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January 25, 2011 12:28 PM   Subscribe

After he and his co-commentator Richard Keys were stood down Monday for off-air, on-mic pre-match comments about a female assistant referee and the inability of women to understand the laws of football, Andy Gray was sacked by Sky Sports when further evidence of sexism and sexual harassment surfaced. A third Sky employee has also been suspended for complicity in the original complaint. Many are drawing parallels to Ron Atkinson's resignation in 2004 for racist comments about Marcel Desailly.

The English FA is claiming a major surge of interest by women in the wake of the scandal. Some commentators are afraid of the thought police. The BBC wonders if the offside law is really that difficult to understand. The Telegraph compiles five memorable moments from Gray's 22-year career at Sky.

Sian Massey, the assistant referee in question who performed flawlessly during the match, was scheduled to run the line for a League Two game last night but was replaced in order to keep focus on the match and not on the media furor.

Related: Tennis pro Kim Clijsters calls out ESPN's Todd Woodbridge for asking whether Clijsters might be pregnant due to her "grumpy" mood and larger breasts.
posted by Errant (132 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was wondering if this would turn up on MeFi. I've found it really quite heartening - the instant reaction from almost all quarters has been of outrage at Keys and Gray (with some exceptions, of course - that Telegraph blog is depressing). Given that comments like theirs probably wouldn't have so much as raised an eyebrow even ten years ago, it seems we've come a long way. Long way still to go, of course...
posted by ZsigE at 12:37 PM on January 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Good.

(The sacking, that is.)

Some commentators are afraid of the thought police.

Oh lordy. Being an incredibly well paid sports commentator is not a right.
posted by kmz at 12:38 PM on January 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, Britain has thought police now? Like, psychic cops?

No? These guys are being punished not for their thoughts, but for their actions and behaviors? You know, like regular police? Oh, carry on then.
posted by muddgirl at 12:38 PM on January 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


People who think that broadcasters should behave with basic decency and respect toward others are not "thought police." You're allowed to be as much of an asshole as you want in your own house, but when you're on TV, viewers get to complain about your assholedom without being the "thought police."
posted by Sidhedevil at 12:39 PM on January 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Top drawer, son! Take a bow!
posted by proj at 12:41 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Some commentators are afraid of the thought police.

Who needs thought police ? These morons said it out loud.

something something open your mouth and remove all doubt or something.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 12:41 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've become obsessed with trying to find pre-op pictures of Richard Key's extraordinarily hairy hands. The (naturally highly authoritative) source I found first has far too small a picture.
posted by cromagnon at 12:42 PM on January 25, 2011


The BBC wonders if the offside law is really that difficult to understand.

Shades of the infield fly rule.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 12:47 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kim Clijsters calls out ESPN's Todd Woodbridge for asking whether Clijsters might be pregnant

O SNAP!
posted by Hoopo at 12:48 PM on January 25, 2011


As callouts go, that was pretty cheerful. I was hoping Clijsters would really rip into him. Of course, if she had he would have texted that she must have been on the rag or some shit.
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:48 PM on January 25, 2011


I can't help but think this is punishment for Fifa 11's awful commentary track. Martin Tyler's next.
posted by doublehappy at 12:52 PM on January 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


The non-offside was a great call, but personally I don't blame Zubar for it. His central defender suddenly changed position on him, moving the line up, and didn't follow Meireles.
posted by idb at 12:53 PM on January 25, 2011


something something open your mouth and remove all doubt or something.

"Better to keep your mouth closed and be thought a fool than to open it and remove all doubt"
posted by bearwife at 12:53 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've no problem with them being sacked, and my initial feeling is that what was said was sexist, and inappropriate. However, as Jofus has pointed out elsewhere, there's not a man in the UK who hasn't expressed jokingly the opinion that women can't understand the offside rule.

I've done it myself. There are differences. I've said it in jest (not believing it), and when I've said it, it's been stated as a generalisation instead of directing towards a specific footballing professional.

So - the question I have to ask myself, is whether I've engaged in sexist behaviour and should I refrain from this or similar in the future.

I don't actually know. I categorise the comment in the same box as having-a-blonde-moment or mansplaining or women-cant-drive or man-flu.

These are all things I've said or thought or heard, and although I can see on an intellectual level why I shouldn't say any of them, I've a feeling that I'm missing a point. I'm having trouble feeling that they're wrong.

I guess that in their own awkward way, what the references to the thought police are, and it cuts back to the ongoing conversation we're all having at all times about what things are appropriate to say.

Anyway - No doubt this whole post will go the way this conversation usually does on metafilter. I'm waiting for someone to compare what I've said above with racism / homophobia. I expect to get slapped back for trying to talk honestly about this. I expect some especially PC voices to begin whining, and when they do, I'll probably think (but not say) "thought police."
posted by seanyboy at 12:54 PM on January 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Sexist Saxons sacked for suggesting second-sex sad-sacks sack-up
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:58 PM on January 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


The BBC wonders if the offside law is really that difficult to understand.

