris, and reporters who worked on other breaking news stories around the world, pointed out many of them wore the same outfit in Paris, and elsewhere around the world, for days …
The ABC’s International Editor Michael Carey, and journalist James McHale, couldn’t even pretend to hide their contempt and sarcasm:
Ironically, Mr Blackman’s tweet came almost a year to the date on which TV presenter Karl Stefanovic revealed he conducted an experiment over the previous 12 months. He wore the same suit on Channel 9’s Today program almost every day, waiting to see if anyone would notice. No one did. For over a year. The story made international news.
Stefanovic conducted the experiment to highlight the double standards his female colleagues are subjected to.
While we all had a good laugh at Mr Blackman’s ridiculous attitude, as revealed by his tweet, there is something culturally sinister behind the fact he thought it proper to put it out there.
The criticism of women, especially those in public life, over what they wear and how they look, is just another manifestation of the underlying sexism that permeates our cultures and societies.
Sexism and misogyny manifest in many forms, from earning less for performing the same jobs, and not being afforded the same advancement or leadership opportunities as men, to the denial of education, and being subjected to sexual exploitation and violence, such as rape, sexual servitude, and female genital mutilation.
No manifestation of sexism or misogyny should be tolerated, overlooked, or accepted.
Do not fall for arguments that some of these manifestations are trivial, as they are trivial only to those who don’t think there is a problem at all, usually because they are not subjected to them.
Do not fall for arguments that grasp at ‘cultural relativism’ to explain away, or belittle, manifestations of sexism and misogyny, because such arguments are intellectually and morally bankrupt.
• 62 dead women … little or no tangible action
• Women’s rights must become a global priority
• Police fine woman $500 for stealing $6.75 tampons, brag about it on Twitter
• Another Christian devotee shows ‘contumacious disregard’ for the law
• ‘Reclaim Australia’ makes another dirty splash
Eventually, after a barrage of responses from the public, Mr Blackman conceded ‘how you dress is your business……’ But not before he tried to make it look like he did it all for a … bet.
How big of him!