By Danny McCarthy, Staff Writer
An Australian news anchor has worn the same blue suit for an entire year without anyone realizing to protest and point out the sexism his female co-anchor faces every day. On Australia’s Today, Karl Stefanovic said that while he changed his shirt and tie daily, his blue suit—dry-cleaned occasionally throughout the year—remained the same.
“Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they do, what they say and what they wear,” Stefanovic explained. “I’m judged on my interviews, my appalling sense of humor—on how I do my job, basically.”
Lisa Wilkinson, Stefanovic’s co-host, gave a 2013 Andrew Olle lecture discussing the criticisms she receives. Wilkinson also noted that, while most of the letters she receives from the public are positive, the negative ones most often come from women. She cited one particular letter from a viewer named “Angela,” who wrote, “Who the heck is Lisa’s stylist? Whoever it is has Lisa in some shocking clothes. Today’s outfit is particularly jarring and awful. Just my two cents worth…get some style.”
Wilkinson and Stefanovic are prime targets of female-on-female sexism and double standards. Stefanovic brought up the point during his big reveal, but the anchors couldn’t come to an answer.
In a November 13 interview with TIME, Taylor Swift articulated the dilemma well. “If we continue to show young girls that they are being compared to other girls, we’re doing ourselves a huge disservice as a society,” Swift said. “Other women who are killing it should motivate you, thrill you, challenge you and inspire you rather than threaten you and make you feel like you’re immediately being compared to them.”
This criticism against women needs to stop, from both men and women. When we put limits on half of our population, we are limiting our entire population. Girls are raised to see other girls as competition, and boys are raised to view girls as no competition. What would the world be like if we taught our girls and boys that they exist in a world where they should try their hardest? What if we taught them not compete against, but strive with, their contemporaries, regardless of gender?
This experiment, and the dialogue that follows, shows that we need to place value on people’s intelligence, passion and ambition, not on their reproductive organs.