Great work Karl, but who should be taking notice?

Karl Stefanovik conducted an interesting experiment this year. He spent the entire year wearing the same suit to expose the double standards of our society. It is a gesture that has rightly been met with universal praise.

It’s an unfortunate truth that intelligent women in our media are judged more on their appearance and style rather than their intellect or talent. As Stefanovik’s co-host, Lisa Wilkinson pointed out last year:

“When you’re a woman doing breakfast TV, you quickly learn the sad truth, that what you wear can sometimes generate a bigger reaction than even any political interview you ever do.”

Of course this is a double standard; and kudos to Karl for pointing this out in a most clever way. Yet who should really be taking notice here?

Of the two genders, which one is more guilty of judging the style, appearance and dress sense of women on television?

While men aren’t innocent in this area, it should be pointed out that women are much more likely to make a sly comment about another woman’s hair, their butt looking big in that dress, or their waist not appearing complimentary in their choice of attire.

I certainly know that in my social circle, the first to criticise the appearance and style of women is not the men, but the women! In most cases, men are too preoccupied to notice. To put it bluntly, they just don’t care. That’s not to say that men aren’t guilty of other instances of sexism, but when it comes to being fashion police, I don’t believe they have a case to answer.

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Lisa Wilkinson receives regular and unsolicited fashion appraisals, and while I can’t be certain, the following quips don’t sound like they come from a man: ‘Who the heck is Lisa’s stylist?” one emailer demanded to know. “Today’s outfit is particularly jarring and awful. Get some style.” Said another.

Considering that most men could hardly be bothered noticing even obvious changes in their partner’s appearance, I would say that it’s highly unlikely that many would take the time to write to a breakfast show host criticising them for what they wear.

However, why speculate on the senders, when there’s plenty of proof elsewhere that women are their own biggest critics. Look to Channel 7 host Samantha Armytage. She was recently attacked in the Daily Telegraph for her dress sense while completing casual, day-to-day activities in her own time.

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The headline read: ‘Sam Armytage’s fashion fail after cameras stop rolling as Seven may pull pin on Bringing Sexy Back’. The reporter, a woman, Annette Sharp.

Or what about Australia’s most famous feminist, Germaine Greer, on Q&A last year, criticising Julia Gillard for her dress sense? She criticised the then Prime Minister’s choice of jackets before bellowing: “You’ve got a big arse, Julia.’ Interestingly, the loudest laughs to her comments came from a fellow female panellist.

Here was Australia’s most prominent feminist, a woman who has spent her life fighting for women’s rights, criticising our nation’s first female Prime Minister not for her policies, but for her choice of attire.

Or perhaps look to the smorgasbord of women’s magazines featuring sections dedicated to rating prominent women’s fashion choices with coy language designed to mock or appraise. But if you’re not one for reading, tune into the Real Housewives of Melbourne for two minutes to see how judgmental women can be of one another – and this is a high rating show watched by….women.

Karl, your gesture is original and laudable. It does point out the double standards in our society when it comes to the emphasis on appearance and style. Hopefully, many women out there will heed your message, because men are busy not giving a shit.

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12 Comments on Great work Karl, but who should be taking notice?

  1. I am SO busy not giving a shit hahaha. Good read.

  2. So true woman are the worst for judging other women. The look up and down when you walk in the room and the snide remarks about the outfit your wearing or any weight gain you may have put on is so common among social groups.It amazes me that these women still call each other friends.

  3. This article was painted with a very broad, misogynistic brush. I don’t care what a woman is wearing, yet I am a woman. Do some women care what women are wearing? Of course. Not all women are the same. A few years ago I once walked up to a group of men who were discussing what Britney Spears was wearing at some music awards. These were not gay men, they were very blokey men who were mechanics and truck drivers, so don’t feed me your ignorant bias that men don’t judge a woman by what she wears. Men are the first to dismiss (or sexually assault) a woman who wears clothes they consider trashy or slutty.

