An Australian TV panelist managed to epitomize blatant sexism against women in less than three minutes.
Some background: In June, Australian Football League presidents Eddie McGuire and James Brayshaw made a horrendous joke about drowning female journalist Caroline Wilson. Fast forward to this week’s episode of “Q&A,” where an anti-violence activist asked the panel what they thought about the joke.
Panelist Steven Price minimized the awful comments. “If you listen to that broadcast in context, it was a bunch of blokes laughing about things they shouldn’t have laughed about...I think far too much was then made of it,” he said.
Fellow panelist Van Badham had a fiery response, calling Price out for dismissing what was a hugely problematic joke in a country where domestic violence against women is a very serious issue. (In fact, the anti-violence activist who had asked the question in the first place lost his sister in a gruesome murder at the hands of her male partner.)
But in calling out Price, Badham endured a ludicrously sexist response that many women are all-too-familiar with: Price had to make the situation about him.
“Don’t tar me with their brush,” he said.
“This man has given us an extremely upsetting story about what happened and you are defending yourself in the context where we have to have a conversation about cultural attitudes that treat women differently,” Badham responded.
But it actually got worse. Price decided that Badham was simply “being hysterical.”
That’s right, folks. If you are a woman who speaks passionately about social issues that, for you, are literally life and death, you are hysterical. If you defend women from jokes about their own drowning, you are hysterical. If you try to get through a response without letting insistent manterruptions stop you, you are hysterical.
On Tuesday, Badham wrote a passionate response to the incident for The Guardian. She wrote:
Steve Price was making the discussion all about himself, his feelings, his concern that just because he was making excuses for Newman and Maguire, he might be “tarred with the same brush”.
“You’re proving my point,” I said.
And then he called me “hysterical”.
The context of the conversation was the young man, his murdered sister, and a culture that needs to shift its attitudes on gender – because real-world violence against women by men is rendered unexceptional and unimportant when the subject is considered so trivial it can be joked about in banter on a sports show, and then excused in commentary around it.
Badham is fortunately well-versed in fielding mansplanations ― she’s well-known for her epic eye-roll on live television earlier this year.
Keep on keepin’ on, Van.
Watch the entire interaction below.