Five years ago, Australian TV presenter Karl Stefanovic wore the same suit on TV every day for a year and no one noticed.

Every single day for a year, he sat in front of the camera wearing the same cheap Burberry knock-off suit and no one made a single comment about it.

On Tuesday this week, Hilary Barry wore a top that wasn't a turtleneck and a woman felt so outraged by it that she decided to go on Facebook, search for the Seven Sharp page on the social network and type a message about Barry's boobs.


It's not even the first time I hear someone go on about Barry's boobs and now here I am going on about her boobs too but sometimes things happen so often that you need someone to jump in and say "hey, let's agree to never do this again, okay?" even if bringing the subject up means we're kind of doing it again. I just want this to be the last time we talk about Barry's boobs.


I mean, honestly, they're just boobs. They're nice boobs and all that but, still, regardless of what hormonal teenage boys think, boobs are just boobs.

And, when it comes to Barry's boobs on Seven Sharp, you can't even see them. It's not a see-through top, there's not even a hint of nipple.

Barry posted a screenshot of the comment but left the name of the woman out because, make no mistake, Barry is all class. Whatever the woman's given name, we all know she's a bit of what we call, in internet terms, a Karen. So I'm gonna call her Karen (no offence to the Karens who don't care about what Barry wears).

The double standard really grinds my gears. I'm an A cup so the only thing I'm meant to feel about Barry's cleavage is jealousy. I mean, I'd wear that top for a year, a la Stefanovic, if I had that cleavage. Instead, I'm sitting here defending Barry's right to her beautiful cleavage and aren't some days just strange as hell?

Karen, I can't see where your top ends in that profile picture but I definitely see a bit of cleavage. How come Hilary can't do it but you can, Karen?

We often accuse men of sexism because, well, they can be pretty freaking sexist. Sadly, we've come to expect it. But no sexism shocks and hurts more than the sexism that comes from those who should be your allies against this kind of stuff.


We're nowhere near the equal society we should aspire to be. Just a few months ago, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern revealed how, during her campaign, she had people commenting on how she wore her hair during a debate and how, because of that kind of feedback, she'd "angst" about what to wear.

Women holding women to a different standard feels like somehow even more of a step back than when men do it.

Focusing on a woman's looks rather than her work is a classic power move that men like to play on women in positions of power and Karen has fallen for it, hook, line and sinker.

Why is Barry's cleavage, in particular, so often the topic of conversation for TV viewers? Goodness knows there's plenty of other good cleavage to talk about on TV.

Could it be, perhaps, because Barry is a middle-aged mother of two who dares to have a successful career? As far as society is concerned, at her age, it seems a woman is not meant to have any hint of sensuality, let alone sexuality. And what are boobs if not a reminder of precisely that?

Hilary Barry hosting Seven Sharp wearing a beautiful blue top. Photo / Seven Sharp
Hilary Barry hosting Seven Sharp wearing a beautiful blue top. Photo / Seven Sharp

Could this be, more than just sexist, also ageist?

Whatever the -ist, it's a pile of crap.

Karen on Facebook over there can't even tell you what colour suit the dude hosting the news is wearing but she's all up Barry's cleavage, imaginary tape measure in hand, deeming it a few milimetres too deep.

Why are you like this, Karen?

Because the patriarchal system we live in is so ingrained in the fabric of our society, Karen didn't even stop to think about whether or not she was entitled to give her opinion on this.

Barry, a national treasure, wasn't wearing a low-cut top. She was dressed appropriately in a beautiful blue top and a pair of earrings I want to yank out of her ears and wear everywhere I go from this day forward.

But that's not even the point. Barry could be wearing a boob-tube and it'd still be none of Karen's business.

Barry, a woman of absolute class, could be wearing a black rubbish bag and she'd still be worthy of a knighthood. But she'd probably just settle for not having this crap thrown at her on a regular basis and for not being held to a different standard to her male colleagues who get away with a whole year of wearing the same suit without anyone batting an eyelid.