Well, I wouldn't call myself a man's man or anything, but I am a gun toting, steak cooking, muscle-car owning, heterosexual male, with a love of loud music and gas powered tools, and blowing shit up.

And I don't have a fucking clue what the "offsides law" is. Ascribing a lack of understanding to gender says a lot more about the people making the judgement than the judged.
posted by quin at 12:58 PM on January 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anyway - No doubt this whole post will go the way this conversation usually does on metafilter. I'm waiting for someone to compare what I've said above with racism / homophobia. I expect to get slapped back for trying to talk honestly about this. I expect some especially PC voices to begin whining, and when they do, I'll probably think (but not say) "thought police."

You know, I wanted to engage with you until this point. I thought the rest of your comment opened the door to having a good conversation, but if you're just going to assume the worst of people before anyone even opens their mouth I don't see why I should bother.
posted by supercrayon at 12:58 PM on January 25, 2011 [18 favorites]


Great player, but it turns out a gobshite idiot. You won't be missed, Andy.

there's not a man in the UK who hasn't expressed jokingly the opinion that women can't understand the offside rule
I get your point, seanyboy, but I've honestly never expressed this opinion even in jest, because it's obviously nonsense (inasmuch as gender has nowt to do with widespread ignorance over the oft-tweaked offside law)
posted by Abiezer at 1:01 PM on January 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


My kids played soccer since they were in kindergarten up through high school, and I still can't recognize offside.
posted by Thorzdad at 1:05 PM on January 25, 2011


I guess my question to seanyboy would be:

Why is it OK to imply that a woman referee is automatically worse at her job than a male referee? Because that's what they are doing - implying that a woman is biologically incapable of understanding the function of her job. Why should that be seen as something harmless?
posted by muddgirl at 1:07 PM on January 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


The offside rule is hard to understand when the call is against your team.
posted by redyaky at 1:08 PM on January 25, 2011


there's not a man in the UK who hasn't expressed jokingly the opinion that women can't understand the offside rule.

Then...perhaps it's time to get new jokes?
posted by emjaybee at 1:09 PM on January 25, 2011 [15 favorites]


Impugning the ability of a professional referee based on their gender is sexist. A broadcaster doing it on the air is making a sexist attack on a professional colleague. How would that be okay?

If someone comes to your house and nabs you for making some joke about how women suck at understanding soccer/football, they would be the thought police. If someone enforces professional respect and decency between colleagues in a public enterprise, they are not being the thought police.

If you see this as "whining" or "PC" then I don't know what to say.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:10 PM on January 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


In the United States, we get the same shit about female referees in baseball. Props to the FA for at least allowing women to assistant ref games. (AFAIK, the highest position a woman has ever attained in Major League Baseball is umpiring an off-season exhibition game).
posted by muddgirl at 1:11 PM on January 25, 2011


there's not a man in the UK who hasn't expressed jokingly the opinion that women can't understand the offside rule

Also, I can name you at least one, because I explained it to him.
posted by Sidhedevil at 1:12 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think people reason something like this: Lots of women don't understand the offside rule. Lots of men do. When I tried to explain offside to my girlfriend she looked at me blankly. Therefore men are more capable of understanding the offside rule than women.

It's faulty logic and it's ignorant, but I feel like we probably all do it. It's easy. I understand something that you don't, therefore you aren't capable of understanding it. I have more money than you, money is reward for intelligence and charisma and awesomeness, therefore I am smarter, more likable, and more awesome than you. There are more black people in prison, therefore black people are more naturally criminal.

I think more people should resign.
posted by doublehappy at 1:12 PM on January 25, 2011


I mean, the highest position a female referee has attained in MLB...
posted by muddgirl at 1:12 PM on January 25, 2011


Ah, discourse!
posted by smackfu at 1:13 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am shocked, *shocked*, I tell you, to learn that an ex-footballer harbours sexist opinions.

I hated football at school. I hate football now. Football is the dumb prole game that blights the youth of the sensitive British male child, and oh, how it blighted my youthful years. I never met a football enthusiast I liked. Frankly, it saddens me that women even want to sully themselves by becoming involved with this dreadful nonsense of a game. I had thought rather better of them. Is my life to be nothing but an ever-expanding catalogue of disappointment? Woe. Woe, I say.
posted by Decani at 1:15 PM on January 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


The thing that has struck me about football is that while most American sports claim a decent sized female audience (most notably baseball), in Europe there's still a strong stereotype that women cannot and should not be interested in footie.

It's certainly not perfect in American sports -- witness the New York Jets' locker room scandal this season -- but I do see women as sports fans as far more tolerated or embraced in the US than in Europe.

