Subscribe

A TV anchor wore the same suit every day for a year. Why no one noticed

The gender-bias experiment, by Australia's Today show morning male TV host, was prompted by the criticism his female colleagues receive daily. 

of

What happens when Australian television host Lisa Wilkinson carefully picks out an outfit, fixes her hair in place, and paints on a face every day? She is criticized for her appearance. What happens when her co-host Karl Stefanovic wears the same cheap Burberry-knockoff suit day in and day out on air for a year? No one notices.

Stefanovic's experiment was prompted by the sexism he saw his women colleagues facing.

"I'm judged on my interviews, my appalling sense of humour – on how I do my job, basically. Whereas women are quite often judged on what they're wearing or how their hair is," the Today show host told the Sydney Morning Herald. that's [what I wanted to test]."

Recommended: Move over Norway: Gender equality makes gains in unexpected places.

Wilkinson remarked in a lecture last year about the daily critique she receives on her appearance, pointing to an email from a woman asking, "Who the heck is Lisa's stylist? Today's outfit is particularly jarring and awful. Get some style."

Stefanovic started small. He first wore the suit every day for a month without telling his co-host. When she didn't notice, the two agreed he should keep going.

And no audience member said anything about it, Stefanovic reported. Neither did fashion commentators or other media.

His theory was that criticism is based in women judging other women. "In this situation, for women on TV, it's mainly women judging women and what they wear," he said on Today. "So is that sexism, is my question."

Wilkinson agreed that most of the negativity comes from other women. "I don't know how we got into that space where it leads toward a lack of support," she said.

But, she noted, she gets a lot of emails, and "the majority of women are really encouraging."

"Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they do, what they say and what they wear," Stefanovic told Fairfax Media. "What Lisa has done for women, in magazines and in television ... she's a great journo."

The double standard for women in the public's eye has been pointed out before.

"Women in society are judged by their looks while men are judged by what they say, UK TV presenter Claire Balding told The Daily Telegraph. "We look at women and we judge, whereas we listen to men and we judge. Their voice as in what they say is stronger than their look"

And, she said, "That’s in every walk of life, not just the media. And it has a pervasively negative effect seeping through everything."

Hillary Clinton, at a "townterview" in Kyrgyzstan in 2010 was asked – amid questions about social and political issues in the country – which designers she wears.

"Would you ever ask a man that question?" was her answer.

About these ads
Sponsored Content by LockerDome
 
 
Make a Difference
Inspired? Here are some ways to make a difference on this issue.
FREE Newsletters
Get the Monitor stories you care about delivered to your inbox.
 

We want to hear, did we miss an angle we should have covered? Should we come back to this topic? Or just give us a rating for this story. We want to hear from you.

Loading...

Loading...

Loading...

Save for later

Save
Cancel

Saved ( of items)

This item has been saved to read later from any device.
Access saved items through your user name at the top of the page.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You reached the limit of 20 saved items.
Please visit following link to manage you saved items.

View Saved Items

OK

Failed to save

You have already saved this item.

View Saved Items

OK