Sam Armytage: ‘Our treatment of women in media is appalling’

As you may have heard, I recently got hitched. And for myriad reasons (primarily a pandemic, pragmatism and privacy) our wedding was hastily arranged, unconventional and wonderful.

While I was cursing COVID, I was secretly hoping the hen's party part of the celebrations might contract some kind of Bird Flu. But alas, the chicks I adore most - my troupe of loyal, supportive, tenacious, fabulously fun girlfriends - organised a "reverse bachelorette".

Thank God (SHE heard my prayers) there was neither a condom-covered veil nor penis straw in sight. And after a lovely dinner, good wine and great chat, we ended up at Magic Mike Live.

“Our wedding was hastily arranged, unconventional and wonderful.” (Picture: Supplied)
“Our wedding was hastily arranged, unconventional and wonderful.” (Picture: Supplied)

To my surprise (I admit I was cynical), the room was full of strong, sexy, powerful women, and a fair sprinkling of strong, sexy, powerful gay men.

The first dancers on stage: a fireman, followed by a cowboy. "Oh puh-leeze," I thought (though y'all know I'm partial to a fella who's handy with the horses). But when the next dancer appeared, the MC told us this bloke is a CEO, who pays his women as much as he pays his men.

“Society still views men who take charge as assertive, but women who take charge as bossy.” (Picture: Steven Chee)
“Society still views men who take charge as assertive, but women who take charge as bossy.” (Picture: Steven Chee)

During my lengthy career, my darling mum would often encourage me by quoting from another type of dance floor. "Remember, Ginger Rogers did everything Fred Astaire did, but she did it backwards and in high heels," she'd say, as I'd relive the man-splaining, leg-spreading and bro-priating I endured in the workplace.

You don't need me to tell you, ladies: we still have a long way to go till equality.

We need more women in leadership positions. In businesses and companies. And to do this, we need better childcare options and more supportive men.

We need more women in movie-directing and television-producing; in politics and on boards. And we need the women who are already in these positions to stand up for injustice.


Unfortunately, in 2021 society still views men who take charge as assertive, but women who take charge as bossy. Confident women who ask for what they want in the workplace are called "difficult". And I'm appalled to say I still hear the word "b*tch" bandied about (usually by a threatened male).

Our treatment of women in the media is appalling, too. I've been shamed by creepy middle-aged men posing as paparazzi, hiding and taking pictures of my underpants (through my dress!), humiliated by snarky tabloids that body-shame women, and vile creatures who gaslight women when they fight back.

But this is not about me (well, actually, this column is...). This is about 49.6 per cent of the world's population. Why are we still having to have this conversation? And then going home to cook the dinner?

Samantha Armytage features in this Sunday’s Stellar.
Samantha Armytage features in this Sunday’s Stellar.

If feminism is about choice, I choose to write a column to acknowledge International Women's Day through the lens of my reverse hen's party at a male strip show.

And I'm going to leave you with a quote, scrawled in texta on the back of the ladies Portaloo door that night: "Women are considered fragile, but I've never seen anything as easily wounded as a man's ego."

Samantha Armytage co-hosts Sunrise, 5.30am weekdays, on the Seven Network. Something To Talk About with Samantha Armytage episode two is out today. Follow or subscribe on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you listen to your podcasts.

Originally published as Sam Armytage: 'Our treatment of women in media is appalling'


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