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This is an anonymous post. Because it has to be.

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This is an anonymous post from a woman in the media industry.

By ANONYMOUS

This is an anonymous post.

Why?

Because I’m a woman working in the media and what I have to say is perfect fodder for an online lashing.

But why the cloak and dagger of a no-name post?

Well, I have a belief that women in the Australian media landscape have a voice that’s only barely audible.

Women like me are often referred to as the ones ‘destroying the joint’.  Our commentary becomes lost when we dare step outside the popular dogma of women being seen and not heard.

It gets personal. It gets nasty and this happens very quickly when a woman is identified with an opinion that challenges the populous.

So, no names.

Let’s destroy some stuff right now.

On paper, I’m a freelancer which basically means I work across a number of formats and genre all in the name of being a storyteller and reporter of both the fictional and non fictional kind.

In reality, I’m a freelancer because it seems like the good jobs, the permanent jobs, seem to go to the blokes who are younger, more hip and ironically, less experienced.

I’ve wracked my brains on this one. I’ve talked about it ad-nauseam with my female friends who between us, have a collection of incredible work behind us that we can be proud of. So why is it, that the majority of the population in the media, is predominantly male? The only thing I can see that they have, that I don’t, is a penis.

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You may think I’m kidding but alas I’m not, so let me give you a few examples.

We’ll start with radio.

3AW: I walked into the lobby of this station a few years ago and stood looking at their ‘wall of pride’ – a wall of photos of all their presenters. There was probably 30 photos.

All of them were men except for a few. When I say a few, I mean no more than two.

2GB: this is the home of Australia’s favourite misogynist, Mr Alan Jones. Scrawl through their presenter lineup and you will see a distinctly male flavour. Sure, women like Tracey Spicer and Pru McSween make the odd appearance but this is only to fill in. We’re good at this.

"Women are Destroying the Joint"
“Women are Destroying the Joint”

We plug gaps and we keep things afloat.

ABC 774: an almost completely male lineup graces the halls of this station. A friend of mine, a woman, recently appeared on 774 and her photo was taken as proof that a female was on air. Yes, it was done in jest but its a definite reality of contemporary media culture.

Moving on to TV, we know that each free to air station is run by a man.

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There are some wonderful women anchoring shows such as Leigh Sales, Tracy Grimshaw and Helen Kapolos. They’re over 40 yrs of age, they’re smart, they’re beautiful and they’re good at their job but mostly, the media focuses on their crimes against fashion or their most recent ‘boning’ rather than celebrate the great work that they do.

You’ll note I’m not mentioning the morning shows because that’s a co-host gig where typically, the bloke is paid more for doing EXACTLY THE SAME THING.

The back slapping culture of programs like the various footy shows, nightly news bulletins and radio shows that feature people like Alan Jones and John Laws, frequently applaud appalling behaviour and the subsequent decimation of young lives.  Apparently its ok to ask women who’ve been sexually assaulted if they ‘asked for it’. And if they didn’t ask for it, they’re just destroying the joint.

See how its a no-win situation here? I can’t help but think if there were more women in the upper echelons, that these media moments might be fewer and far between. The collateral damage report might read a bit differently. But it doesn’t and I think we should be talking about it.

So, these are the givens:

We can rest safe in the knowledge that Aussie TV celebrates folks like Eddie McGuire, Andrew Bolt and let’s not forget the Footy Show lads.

Larrikinsim, a football pedigree, an Olympic medal and a reputation as a right wing conservative appear to be some of the essential ingredients for credibility in the media. Sam Newman can behave like a racist, a homophobe or just a good ole misogynist and that’s ok. Andrew Bolt can ruin our Sunday morning with his right wing bias and Ron Wilson can make anti-gay comments ON AIR.

But hey, that’s cool if we work on the ‘all’s fair in love and war’ theory, right?

Women in the Media
The ones destroying the joint.
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It’s not even remotely cool.

I grudgingly accept that for women there is a history of men typically making all the major decisions. We can’t change history, we can only learn from it.

But herein lies the rub.

I’d like to think that we’ve evolved but sadly  a woman who stands  up for herself is frequently referred to as a feminist. This word is thrown at her like it’s an insult. Heaven forbid she might be gay because that automatically activates the ‘angry bull dyke’ commentary.

Women have long been considered chattel in some countries or closer to home, in the Australian media, rated on their ‘fuck-ability’ factor.

Yes, that’s right. If you’re a chick in the media, in this fair country, you need to be young, pretty and fuckable.

And don’t, for even a minute, think that if you’re pregnant, in the public eye and struggling with giving up smoking that you won’t be up for a public lynching.

Yes, if you’re a woman in the Australian media and you’re not a size 8, you’re older than 30, you’re cigarette smoking, opinionated / smart, a lesbian or simply in the possession of a vagina, you’re at a disadvantage whether you’re in front of the camera or behind it.

Men get free reign in this industry. I’ve watched young men walk into positions in networks, ahead of me, less qualified than me, totally entitled / arrogant and I can’t help but think that my gender plays a pivotal role in this.

I’m easy to work with. I work hard. My work is of a high standard. I get along with everyone and people tell me that I’m nice to be around.  But like many other women in my industry, I’m just here to fill the gaps. I think the blokes just assume my work is a hobby in between having kids and being a mummy blogger.

This really shits me.

I don’t believe that we should have to become eunuchs in order to find work in the media. I would like to think that if my work is solid, that should be enough.

It shouldn’t matter what my fuckabilty factor is. It shouldn’t matter if I’m gay or straight or a little on the curvy side or on the wrong side of thirty.

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More of this is needed.
More of this is needed.

What should matter is the work that we do and the impact it has on the public who view it. This is who we do the work for. That’s got to be the bottom line.

Telling good stories and making a difference.

So where to from here?

I’d love to think that I will get a phone call today offering me a gig I’ve been chasing for a while now. Producing for news / current affairs. But I know this call isn’t coming because I fall outside of the criteria that governs these decisions. Criteria I might add, that have nothing to do with my work.

I can’t pretend to be someone I’m not. I’m too old for that shit and frankly, what should I?

So, what’s the plan?

It’s a simple plan. One that’s been done before. There’s no mystery here.

Ladies, it’s time to make some noise.

It’s time we started to occupy the space in the media landscape that is rightfully ours.

Let’s destroy the joint.

Do you feel that women in the media are largely misrepresented? 

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