Razer's Class Warfare

Nov 30, 2017

Razer: equality for women! (But only for those who work in the media, please.)

The “story” of media sexism has been gorging on its own self-interest for so long, what we have is a culture industry so utterly fixated on its own declining labour conditions, it rarely bothers to report on anybody else’s.

Helen Razer — Writer and broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and broadcaster

When, Don Burke, former celebrity horticulturist, told press yesterday, “I’m no Harvey Weinstein,” I thought, for an agreeable moment, only of my late grandmother, Grace. Grace, a good and meticulous grower, had often said of this avowed lazy gardener, “He’s no Peter Cundall”, especially when he tossed good plants in the bin. I missed Grace, as I often do. Then, briefly mourned a time in which the only negative opinion I held of Burke was that he was so wasteful and so cruel to so very many cultivars.

This week, we have all been urged by local media to measure Burke against “Harvey Weinstein”, a term that no longer evokes a man, but a scale of workplace abuse. The public allegations against Weinstein, a (former) US film producer, have been several, often sickening and sustained in Western media for almost two months.

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17 thoughts on “Razer: equality for women! (But only for those who work in the media, please.)

  1. BGas

    I’m confused. Are you saying the publication of appalling behaviour by men is really just a pathetic effort to keep traditional journalism alive? That they are only concerned with abuse in their own industry? What exactly are you saying?

    1. Helen Razer

      Think I said it.

    2. craig

      You must’ve put in a seriously concerted effort to have been confused by this article. And speaking as Crikey’s resident comments section thicko – the gauge by which the basic clarity of all published articles on this site are measured – I should know.

    3. lykurgus

      It is, BGas.
      It’s always been a cosy insiders club; resenting anything that might force an outward glance from them; unable to see beyond the inch-deep pond they inhabit (which would be bad enough if it wasn’t a swamp); fulminating about how any one thing “plays” in a game only they care about.
      With nothing to sell but their curiosity, but curiosity hasn’t lived here for a while.

      If you don’t understand that… you’re a journalist.

  2. Tom Jones

    Instead of thinking that it takes high profile figures to give this issue of workplace harassment and sexual predation credence. There is now an opportunity to find out from the Minister for Women and Minister for Employment, Sen Michaelia Cash what she intends to do for other women Helpless Helen has a whinge. What a waste of time this piece is when there is such a huge opportunity to make real change in the broader society. Why is the Minister wing let off the hook?

    1. Helen Razer

      I say this opposite of this. I say that high profile figures have no business talking about their own industry’s problems as often as they do. I say that it is the work of journalists to talk about the mass of people, not themselves.
      This is an article about journalism (which I presume you think has some value, or did) and the change in its view of itself. Journalists now talk very often about journalists and journalist labour problems. They believe these problems are the same problems faced by all. I say this.
      I have no solution to workplace abuse (other than job protection for workers. Which I state. It’s an efficient solution: extend rights to contract, self-employed and casual workers. Or, end these categories altogether. If workers cannot be dismissed without cause, then they are in a far more secure position to end abuse and demand safety.) I have a “solution” for high-profile journalists: stop writing about yourselves as though you can meaningfully compare your own problems to those of the people you write for.
      There was no need to seek comment from Cash in an article that is about journalism. Journalism that would not think of seeking comment from Cash on our rapidly diminishing rights at work.
      Thanks for reading, though.

      1. Tom Jones

        It is a little ironic that a complaint about women in the media focussing on themselves is the focus of this article. Getting a view about the broader issues raised from the Minister would have led to less navel gazing however. You have done exactly what you complain others are doing.

        1. Helen Razer

          Thanks for not reading, Tom.

          1. BGas

            It would awesome to always be right, and belittle anyone who has the temerity to challenge you.

          2. Helen Razer

            Hey again, BGas. Re Tom. He was so polite, and I so abusive in response. (This is sarcasm, btw.)
            I am sorry that you both read this article when you were distracted. I do this often. What I tend not to do so often, though, is leave comments saying, “I don’t get it”, when not getting it was my own distracted fault.
            Honestly. This article is not hard-to-understand rot. It’s straightforward. I say this as a person who once wrote hard-to-understand rot fairly regularly.
            It is an article about how very self-absorbed media has become. It offers a recent example of that. Read it again, maybe?

  3. Duncan Gilbey

    I for one am shocked! Shocked, I tell you to discover that someone is different in real life than they appear on TV.

    Not to belittle, nor disbelieve allegations against Burke, I’m finding this “Don Burke = SATAN” media focus a bit, well, trite. Obviously women working in crappy jobs with crappy pay and conditions aren’t worthy of the media’s attention. Sex sells, I suppose…

    Good article and a different perspective, Helen.

    1. Helen Razer

      Many thanks, DG.

  4. AR

    I assume that I agree with MzRaz but, as too often, it was so scattergun that I can’t follow.
    Down with Sexism – shorely that covers it?

  5. Lea M

    I agree Helen – it does smack of the self serving media industry. Where are the investigative journalism reports about all the women who worked in male dominated industries in the 80’s and 90’s who were similarly abused and assaulted and belittled as routine and probably still are. It is fair to suggest that similar stories about women’s treatment in less glamourous workplaces such as construction, hospitality, telecommunications or IT would ever be considered interesting enough for the media. Can you imagine that there would be an iota of interest if a woman who worked in one of these areas now reported that a creep that she worked for in 1994 once touched her on the arse?

    1. lykurgus

      Where are they? Well, they’re interviewing Don Burke (or at least the one that Westacott called the “fat cow” and “a testament to embalming” is doing that). I still remember her turning bright red when “The Chef Who Says F*ck” asked her if she was wearing a leather G-string.

      To be fair, they can’t inquire into such predators in other industries because they don’t know of any (other industries that is, not predation therein, but also yes).

  6. Sophia

    Ha, those comments below remind me of the tedious thousands of times workplace harassers argue and argue about how the victim of their clumsy, dopey but of course entitled groping & guffawing is being a humourless, frigid dyke for not being thrilled by their “just being friendly”-ness. Brilliant article as always Helen. The millions of shittily-employed and incessantly harassed women in the workplace – the types I talk to daily – applaud you. They snorted derisively and changed the channel in the break room during the Don Burke OMG WTF scandal interviews. Keep it up Helen, your work is truly appreciated out here.

    1. Karen Hutchinson

      So acutely observed Sophia and accurately mirrored Helen. Thank you.

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