Need for Less Patronising Sexist Crap

Today’s Guest Hoyden is whoozqueen. Whoozqueen blogs at “Oohsome: Ooh, I’ve Got Something to Show You!”. Whoozqueen is a 39 year old crafter, gamer and rampant netizen, with a keen eye for the handmade and unusual. If she’s not roaming Azeroth, she’s playing with her puss, Monty, or taking photos.

leannetanderI watched the “Need for Speed” segment start on Thursday’s Sunrise program, and I must admit, my expectations were low. Unfortunately, the profile on Australia’s leading female motorsports competitor was dismal. By the time it was over, I was bloody furious. I hadn’t learnt anything about Leanne Tander and her apparently thriving career on the track in a highly competitive sport. What I had learned was that women in motorsport aren’t taken seriously.

Hokey jokes about women drivers? check.
Asking if she would give up her place in the race for her husband’s benefit (like a good woman should?) check.
Male reporter who needed to prove that OMG HE CAN DRIVE TOO…AND WHAT’S MORE, PARK. CHECK CHECK half the frickin’ footage CHECK.

Where were the questions about her skills, previous wins, what the sport entails? What’s the difference between Formula 3 and her previous category of driving?

Why did they go for a gentle spin in a non-racing sedan, when they could have used footage from Leanne’s races, or created footage of her driving faster than the average person does on the way to the supermarket.

Why on earth did Barretts feel the need to drive during that segment? Putting the woman back in the passenger seat where she belongs? Some weird ego thing? I wasn’t watching to see some middle-aged patronising reporter drive, I wanted to see what Leanne could do.

I wanted to learn something, to feel positive about Leanne’s experiences as a driver, and ended up disappointed with the lazy, patronising whee-lookitme approach.



* Intro

Koch:  well, Leanne Tanner is not afraid of extreme speed, she’s the first woman in the world to win a Formula 3 race…

Mel:  …and she’ll make her Bathurst 1000 racing debut later this year, but to make things even more exciting, she’s up against her husband, Garth.

Well, Barretts spent some time with Leanne, behind the wheel.

* Footage starts

[Barretts and Leanne take off in a sedan on a racetrack]

Barretts: [in the front passenger seat] Leanne, congratulations. What does it mean to you to be racing the Enduros?

Tander: [behind the wheel] There’s so many people out there who would love to have this opportunity. So for me to get it, I just – yeah. I’m just really really excited.

Barretts: Do you feel like you’re carrying the flag for girl power, or do you just feel like another racecar driver?

Tander: To be honest, from my point of view, yes – I’m just another driver. But for all the girls out there that are sort of coming through the ranks, and there are quite a few of them, I think by getting out there and racing at Bathurst, they’ll have something to strive for in their own careers.

Barretts: Alright, what about this. Hypothetically. There’s you and Garth coming to the line at the Bathurst 1000. Is there anything set up where you will let him win?

Rander: Oh, gosh no.

Barretts: [laughs] From your experience on the road, who are the better drivers, men or women?

Tander: [laughs] I don’t think I’ll be drawn on that. I think there are different areas that men are better, and there’s different areas that women are better.

[Car stops; Barretts and Tander trade places.]

Barretts: So what did you think of my driving?

[Car takes off]

Barretts: How do you think I’m going? Are you feeling pretty safe? [laughs]

Tander: At the moment. But we’re only going in a straight line.

Barretts: I think you’d be a bit impressed?

Tander: [dubious] Yeah? Quite possibly.

Barretts: You might want to push my name forward to the team.

I like to indicate a fair way out.

Tander: Yeah, we don’t usually indicate on the racetrack.

Barretts: Do you – um – can you sense a bit of a racer? Just waiting to be uncuffed?

Tander: Perhaps. But I think you should probably move your hands down a little bit.

Barretts: Well Leanne, thanks for your time. We wish you all the best for the Enduro races. And it’s actually probably a good thing that I’m driving, because we just have to do a little park in here. It’s probably better if I do it. How am I going?

[reverse parking shot]

Tander: [playing along to obvious set-up] Watch out, I think that car’s a bit close back there.

[closeup of wheel turning]

Barretts: What’s that beeping noise?

Tander: I think that means you’re going to hit something.

Barretts: Oh, no, don’t worry about that.


