My little
outburst last Friday about blokiness at Crikey – after a Roy Morgan
survey revealed that four out of five Crikey readers are male – has
resulted in some great emails from the outraged, the amused and the
frustrated. Two women have suggested that 80% of the respondents to the
poll were male because women are too busy to fill out surveys.

At
the risk of sounding like a “Fitzroy feminist” – as one reader called
me – I think that could be right. And for the record: 1) of course the
suggestion of page three girlie pics and male face cream critiques was
a joke – I just went off pop anyway 2) Misha, the editor, is neither
testosterone-driven nor a woman (as many of you think) and 3) Crikey
has no plans to do a dumb blokes column – that would be just as silly
as girlie pics. Anyway keep the feedback coming. We’re going to do a
full round-up in Yoursay on the website, but until then here are some
of my favourite responses.

Diana writes:
Hmm, I
always assumed that Crikey, by definition, ie, Stephen and his mates on
a Boys Own Adventure, had to be blokey. Have a look at the sex of the
contributors! What would happen if you suddenly introduced a swag of
female contributors? You’d fold! Australian blokes just aren’t
particularly interested in reading commentary by women. Nice if it were
otherwise, but that’s the reality. It isn’t that way in all the media,
there is a very strong female presence in ABC radio, particularly in
the political area. Blokes seem to be able to cope with that. I think
print is viewed as more authoratative, more serious, ie more blokey.
Anyway, good luck!

Denis Langley writes:
I hope
that, like the whole face cream vs page three girl question, your
request was also made flippantly without any real desire to add this
new section to Crikey. If you’re serious, then I worry for Crikey’s
future. This sort of attitude on the part of women, ie blokes will be
blokes, reinforces the stereotypes that your publication should be
trying to avoid. How about an anecdotal column about bad women drivers?

Catherine writes:
Diana,
Problem solved! If you seriously want more female readers then please
get Bob March* (see below) to write in with his great ideas more often.
Better still, I suggest you make him a contributor with his own women’s
issues column. I just loved Bob’s perception. He knows that us girls
are only interested in what “girls have to say”. And I think it’s just
great that he calls us “girls”. Go Bob! Hey, even if one or two of us
are a bit long in the tooth we’re all still girls at heart. And it was
time someone suggested women shouldn’t be writing about finance,
science, business, media, politics and, God forbid, sport, Bob’s right,
we should stick to what we know and what we can do – “human
evaluations”. And yes Bob, again you’re so spot on, we do just want to
read about “interesting female people in the news”. Are there enough of
them though Bob? Maybe it will have to be an occassional column…

Lastly
but by no means least I’m thrilled that Bob wants only “well-bred,
well-educated women” to contribute to Crikey. None of those
Latham-legacy skanky hos for us, hey Bob! I couldn’t agree more. Diana,
please ensure you collect birth and educational details from all female
potential contributors. (For the record, I’m pleased to confirm I was
born in wedlock and have two university degrees). C’mon Crikey! Get Bob
Marsh on board and us girls will be falling over in our haste to
subscribe!

*Bob’s letter in last Friday’s Crikey:

I’m enjoying the new format. It’s not as rushed and nervous as before.
But it’s very blokey as well. Let’s hear what girls have to say about
what they would like to read more about. The feminine side of me wants
humanistic evaluations of interesting female people in the news,
written by well-bred, well educated women. No newspaper columnists,
thank you.”

Anne writes:
I’ve been a Crikey
subscriber for a number of years and had a chuckle at the suggestion of
a page three girl. I joined Crikey to get an insight into a deeper and
sometimes comically cynical view of our media, plus I love Stephen
Mayne’s irreverence, and his wife, and the ethics he stands by. Crikey
seems to inform with more panache and a darker humour and I truly love
the sprays – rat-arsed comments and sometimes bawdy and very apt views
of the Crikey writers and contributors.

I get a very big laugh
from the nicknames and aliases used to describe our politicians and
media stars. I particularly loved the one about John Howard being an
”unflushable turd”… that kept me going for a whole week. Now I
don’t know if I am wrong on this score, but looking through the women’s
magazines multiplying in professional waiting rooms – I have never read
anything that has made me laugh out loud like that. Even when Crikey
gets it wrong from time to time I feel it just makes a more human form
of communication, and one I certainly feel comfortable with.

I
feel no pressure from being a member of a bloke’s club, on the
contrary, most things blokey are welcome in our family, apart from the
exchanging of gaseous emissions without prior warning. Ginny Lowndes
(contributor) wants to run a competition on what else would entertain
the 80% of male readers. I have no worries about this as long as the
female staff of Crikey get a say in the rules of competition, otherwise
we may get stuck with – god help us – Sandra Sully pin-ups (not that I
have anything against Sandra) – but what about SBS’s intelligent and
highly gorgeous Mary Kostakidis instead?

If the blokes really
want a page three girl let them have it by all means, as long as they
promise that the quality of information, humour and intellect don’t
slip. I think that the male who suggested the page three girl should be
sent for some intense personal counselling however. Since when does one
assume that just because the readers are 80% male, they want pictures
of women? The guy needs help.

Lastly, I should mention, my
beautiful and highly talented daughter is an oft time camera operator
for Puppetry of the Penis, both here and overseas, so maybe our
family’s bloke consciousness is a little too highly raised. So for all
the women Crikey members out there I am sure that one of the puppetry
lads would be more than happy to pose for a page three for us women.

Carmel writes:
Thanks
for taking on the testosterone-driven lot you work with. I was thinking
about opting out of the Crikey network because of its sexism, even
though I like the political even-handedness and the fresh approach
Crikey provides for me in Murdoch controlled South Australia. But if
you take on the little laddies it may be worth watching!!

Anna writes:

I’m
not a full subscriber, but I must say that reading that ridiculous
comment on page three girls really threw me – will it never end? How
can we possibly get anywhere when inane comments such as that appear on
what I thought would have been a news resource “above” the rest. I’m
seriously considering NOT fully subscribing now – I’m still in shock!!!
Thank goodness you’re there Diana, don’t ever go away!

Val writes:
I’m
one of the 20% and have also been pondering why there are so few of us.
I work for a government department and the number of women in senior
positions is decreasing rather than growing. It’s because the blokes
wheel and deal, piss in each other’s pockets, talk about the footy
endlessly, refer to each other as maaaaate all the time and are not
really that comfortable around women or other blokes who actually might
want to talk about how well they are serving the public/clients in
their particular department. They select and promote people who are
like them and spend most of their time managing upwards so that they
will get the next promotion. It’s really sad and means that merit
selection is a farce and the right people don’t get into key positions.
Hence, the public service lumbers along with good people who can make
things happen feeling like they are constantly held back. Mediocrity is
the result.

Peter Fray

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