The Aussies have it right

They give out awards for incredible acts of sexism.

An Australian outback mayor’s plea for lovelorn female “ugly ducklings” to move to a remote mining town to reverse a shortage of eligible women has won him the country’s yearly award for outrageous sexism.

Mount Isa Mayor John Malony infuriated women in August with a suggestion that “with five blokes to every girl, may I suggest that beauty-disadvantaged women should proceed to Mount Isa,” in northwest Queensland state.

Malony earned his top golden Ernie award with a defense that “The protesters are blaming me for their looks.”

Runners up include a policitician who was accused of sniffing a female staffer’s chair and snapping a bra strap; a TV network that sacked a reporter when she became pregnant and then said that female reporters need to be sexy to succeed; and a female politician who taunted female Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard for being childless.

The Ernies also honor good, pro-feminist acts:

Rugby Union international Brendan Cannon won the yearly Good Ernie “for boys behaving better” after saying: “I don’t want my daughter Phoebe growing up in the country where almost all women will be victims of physical violence or sexual abuse during their lifetimes.”

I think they’ve got the right idea. Plus, hey, awards are fun.

Who would you (dis)honor with an award for outrageous sexism? Who would you honor for promoting a feminist message in an unexpected place?


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About Jill

Jill began blogging for Feministe in 2005. She has since written as a weekly columnist for the Guardian newspaper and in April 2014 she was appointed as senior political writer for Cosmopolitan magazine.
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13 Responses to The Aussies have it right

  1. Bekka says:

    I mean, posthumous and outdated, but Tupac has to win it with “Keep your head up,” “Brenda’s got a baby,” and random acts of feminism inserted randomly in most songs.

  2. Bekka says:

    Not to say that his feminism was consistent or that there aren’t other problematic paradigms for feminism worked in – but in terms of truly unexpected, explicitly feminist messages, I think Tupac’s a pretty cool example.

  3. james says:

    I agree, there are lots of other feminists among the rap artist community as well. I personally think Sir Mix-a-lot deserves an award for Baby got Back, particularly the third verse where he totally starts ragging on Cosmo. Unfortunately you do have to the him calling women hoes to get to it, but I suppose you can’t have everything.

  4. evil_fizz says:

    Who would you honor for promoting a feminist message in an unexpected place?

    Matt Damon! I can understand Liss’s crush on him for saying things like “[James Bond is] an imperialist and he’s a misogynist. He kills people and laughs and sips martinis and wisecracks about it. … [Jason Bourne is] the opposite of James Bond.”

    Also, I will have to dig up something specific about Daniel Craig talking about Bond and trying not to make the character so much of a twit.

  5. Cara says:

    *swoons for Matt Damon*

    I always think the same things about James Bond every time a new movie comes out . . . like recently.

  6. Feather says:

    Wow. I thought Channel Nine was crap just because of its programs.

  7. Polyquats says:

    You’d have a hard time picking the most sexist comment for a Gold Ernie in the US this year – the election campaign provided a veritable gold mine of sexist crap. Just about the whole main stream media is due fro a good dishonouring for outrageous sexism.

  8. Unstable Isotope says:

    For outrageous sexism I would nominate Pat Oliphant for this cartoon. I would also nominate who was behind the “Citizens United Not Timid” people. There was plenty to complain about during this election, I think.

    For positive feminist messages I would nominate Joss Whedon.

  9. j.ds says:

    “Who would you (dis)honor with an award for outrageous sexism?”

    Roadrunner, for the crap about Amanda Palmer’s belly. They don’t treat their male artists like that.

  10. zooeyibz says:

    WTF. Men deserve awards for not wanting their daughters to get raped or beaten up? Geez. If only they knew how low women’s expectations were, they need never fear fatherhood…

    Seriously. That is pathetic and insulting. To women. To men. To children. Are women so conditioned to accept being treated like dirt that we’re fawingly pleased any time a man doesn’t want to rape and beat us?

  11. high-tea tramp says:

    zooeyibz, this article might put Cannon’s qoute in context; http://www.news.com.au/perthnow/story/0,21598,22696823-5005403,00.html

    Something the article doesn’t mention is the huge problem Rugby League has with misogyny and violence against women. I think it’s important and really positive to have other footballers speaking out to change the culture from the inside. You’re right that these comments should be the norm rather than the exception, but I sort of saw the award as affirming the place of guys who work against misogyny, in the women’s movement (which I think they absolutely need to be welcomed into).

  12. Karalora says:

    For a pro-feminist award, I nominate Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino, co-creators of the wonderful, very feminist-friendly children’s series Avatar: The Last Airbender. One of their stated goals in creating the show was to prove that a kids’ action series doesn’t have to be wholly male-dominated in order to be successful, and to that end they developed a main cast that has almost equal numbers of male and female characters, and gave them all–male and female–well-rounded, diverse personalities instead of hewing to hoary old stereotypes. A few episodes even tackle the issue of sexism directly, and the rest of them reinforce the anti-sexist message by having the female characters stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the male ones. It’s a thing of beauty.

  13. Jovan1984 says:

    I have the Asshole of the Week, Asshole of the Month and, on December 25, the 106 Assholes of 2008 award as a way to dishonor those who are outrageously sexist.

    For pro-feminist actions, I have the Person of the Week, Person of the Month and, on December 25, the 106 Best People of 2008.

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