This is Rachel Wiley performing her poem, 10 Honest Thoughts On Being Loved By A Skinny Boy.
I say, ‘I am fat.’
He says ‘No, you are beautiful.’
I wonder why I cannot be both.
He kisses me
My college theater professor once told me
that despite my talent,
I would never be cast as a romantic lead.
We do plays that involve singing animals
and children with the ability to fly,
but apparently no one
has enough willing suspension of disbelief
to go with anyone loving a fat girl.
I daydream regularly
about fucking my boyfriend vigorously on his front lawn.
On the mornings I do not feel pretty,
while he is still asleep,
I sit on the floor and check the pockets of his skinny jeans for motive,
for a punchline,
for other girls’ phone numbers.
When we hold hands in public,
I wonder if he notices the looks —
like he is handling a parade balloon on a crowded sidewalk;
if he notices that my hands are now made of rope.
Dear Cosmo: Fuck you.
I will not take sex tips from you
on how to please a man you think I do not deserve.
He tells me he loves me with the lights on.
I can cup his hip bone in my hand,
feel his ribs without pressing very hard at all.
He does not believe me when I tell him he is beautiful.
Sometimes I fear the day he does will be the day he leaves.
The cute hipster girl at the coffee shop
assumes we are just friends
and flirts over the counter.
I spend the next two weeks
mentally replacing myself with her
in all of our photographs.
When I admit this to him
we spend the evening taking new photos together.
He will not let me delete a single one of them.
The phrase “Big girls need love too” can die in a fire.
Fucking me does not require an asterisk.
Loving me is not a fetish.
Finding me beautiful is not a novelty.
I am not a fucking novelty.
I say, ‘I am fat.’
He says, ‘No. You are so much more’,
and kisses me
I received this email this morning in response to my Daily Life piece yesterday on the absence of women’s voices in media.
Obviously you have not listened to Lindy Burns on ABC 774 Monday to Friday from 7.00 to 10.00 PM. Prior to this gig she hosted the Drive show for several years.
Before Lindy did Drive we had Virginia Trioli hosting Drive for years and she was brilliant. It’s a pity she went to Sydney , where she did not do as well.
Perhaps a bit more research would make your story a bit more believable.”
And here is where I deliver what I believe is known as a ‘SICK BURN’ to the fellow who took precious time out of his day to prove something I omitted in the written submission of the piece - that people often point to Lindy Burns as proof that gender disparity is a lie.
Interestingly, when I delivered the speech I mentioned people who think the name ‘Lindy Burns’ is somehow proof that women don’t experience sexism in radio. I’m thrilled to have someone prove my point. So thank you for that. You’ve no idea how satisfying it is to have what you predict will happen come true.
As to Virginia Trioli and Lindy Burns being proof that women somehow experience equality in radio just because two of them have worked at the ABC, I’ll add some more to your list.
Kelly Higgins-Devine, Eleanor Hall, Rebecca Levingston, Linda Mottram, Sonya Feldhoff, Gillian O’Shaughnessey, Julia Christensen, Kate O’Toole, Vicki Kerrigan, Nadine Moroney, Sarah Gillman, Penny Terry, Helen Shield, Geneveive Jacobs, Alex Sloan.
16 women across all the major capital cities in local ABC studios in Australia (we must absent Trioli because she no longer works in local radio). Let’s look at the blokes, shall we?
Jon Faine, Richard Fidler, Matt Abraham, David Bevan, Peter Goers, Raphael Epstein, Red Symons, Tony Eastley, Richard Stubbs, Tim Palmer, Tony Delroy, Ian Henschke, Michael Smyth, Adam Spencer, James Valentine, Richard Glover, Dominic Knight, Spencer Howson, Steve Austin, Tim Cox, Jonathan Morrell, Eoin Cameron, Geoff Hutchison, Russell Woolf, Trevor Chappell, Matt Brann, Richard Margetson, Ivor Cole, Stewart Brash, Rohan Barwick, Ryk Goddard, Tony Briscoe, Damien Brown, Ross Solly, Adam Shirley.
35 men. So of 51 people working in ABC local radio across Australia (I looked at Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Hobart, Perth, Canberra, Darwin and Alice Springs), only 31.3% of positions are held by women. This is just shy of supporting my statement that women fill 20 - 30% of the public space.
