Note to readers outside of australia: Mike Carlton is an ex talkback radio presenter.
I was a bit surprised to read Mike Carlton’s piece on sexism and misogyny within australian radio, and Alan Jones’ sexism and misogyny in particular:
The sorry truth is that Australian radio is a sludge pit of male supremacy. I cannot think of any commercial talk station that has a female voice in a prime slot. The ABC is better, but not much: 702 has just one woman in its front-line shifts.
On the surface it appears to be a pretty ballsy article, although it might have been ballsier had he made these statements when he himself was still employed in radio for twenty something years. Very easy to state the truth after you’re safely tucked up at the Sydney Morning Herald with a cushy over-paid writing job, isn’t it Mike? Still, it sums up the issues with talkback radio and Alan Jones pretty accurately and I’m sure it pissed a hell of a lot of men off.
But to nit-pick, feminists have been saying this stuff for years so it would have been nice to hear Carlton acknowledge this. Also, Carlton is not exactly a non-offender himself. In 2007 I heard him express approval of the appointment of Julie Bishop as deputy leader of the Liberals with the comment “Well, she’s photogenic enough”.
What’s also interesting is that the one female presenter whom Carlton refers to in the article is actually Sandy Aloisi, Carlton’s former co-host on 2GB. I find it odd that he did not refer to her by name. I also recall him engaging in, on air, low-grade sexist banter with Aloisi during that time, quite consistently, referring to her as “Randy Sandy”, and of course hogging 90% of the oxygen as well. This is something I emailed him about at the time, outlining a feminist perspective of why he shouldn’t do that, an email he never replied to.
And while it’s true that aus radio is a bastion of male supremacy – so is the print media. So is fucking well everything. Carlton is making the mistake of thinking that radio as a vehicle of male hegemony stands alone outside of the context of patriarchy.
The radio business needs to take a long, hard look at itself, to think about joining the rest of us in the 21st century.
Because the “rest of us” (men of course) are such a shining example of equity and justice?
He’s doing that thing that leftist males do, he’s creating a false dichotomy in order to challenge conservative males – right wing men=bad/left wing men=good. He’s using his highly privileged public platform and disproportionate level of discursive power to speak for oppressed peoples, without, it seems, doing a scrap of consultation with those peoples. He’s using Jones and radio generally, to highlight the sexism of Other Men, men who are not him, all the while apparently ignorant of his own role in this sludge pit of male supremacy that is the whole. fucking. world.
While I’m on the subject of radio, Brendan Jones of the Jonesy & Amanda partnership, seems to slip under the radar a lot. A couple of weeks ago he was referring to the concept of “consensual rape” when discussing the tv show Puberty Blues. Like what the…? He also made some pig ignorant comments about the abuse experienced by Charlotte Dawson after she was hospitalised during a misogynist twitter attack, saying things along the lines of “Well just don’t read it”. This week after the Bulldogs players were reported to have sexually harassed and abused a female journalist by yelling “Suck me off, you dumb dog” at her, Jones made the outrageous statement that if she hadn’t been there it wouldn’t have happened. A statement right out of the Blame the Rape Victim for Rape 101 handbook. Jones also has a segment that he calls the Boozometer, which is a few seconds of old school radio sound effects meant to be some kind of mad scientist’s data analysing device, which calculates the number of bare breasts in any given tv show. He constantly bemoans the lack of bosoms on television as though it’s a pressing social concern. This is all done under the guise of “humour” of course. He regularly makes sexist and racist remarks on air, but you just never hear of him being called on it. Curious…