    • I really have a problem with this article being labelled misogynistic. I acknowledged that men are not innocent when it comes to judging women for what they wear; however, you would be hard-pressed to convince me that women are less likely to judge other women for their dress sense than men are.
      You can make general observations about trends in society without being labelled misogynist or sexist – or at least I’d like to think so.
      You also failed to acknowledge that I essentially agree with the stance that Karl Stefanovik has taken – and I made the point that women should be judged on their talent and ability rather than their appearance.
      It really, really frustrates me that when having this discussion with people who identify themselves as feminists, the slightest point of disagreement ends up becoming an accusation of misogyny.

      • Did I identify as feminist? For you to say “most women” is the same as me saying “most men”. If I say “most men are bastards”, I could then argue that I didn’t say “all men”, but I would still be a misandrist. You can’t make broad sweeping statements and then point at a specific comment because I used a specific example too… it’s meaningless. You can be frustrated with my difference of opinion about the quality of this article if you like, I certainly don’t have all the answers. Your article started off really well, in fact. It was the middle bit where you start theorising on who the comments were coming from and began generalising that you lost me.

      • Dale Hughes // November 19, 2014 at 7:15 pm //

        As a general observation though – which gender is more likely to judge dress sense – men or women?
        The article may be based on general observations, but I’m sure if I surveyed readers on this question – most would say women.
        At the end of the day, it’s true that women are judged more for what the wear – but if this is a problem, we should also recognise where most of the judging is coming from.

  4. Both. As a general observation, I say both. The way the comments are verbalised might be different… I agree that a man is less likely to discuss the actions of a “stylist” but both men and women offer opinions on the way a woman dresses–I’m surprised you haven’t heard it, but I can’t comment on your social circle. It’s fine not to agree with me on this, but your article does some serious finger-pointing at women in general and you can’t say you know for a fact where the letter-writing or commentary is coming from. There was a TV show called “Can of Worms” that had twitter feeds that scrolled across the screen for people to weigh in with their opinions. I was surprised that both men and women shared the same biases and arguments–it wasn’t most men taking one stand and most women the other… the age demographic was relatively young (thanks twitter) so does this play a part? Maybe. Is it a female thing to judge appearances? Absolutely. Is it a male thing to judge appearances? You bet.

    As for the misogynist comment, I’m sorry I started with that because you might’ve lost the point I was trying to make, but look at the other comments you received on this article: “Right on, men don’t care” and “Women are so snide”. You have to accept that both of those people are responding to the tone of your article if not your exact words?

  5. Women are always the first to judge. They look you up and down, they make snide remarks. If change is going to happen, it needs to start at home.

    • Exactly. This is why many girls say it’s easier to be friends with guys.

      • Well when your health begins to fail you might think you want to retire any way. I wo1;8n&#d2u7lt have retired at 68 but I was taking a medication that made me get up and urinate every other hour. Working without sleep is hard. ( It was a gout medication ) I sleep 3 ½ hrs now Good Luck.Silver is money but I don’t know if it is a good buy today. Don’t go to far into debtYou know the baby boomers are retiring now and you know this will change the economy exactly how I can’t tell you.

  6. Interesting read. Women are their own worst enemy sometimes.

  7. Been reading your aticle on tony abbott and how he fluked power how rightly so and he has been inflicted on us

    I am deeply offended at the belittling of the australian people

    Remarks like poor people don t drive cars
    Remarks like we are entitlement people
    Remarks to karl stefanovich recently that the Intergenerational theft needs to stop

    Well i am poor i drive a car
    Well i am not a person who is entitled i worked all my life to raise my three children alone never got any welfare never asked for any

    I am not a thief and i resent that inference

    We only get what politicians promise so they will gain power over us

    This government hockey morrison and abbott are toxic and have to go

    Do they forget people like my great great grandfather came out with his wife from scotland to settle here worked the land in harse conditions. People like their son my father who fought in the wars for this country and made it what it is today

    People like me who are now to ill to work and get pension but told i am a thief when i have paid 42 years of taxes on
    two jobs

    I still pay tax through gst on food etc abd tax on fuel

    No but mr hockey doesbt want his kids to have to support us well hello who is supporting them now he is the government handouts are

    Who gave out thousands in baby bonuses howard did abd they bought plasma tvs

    Did people ask for this no howard thought it would get him back in power

    Please i xan t wait till 2016 when we cab tell abbott gk back yo england becausenhe is very un australian

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