(The fact it was the locker room asshole Jets vs. the Steelers, QB'd by the thrice rape accused Ben Roethlisberger, in the AFC Championship Game made the game totally unwatchable.)
posted by dw at 1:17 PM on January 25, 2011


The first woman to officiate in the Premier League was Wendy Toms, who was a FIFA-listed (read: highest rank available) referee in women's football and rose to Level 2 referee status in the men's game, the same level that Sian Massey currently has. Level 2 allows the official to take charge of matches in the Football Conference, to be a Premier League reserve referee, and to be an assistant in the Football League (League Two, League One, Championship, Premier League). Toms officiated at Level 2 from 1997-2005. Gordon Strachan famously compared her to an Alsatian.

The second is Amy Fearn, who is the highest-ranked female referee in the men's game at Level 1 (eligible to take charge of Football League matches) and became the first woman to take charge of a Football League game. Mike Newell, then manager of Luton Town, decried her appointment as PC-ism following her refusal to award Luton Town a penalty.

Sian Massey is the third. At 25, Massey is one of the youngest referees eligible to officiate in the Football League and there are many who believe she will be the first woman to take charge of a Premier League game.

In Germany, Bibiana Steinhaus is the first woman appointed to take charge of Bundesliga matches. I believe she has been officiating in 1.Bundesliga since 2008. Last year she was "accidentally" groped by a Hertha Berlin player during a match.
posted by Errant at 1:19 PM on January 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


And just to note that The Sun splashed a picture of the referee in question dancing in a miniskirt and tanktop taken at some party across the front of page one just to illustrate their respect for the contribution women referees make to English football.
posted by bright cold day at 1:20 PM on January 25, 2011


Good to see more evidence of the Murdoch empire staffed by police-corrupting liars and misogynists just before they use their (disgraced) tory connections to crush the BBC and liberate truth in the UK.

Carry on, Rupert. Rupert the bear-faced liar hirer.
posted by davemee at 1:21 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


In any subject, a lack of comprehension is exactly that, and could possibly be due to a lousy/misinformed explanation, an inability to grasp the subject at hand or a combination thereof.

Has absolutely nothing to do with one's genitals.

The offsides rule isn't that effing difficult to comprehend, gents. Attempts to pass it off as some mysterious ineffable Masonic-like voodoo that we women are too obtuse to understand just serves to highlight one's own sexist idiocy.
posted by romakimmy at 1:22 PM on January 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


I mean, the highest position a female referee has attained in MLB...

Female UMPIRE.

But yes, there are some women umpires in the minors, but none has risen to MLB yet. However, there are a number of women in the front office, most notably Kim Ng, the assistant GM of the Los Angeles Dodgers and a perennial GM candidate.
posted by dw at 1:23 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


So, on one hand Sky Sports fire Andy Gray for making an unoriginal, unfunny sexist comment off-camera to a colleague. Fair enough.

On the other hand, their flagship Saturday morning football show - Soccer AM - has been featuring the "Soccerette" segment, in which a young attractive female is paraded up and down a catwalk in a tight t-shirt and a miniskirt while a gallery of football fans leer and wolfwhistle at her. Oh, and at the end she does a simulated striptease. None of the bosses at Sky have noticed that before? It's only been on for about 15 years.
posted by afx237vi at 1:25 PM on January 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


Now, American football...that shit is impossible to explain to anyone:

"Okay, the team with the ball has four chances - but really only three most of the time because then you have to punt - that means kick the ball to the other team - or kick a field goal...no that's different than a punt, I'll get back to that - to move the ball ten yards, but only the quarterback can throw it - unless he throws it to someone behind him first and then that guy can throw it if he wants to - or they can run, anyone including the quarterback can run the ball but if any part of your body except one of your hands touches the ground you're down and have to stop and try again and that counts as one of your chances - which are called 'downs' - and the guys on the team with the ball can't move until the ball is snapped - well, the quarterback can and some of the other guys can sometimes, it depends - but the other team can move as much as they want as long as they don't cross an invisible line between the two teams before the ball is snapped, or if they do they have to come back behind the line before the ball is snapped and then it's not a penalty - and oh yeah, so if the quarterback throws the ball the guy on his team has to catch it before it touches the ground and before he goes out of bounds, and sometimes it looks like he has the ball, but he has to have complete control of the ball and complete two football moves or it doesn't count - oh, and the ground can't cause a fumble - a fumble is when you drop the ball before you are "down" and then anyone on either team can pick it up, but if you throw the ball and the guy drops it that's different from a fumble and no-one can pick it up and they have to try again, but sometimes a guy will catch it and it will count and then he will drop it and that counts as a fumble - but if it's close to the end of the game there's a rule about who on his team can pick it up other than him, but I'll get back to that............................"
posted by The Card Cheat at 1:27 PM on January 25, 2011 [9 favorites]


Ms Massey was due to run the line tonight at our (Crewe Alex's) home game against Bradford but she withdrew in the wake of this kerfuffle. I see we've had a striker sent off just before half time - mebbe if a skilled professional like her was there we'd still have eleven men on the pitch (though seems it was for violent conduct, Clayton you naughty boy).
posted by Abiezer at 1:27 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


The offsides rule isn't that effing difficult to comprehend, gents.

