Tracey Barnett: Respect for women hitting new low

127 comments
Kim Kardashian, right, talks with Nicole
Kim Kardashian, right, talks with Nicole

I have great news! I just entered a radio contest to win a hot black guy to marry from overseas and I can't wait to see if I won! The truth is, ever since I was a little girl, I've always had my heart set on winning another human being.

I will have to patiently explain to my new hot spouse that to go from being a human prize to a real Kiwi husband, he'll just have to change a few things.

For example, the outfit he advertised himself in on his win-me website, the one that shows off his scrotum, pulled up and tight against his trousers shorts. The one that has a plunging crotch line that attractively shows hints of something much more, like decolletage for your pants. He says he heard it's empowering.

I'll just have to teach him we don't treat our men like toys in this country. I bet my kind editors had to gulp twice just to let me keep in the word "scrotum". He'll learn.

Unfortunately, I'm a bit bummed because The Rock's radio contest was actually offering to win a hot Lithuanian wife. Nuts.

Insulting? Tasteless? Nah, not if women don't seem to mind. And apparently we don't. It's good fun, right? Just as long as you'd feel perfectly comfortable about the same contest using, let's say, your nationality or race, instead of gender. Imagine if that radio contest advertised an American winning a Maori. How fast would a well-deserved hikoi landed at their front door?

Sure, it's a laugh, if real life gave us the flipside. If every time you see an image of a woman in a dress tight enough that her bought breasts slap against her chin (just count them at the Oscars), men felt comfortable having their gonads trussed up, surgically enlarged, with two-thirds of them shelved outside their tux trousers. It doesn't exist in mainstream public life for men. The difference is, women accept it, men will not.

Women are accepting a new denigrating norm that makes Barbie look self-actualised. Respect for women is coasting downhill for the entire generation behind me - and it's damned depressing.

Where do you want to start? The girls of Jersey Shore or Keeping Up with the Kardashians?

Just try noticing the more subtle lose-lose questions for women politicians in current affairs. CNN's Piers Morgan recently asked former US Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice if she's romantic, if she's always dreamed of a white wedding and what she would cook for a date. Very same stuff he would ask Donald Rumsfeld, right?

Look around you. When TV4 featured a huge cake with "Backstabbing Slut" written in giant pink icing across its new billboard, the phrase has become such common usage I almost didn't notice - and that's the tragedy.

Had the station tried writing "Backstabbing Darkie" or "Backstabbing N*gger", how fast would that signage have been brought down? The word is denigrating to any woman. We never use "slut" to describe a man or even have an equivalent.

Try listening to the actual conversation of the two British sportscasters that made headlines recently when they dismissed a game official's ability to understand a football rule just because she was female. The sad truth is, it sounded absolutely normal.

No doubt their off-camera banter would have stayed a norm in a teacup until additional footage surfaced of one of them on YouTube asking a female co-anchor if she wanted to check his microphone - in his pants. Nice. Funny.

The woman co-anchor didn't actually punch him in the sound equipment, had he offered a crotch-grope to a male co-anchor. She did what women do; she ignored him. As you do. We can all guess why. She was used to it.

As for what happened to the real woman lineswoman? She was taken off the work roster after their exchange hit media worldwide. Even though her offside call was correct and she had no idea about the banter happening far from the field, game officials didn't want her to distract from the game.

Now when she officiates, national media flood to her games to assess her calls. Just a bit of harmless banter in her professional life.

Happily, the crux of sports columnists' ire truly got to the real meat of the issue. They all parroted the same question: How could these sportscasters be fired if their comments were off-air?

Bull's-eye. Dismissing the ability of a colleague based solely on their race, colour or sex is absolutely sporty as long as it's not broadcast nationwide, right? I, for one, think that having women carry a little battery-powered "On Air" sign to regular offices around Auckland would solve everything. That way, when women flip the "On Air" switch, everybody will behave.

It's a hell of a lot better than their silence.

www.traceybarnett.co.nz

twitter.com/traceybarnett

- NZ Herald

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