If you were wondering how it feels to be publicly labelled “mindless bimbo” by another member of your profession, now you know. It feels shattering.
A column over the weekend written by respected TV journalist, Virginia Haussegger, has left Sunrise host Samantha Armytage feeling “shattered, actually”.
In an exclusive interview today for Mia Freedman’s No Filter podcast, Armytage said that despite the public backlash over the Sunrise segment that offended Sex and the City star and UN Ambassador, Kristin Davis, “we women should stick together”.
To hear more about what happened, listen to the full interview here:
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Armytage said she was shocked to wake up on the weekend and find a whole column by Haussegger, a fellow TV journalist, accusing her of “disgracing feminism” and being “daft” and a “mindless bimbo”.
“I’m a journalist of 18 years. You can’t be stupid to do what I do,” Armytage said. She added, “I did have to google her [Haussegger] to find out who she was.”
Armytage says she was particularly hurt that it was a fellow female journalist who criticised her in those terms: “It’s one thing to get it from anonymous people on the internet… but to have an entire column from a reputable media organisation, written by a dedicated member of your own industry, who is a woman in television… to use such base, vile and derogatory words, it was hurtful”.
Armytage says she knew the Sunrise skit was lame, and she was unaware they were going to use the “poo” scene from SATC (the only clip Sunrise ran of Davis from SATC was where she had explosive diarrhea).
Watch more of Sam’s candid conversation with Mia here:
“This is commercial morning TV, not the ABC,” Armytage said. “If you want to complain about it, go work for the ABC.”
Confused about what the fuss is all about? You can watch the entire Sunrise skit below. Post continues after video.
The debate about women in media started last week when Sunrise enlisted Kristin Davis to participate in a skit about Sex and the City. Davis was disappointed and shared that disappointment on Twitter.
On the weekend, veteran ABC TV presenter, Virginia Haussegger, penned a column for Fairfax out of frustration where she said Armytage had “disgraced feminism” and called Armytage a “mindless bimbo”, “daft” and head of the “bimbo brigade”.
Haussegger argued that breakfast TV reinforces the whole dumb woman sidekick routine at the exact same time women’s “knowledge, wisdom and expertise” on television has gone MIA.
“Their nonsense nattering does a major disservice to feminism,” Haussegger wrote. “If Armytage and Co. don’t give a hoot about feminism – fine. But perhaps they should think about women like themselves – glamorous, privileged women who are in positions of power and influence – and how hard others have fought for such women to be taken seriously. To be heard. And to have their views considered worthy of prime time, serious discussion.”
On Monday, Armytage had her say in a column for News Limited: “Whatever your interpretation [of feminism], it does not provide a license to attack — personally and professionally — another woman,” Armytage wrote.
“To use petty barbs such as ‘bimbo’, ‘dumb’, ‘ditzy’, ‘daft’ to prove a point, does not make you a feminist. It makes you a bully.”
Armytage called into question Haussegger’s support of the “sisterhood”, which then ignited a whole other debate about whether or not women should support women just because they are women.
“Feminism means different things to different people,” Armytage responded. “To me, it has always been about empowering and supporting other women. For most, it happens naturally. Not all wear it like a badge of honour.”
Edwina Bartholomew, a co-host in the embarrassing skit, yesterday took to her Instagram to defend her workmate.
Much has been said about that god awful Sex and the City skit last week. Most of the criticism has been unfairly directed at my colleague and friend, @sam_armytage It was not her idea. It was not my idea. But we all did sit there and follow through with it. Do I regret that? Hell yes. Am I making excuses? Hell no. I expect to be criticised in this job – I write back to a lot of it because I want you to know I read it and register it. However, I never expected to be referred to as a ‘dumb chick’ or a ‘mindless bimbo’. You can read Sam’s response to the criticism on news.com.au. Link is in my profile. PS Does Sydney Uni offer refunds on Masters degrees?
“It was not her idea. It was not my idea,” wrote Bartholomew. “But we all did sit there and follow through with it. Do I regret that? Hell yes. Am I making excuses? Hell no.”
“I never expected to be referred to as a ‘dumb chick’ or a ‘mindless bimbo’,” she continued. “I expect to be criticised in this job — I write back to a lot of it because I want you to know I read it and register it.”
To hear the full interview between Mia and Sam, subscribe now to No Filter in iTunes, and it will appear in your feed as soon as it drops.