But when you further consider that, of those 35 men, four of them have shows simulcast around the country (Trevor Chappell, Tony Eastley, Tony Delroy, Tim Palmer are simulcast across 9 stations) and two of them simulcast around parts of the country (Richard Fidler with 7 simulcasts and Dominic Knight with 2) - and only 1 woman can boast similar (Eleanor Hall with The World Today) - then the numbers become a little different.
What we’re then saying is that out of 99 weekday timeslots across 9 different stations, 75 of those have male hosts and only 24 have women. That means only around 24.24% of voices heard around the country on local ABC stations across the board belong to women. Or, to give you a different perspective, 75.76% of those 99 shows belong to men.
So the next time you feel like writing to a woman pointing out inequality to tell her to do your research better, perhaps you should actually do some of your own. Lindy Burns may host the Evenings show on ABC 774, but the state of womanhood isn’t a characteristic whose presence in and of itself signifies thoughtful diversity.
I’m writing to you to express my astonishment at Fairfax’s decision to re-label Daily Life as the ‘Women’s Perspective’ in the redesigns of both The Age and the SMH websites.
I imagine Dominic Knight, Christopher Scanlon and Andrew P Street (among others) will be surprised to realise that all this time they’ve been offering insight into the female condition. The rules of pangender representation DO dictate that men must have a greater than 50% level of input in order to preserve the universal perspective that the existence of a penis ensures. And vaginas have an unfortunately marginalising effect on dialogue, which is how we know to dismiss anything their owners talk about when too many of them are present in any one conversation. But I thought Fairfax prided itself on rejecting tired old stereotypes like that?
Frankly, I expected better from Fairfax when it came to respecting its female writers and readers. As far as I can tell, you and your colleagues have not only completely disregarded the popularity of Daily Life but you’ve demonstrated a woeful lack of respect for your audience - both female AND male. I feel embarrassed that I even have to revisit lessons from Feminism 101 with you, but women’s opinions are neither niche, nor do they need to be packaged as some kind of alternative and/or irrelevant perspective from the norm (that being the default male position, where the real news and change-making occurs). “Women’s Perspective”? For goodness sake, just because Fairfax’s mastheads have gone tabloid physically doesn’t mean they need to follow suit editorially. Could you have chosen a more disparaging way to demonstrate your complete disregard for the contributions Daily Life makes to Fairfax’s digital presence? Do you think it could have even been possible for you to decide on a more patronising tactic to show exactly which sections of the newspaper you think matter and which don’t?
This isn’t just about the woeful label you’ve assigned. To be fair, Daily Life is a proudly female biased website and has never made a secret of that. But the deliberate choice to identify it solely as the ‘women’s perspective’ implies to your readers not just that the views found therein will be either manifestly irrelevant to their lives and can therefore choose to skip them altogether, but also that this perspective (which apparently all women share) is somehow different from what one might find in the rest of the newspaper. You know, the ‘important’ parts. Additionally, to isolate this ‘perspective’ and then bury it beneath sections like Life&Style and Entertainment (sections also dismissed as ‘fluffy women’s stuff’) belies your withering disdain for a website that may have nothing of interest in it FOR YOU, but whose preoccupations and focus are of importance to a great number of women and men.
These are clearly deliberate decisions you’ve made, and I’m appalled by the aggressively sexist way in which you’ve chosen to show just how little you think of the dedicated women and men behind Daily Life. Granted, we may not be providing Australians with hard-hitting stories like Executive Style’s (now featuring prominently in the ‘Business’ section) “Best Watches Under $1000” or how great dress shoes can anchor a man’s wardrobe, but surely articles exploring victim-blaming, the racist whitewashing of ‘universal stories’ and the devastating effect adolescent bullying can have run a close second?
Given the imminent launching of the Guardian Australia - a newspaper which has consistently demonstrated a respect for women’s voices, views and issues - I’m perplexed as to why Fairfax Digital would present itself as the kind of news outlet in which these things are considered ‘other’ and irrelevant. When you consider especially the fact that women make up the largest numbers of information consumers on the internet and are growing increasingly tired of being condescended to by old media and its desperate struggle to become new, the decision seems less perplexing and more outright stupid.
But I guess that’s just my ‘women’s perspective’ talking, and as I learned this morning nobody cares about that.