DEAR Mr Misogynist,
I’d like to thank you for everything you’ve taught me over the past 25 years.
Why, I had no idea I was so fat, ugly and stupid. I thought being a size 12 was perfectly acceptable.
But when you yelled across the newsroom, ”I want two inches off your hair and two inches off your arse”, suddenly, a light went on.
Of course! The size of my posterior is directly related to the content and credibility of the stories I’m reporting on for this network. Silly me. You’re right. I’ll never make it as a TV journalist.
Those wise words of yours from 1986 are still ringing in my ears: ”That’s why you don’t see blonde newsreaders,” you explained patiently. ”People don’t take them seriously.”
It reminded me of another sage piece of advice, from a radio boss during a job interview some years ago.
He put it simply yet eloquently: ”There’s a reason why you don’t hear women on commercial talkback radio,” he said. ”No one wants to hear the whiny sound of a female voice. Us blokes get enough nagging at home!”
Really, in retrospect, it was foolish to think I was worthy of such a role.
Like all women, I only have two areas of specialisation: shoes and handbags. We all know high heels are a patriarchal construct to disempower us by constricting movement. (Oh dear. Must stop having thoughts like that. Sorry, I have no idea where that came from.)
Anyway, through some quirk of fate, I managed to land a newsreading job.
I know what you’re thinking. I finally decided to speak into that flesh-coloured microphone you were always pointing in my direction.
Oddly enough, I was offered the job by a woman. Who would have thought? Initially, I was wary. You always said you’d never work for a female boss because, ”You can’t trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die”.
Hilarious! It’s a good thing I was wearing a corset or my sides would have split.
Fortunately, there were enough blokes around to keep me on the straight and narrow.
On my first night, the station manager came down and said, ”You need to stick your tits out more”. Once again, my brain wasn’t working properly.
In between the raging bushfires, the political crises and savage cuts to welfare, I’d forgotten to flirt with the camera.
A couple of years later – I’m ashamed to say this – I ”porked up”, according to one of the producers.
My new boss quickly raced out and arranged sponsorship from the local gym.
Frankly, I was unsightly. I stood out like a bull in a china shop, around those fragile lollipop ladies with their skinny bodies and massive heads.
Speaking of heads, I got a nasty shock when I looked in the mirror one day. Wrinkles around my eyes and on my forehead. Too much thinking? Surely not.
I remember you reviewing a video tape of one of my colleagues – clever girl, Walkley Award winner as I recall – and saying, ”The problems seem to be here and here,” pointing to her ghastly crow’s feet.
As it turns out, wrinkles were the least of my worries. I’d gotten myself knocked up.
I wanted to go back to work when bubby was three months old but, once again, it took a man to show me the error of my ways.
”Women should be at home with their children,” my news director said. ”Or the fabric of society will be rent asunder.
”Anyway Trace. You’re getting a bit long in the tooth. Why don’t you give some of the younger girls an opportunity?”
Suddenly, all the lights went on. And it was so bright – it made your light look like a limp insipid flicker.
This is difficult for me to put into words but if I had to, it would sound a bit like this: F— you.
F— you, you misogynist bully with your archaic beliefs, intellect of a pygmy, and tiny dick.
The reason I am writing this letter is to thank you.
Among others – too many to mention – you lit a fire in my belly that’s become an inferno and these days, I don’t cop shit from anyone. When I was sacked by email after the birth of my second baby, I fought the lot of them.
I do hope you receive this correspondence. I had trouble finding a forwarding address after you lost your house due to that unfortunate sexual harassment case.
(I’m sure the bitch was asking for it.)
Yours in emancipation,
Tracey Spicer has worked as a television news presenter and radio broadcaster for more than 25 years.
This is an edited version of a speech she gave at a Women of Letters presentation – a series of performances aimed at reviving the art of letter writing. It was first published on thehoopla.com.au
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/it-pro/and-heres-the-news-my-bums-got-nothing-to-do-with-the-story-20121025-28837#ixzz3rHUEzcHo
Follow us: @smh on Twitter | sydneymorningherald on Facebook