Since we published this post earlier, this updated version has been written by The Boys’ Club author Wendy Squires.
Heard the one about the female television executive?
Nah, neither did I. There’s no such thing.
This joke may not be an absolute truth but as Sydney Confidential’s Annette Sharp so deftly pointed out this morning, it’s close enough to not be funny.
A couple of years ago I wrote a book called The Boys’ Club, loosely based on my torrid, short-lived experience as a television executive.
In the book the female protagonist worked at the fictional Channel 6, where the only females allowed to the upper echelons of its harrowed halls, were routinely told to “take a bit of sperm for the firm”, “give a blowie” to a problem male talent at contract renewal time or asked if they were “on their rags” for exhibiting consternation.
While every one of these sexist slights has happened to me or someone close in my media career, they certainly weren’t confined to TV types. Not at all. But with that said, holy hell, there sure are a lot of them still roaming the Jurassic park of free to air.
In the new age world, these suit-wearing T-Rexs seem stuck at an evolutionary scale nudging single cell. For them, women need to be “fuckable” to be on air, which can be read as thin, young, not too ethnic (if the boobs are good enough though that can be overlooked) and willing to be humiliated.
Writing of this world stuck in a sexist groove, Annette asks, after viewing of Channel 9’s soon-to-be-aired Australian version of the US series, Celebrity Apprentice:
WHY is it appropriate to ask celebrity women to wear bikinis and strip to their undies to wash cars but not their male counterparts?
Is it because some women expect to be humiliated in return for the opportunity to earn money for their favourite charity on reality TV shows?”
“Is it because most television executives are bonehead men?”
Readers please check all of the above.
…The first challenge for the male and female celebrities participating on the show was to wash cars to raise money for charity. …
. Bonus donations were earned if the participants went beyond the call of duty.
And how did producers interpret that exactly? They looked at the women and asked them to take their clothes off.
… The message? This is what women are required to do to get ahead in business.
…..How sexist must Australian TV get before producers start coming up with some ideas?
Good point Annette. Let’s ask Lara Bingle, who was asked to pose in a green and gold bikini and cricket pads to promote her role as the face of TV cricket?
And what about some of the female stars of Underbelly, whose breasts had more on-air time than their faces? Or the recent early The Block contestants, two attractive twin sisters were given disproportionate air time to other contestants. Shorts and tight white singlets anyone?
Perhaps if some women actually had a voice to say “er, boys, best take your hands off it a while, it’s embarrassing and degrading” in more network boardrooms, maybe things would be different.
Just maybe, if the women who really hold the remote at home were represented when these programming decisions were made, Annette may have been able to concentrate on the production qualities of Celebrity Apprentice. And perhaps if women, who actually buy the advertiser product that keeps commercial free to air on air, had programming catered to their tastes, everyone would be happier and wealthier.
But that’s not about to happen it seems while networks remain vaginaphobic. Not that they are against the actual sexual organs, of course. A flash of pubes is a sure-fire ratings spike. Now, if only they could get the weather girls to comply.
Take a look at the shots below…….
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