entertainment

When are we going to stop doing this to women who dare to be on our TV screens?

By KATE LEAVER

Sam Armytage is having a rough 24 hours.

The 37-year-old Sunrise host has had her professional credibility attacked and her body publicly criticised.

Annette Sharp at Sydney Confidential published an article last night with this headline:

So, Armytage’s show Bringing Sexy Back isn’t performing well in ratings. Fine. Whatever. That could be for any number of reasons; it just hasn’t resonated with viewers.

But according to Annette Sharp, the show has failed because Sam Armytage dared to go out in public wearing casual, perhaps-unflattering clothes. There are photographs of Armytage doing errands, arriving at the airport, and walking around the street. They were paparazzi shots, taken without Armytage’s permission, and they show her in her everyday normal-person state.

Let’s be clear about this.

The implication here is that Armytage — one of the country’s most successful, high profile TV presenters — may lose her job because of the outfits she puts on her size-12 figure in her spare time.

As Armytage tweeted this morning (at which time the article was published anonymously):

But there’s another problem here — quite apart from the toxic suggestion that this woman’s off-duty fashion choices are solely responsible for the axing of a prime time television show.

The photos of Armytage aren’t even current. Here’s an exchange on Twitter between Annette Sharp, journalist Georgina Dent, and Armytage:

The pictures are from five years ago. Five! Before she accepted her role as Sunrise co-host with David Koch. Before she was cast as host of Bringing Sexy Back. Before she was professionally required to get up at 3am every day to spend hours in hair and make-up.

ADVERTISEMENT

So, the allegation that Armytage’s clothing choices have lost her a job are now even more ludicrous.

The headline should really be: SAMANTHA ARMYTAGE WORE A SERIES OF CASUAL OUTFITS FIVE WHOLE YEARS AGO. HERE ARE SOME PHOTOGRAPHS IF YOU REALLY WANT TO SEE THEM. IN COMPLETELY UNRELATED NEWS, ONE OF HER TV SHOWS MIGHT BE CANCELLED.

But that’s not the only negative media coverage Sam Armytage has had in the past 24 hours.

Yesterday, viewers and journalists criticised Armytage for “sexist comments” during this segment on Sunrise:

Armytage was taken aback that the doctor who treated Joan Rivers (and who allegedly took a selfie with her body) was female. She’s shocked because the doctor was a woman, or she’s shocked that a woman would be so tactless and stupid as to take a selfie with a dying celebrity. It’s kind of unclear. Technically, it may have been sexist — but the reaction has been melodramatic. Is it really enough to warrant Armytage being branded a sexist in headlines around the country?

Now. At Mamamia, we’ve written about Sam Armytage experiencing sexism before. Whether she’s asked for it or not, we’ve defended her on several occasions from situations where we’ve felt she was humiliated or exploited by men.

That’s because we believe Sam Armytage is a regular target of sexism. Sure, she’s chosen to work in an industry that values what you look like — and for that, she can expect a certain level of scrutiny. Vanity is a pre-requisite for television, especially if you sign up to host a makeover show and participate in a segment every morning that is purely about what clothes you’re wearing.

But this capable, successful journalist has been selected as the latest female piñata for the media. The past 24 hours have proven that Sam Armytage is fair game for narky, petty commentary.

When are we going to stop doing this to women who dare to appear on our TV screens?

How about…. now?

Tags: celebrity , entertainment-tv , social-media , style
00:00 / ???