* Cut back to studio with Mel and Kochie.

Mel: [laughs] What a goose!

Kochie: I was going to ask, did she reverse park? In comparison? [laughs]

Barretts: Nah, she went straight in! But I’ve gotta say, she is a remarkable young lady. You know it’s not easy for a woman in the sport of V8 supercar racing. She’s really had to earn her stripes, and she’s done that. And she knows. She sits in the garage watching Garth race, and she knows that she can cut her way against that field, she knows that she’s competed against a lot of those guys when they were younger, and she could probably beat a few of them right now.

Kochie: OK, all jokes aside, the few V8 races I’ve been to: you walk up and down pit lane, and you just admire Garth Tander, and all the blokes say, “His missus drives better.”

Mel: Wow.

Kochie: She is just fantastic. Good on ‘er. We’re going to follow her.

Barretts: Yeah, and a great stage for her, exactly right. Look, keep an eye out for her, Phillip Island and Bathurst, um – I think she’ll be a rising star. And hopefully she’ll be full-time soon.

Kochie: She’s gonna be our team, I reckon.

Mel: Well we’re behind the wheel a lot more than you boys. We’re the ones who have got to navigate in the shopping centre carparks, you know…

Kochie: Ohhh, pfffff [exasperated look]

Mel: … you’ve got to make sure you don’t hit a trolley; you’ve got to go to school and pick up the kids…

Kochie: [talking over Mel] Ohhh. Look at the time. I’ts half past seven. Alright, thankyou Barretts, news time now.

Barretts: Whatever.

[image source]

Categories: arts & entertainment, gender & feminism, media

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11 replies

  1. Not only driving… BUT PARKING, TOO? Why was only 50% of the segment ostensibly about her focused on this? Clearly his manly parking skills are the TRUE STORY, which needs to BE REPORTED! And he is not at all threatened by her. Just so you know.
    Also, ew.

  2. Wow. That was awful and embarassing.
    Did you write a letter to the program? Because… wow.

  3. Oh my, that was cringeworthy.
    What is it with the whole parking thing? I’ve never really understood that.

  4. That plumbs whole new levels of atrocious. Barretts – what a jerk! You know I just can’t imagine that a woman would do that story in that way.

  5. Wow… Had I been in Leanne’s shoes, I would have really struggled to not say; “Look Mark, why don’t we just cut straight to the chase here – you drop your pants and show me your cock, I can tell you how big it is, and with that formality out of the way you can actually continue with your real job!”
    And Mel’s “Avoiding shopping trollies in the carpark is hard!” statement is right up there with “Don’t ask me, I’m just a girl!” in the Malibu Stacey soundbite hall of fame…

  6. @ Anna – I most certainly did. No response as of yet. Doubt that they will (a) understand how bad that segment makes them look, for all their ‘girl power’ remarks and (b) will probably be shot down by Barretts who couldn’t come up with an original story angle if he or his producer tried. Hmm, hey guys, how about taking the angle of ‘great driver trying out new arena of driving, hopes to kick some arse’?
    whoozqueen’s last blog post..Pickle Soap

  7. That’s just abyssmal. Hardly surprising, but still.

  8. You might like this – it’s a BBC spoof of exactly this kind of reporting. From about 15 years ago. Some things evidently take a long while to change…
    [I think I’ve fixed it the way you wanted it – let me know! ~lauredhel]

  9. Barretts: I think you’d be a bit impressed?Why?

  10. Barretts: I think you’d be a bit impressed?
    (Take two; sorry).

  11. Kochie and that other guy Barretts are routinely condescending towards ‘girlie’ topics and make outrageously sexist remarks, but you can see the constant tension between Mel and Kochie – they like to wind each other up, but sometimes you can cut the tension with a knife..its hilarious, but good on Mel, she keeps jabbing the boys if they make sexist remarks, not that she’d win feminist of the year or anything, but she does make reasonable efforts to counteract the chauvinist blokey attitudes of the men on set. (which Lisa Wilkinson hardly ever does – or at least not with the same acidity….)…
    I wish the ABC or SBS had a an extended news bulletin in the morning… I don’t have cable tv/foxtel so its slim pickins in the morning… and if i get fed up (which is often) then ABC news radio comes to the rescue…

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