How the casual, jokey sexism of an Australian newspaper obituary for Colleen McCullough makes YOU a sexist.

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The trouble with shocking journalism of this type is that it very strongly perpetuates stereotypes.


The moment someone sees the name, Colleen McCullough, they are drawn to read the piece.

Whether these readers are sexist or not, the jokey tone invites and lures the reader to share in the “gentle ribbing”.

This can easily bypass critical thinking in people who aren’t well-schooled in examining stuff like this.

Most people see this article, chuckle a bit, think about whether or not they’ve ever seen Colleen McCullough, and then move on.

The payload of that little interaction is: “Women are things that men have sex with, whether they’re attractive or not. Women are intrinsically worthless. Men who don’t share the joke are over-serious. Women who don’t share the joke are stuck up hairy feminist bitches. Boys… Go play with your toy guns. Girls… Go make your Barbie doll pretty. And by the way, girls and boys… No lesbianism! Know your place!”

Another part of the payload is this: “Your physical appearance really does count. You must look a certain way to be attractive. Colleen McCullough is an exception to the rule. And only cos she was famous and rich.”

Part of the problem is the writer of the piece. But a bigger part of the problem is the publication’s editor, editorial staff, and publisher. If they’re running stories like this, you can bet the entire publication is riddled with festering cultural cancers.

Ideology is largely invisible to the masses. It hides itself in articles such as this one. And it requires great personal awareness and critical ability to be able to spot it.