After watching the Dutch fans bellyache about Iniesta's goal, I would disagree.
posted by dw at 1:30 PM on January 25, 2011


I am shocked, *shocked*, I tell you, to learn that an ex-footballer harbours sexist opinions.

I very much doubt that anyone is terribly surprised to discover that Andy Gray is an idiot. What makes this story interesting, to my mind anyway, is that the well-ingrained culture of sexism and old-boys-home stuff in football is sort of an open secret: everyone knows it's there, no one talks about it, and so it's allowed to thrive in the shade. Something like this brings that culture out into the light, and it's the kind of culture that tends not to do well when exposed so baldly.

It's also interesting because this comes just a few days after a "landmark" UEFA conference on matching words of equality with actions to promote equality. The English FA declined to send a representative to this conference.
posted by Errant at 1:32 PM on January 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Surely I'm not the only one who is wondering where the off-air recording came from? And the earlier recording? And wondering if, by any stretch of the imagination, this whole incident might be related to Andy Gray suing Murdoch's News Of The World for allegedly tapping his phone?? Dangerous game, suing your employer's other business interests...
posted by khites at 1:35 PM on January 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


That point was made on our club forum khites and wouldn't be surprised if it was true. More fool Gray for giving them the ammo, though.
posted by Abiezer at 1:39 PM on January 25, 2011


"Offside" not "offsides". Pedantic, I know.
posted by josher71 at 1:48 PM on January 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Gray's brains stop at sock level.

(though I did get his autograph in 1983 ...)
posted by scruss at 2:01 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Impugning the ability of a professional referee based on their gender is sexist. A broadcaster doing it on the air is making a sexist attack on a professional colleague. How would that be okay?

Well said. It's not about the offside rule, it's about attacking a fellow professional in the business while on the job. And contrary to O'Neill's claim, it's no longer private when you're in the recording booth and a few buttons away from broadcast.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 2:02 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


After watching the Dutch fans bellyache about Iniesta's goal, I would disagree.

When the balls leaves Fabregas' foot (@ :13 or :14 ish), Iniesta is onside due to the Dutch defender in the middle of the box, who didn't came in quickly enough to make Iniesta offside, which is also pointed out later in the vid @1:19.

And the Dutch were damn lucky they weren't in 10 men after Nigel de Jong's karate kick in the first half. Brutal.

I plead clemency on the offside/offsides pedantry, josher71: I learned my footie in Italian. :)
posted by romakimmy at 2:03 PM on January 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


So - the question I have to ask myself, is whether I've engaged in sexist behaviour and should I refrain from this or similar in the future.

Yes, you have and yes, you should.

One's gender has nothing to with one's ability to grasp a set of rules, and if you're perpetuating such a myth that's bad and you should feel bad.
posted by eamondaly at 2:15 PM on January 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sorry, I should have said "on mike" rather than "on the air." It's still inappropriate workplace behavior, as the comments were heard by at least the entire production team and everyone else in the broadcast booth. Not a "thought crime" at all, but an infraction of basic workplace civility.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:19 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


One's gender has nothing to with one's ability to grasp a set of rules

Offside rule incredibly straightforward

posted by Errant at 2:20 PM on January 25, 2011


Once upon a not very long ago I played Rugby League at a very amateur level. It was a league for fans organised through a message board, and whenever the pro teams played and the fans on that forum had a team we'd get together in a local park and play twenty minutes each way of either touch or full contact, depending on what set of rules we could agree on. Experience varied from never having touched a ball before to playing for a local amateur side, and venues varied from the kinds of parks where you have to abandon the game and do a runner for not having the proper insurance to once or twice actually being invited to be the pre-match entertainment at the pro game.

We had a ringer. She was 17 and played for the Great Britain women's team. Sometimes men who'd hardly played before and had no technique at all refused to play for fear of hurting her. More often they'd assume she was the weakest link and run straight at her. Generally that only happened once. Once a sixteen stone guy in his late twenties has had the wind knocked out of him in front of his mates by a seventeen year old girl none of the others want it to happen to them.
posted by vbfg at 2:26 PM on January 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


I've done it myself. There are differences. I've said it in jest (not believing it), and when I've said it, it's been stated as a generalisation instead of directing towards a specific footballing professional.

So - the question I have to ask myself, is whether I've engaged in sexist behaviour and should I refrain from this or similar in the future.


Uh, yep.

I don't actually know. I categorise the comment in the same box as having-a-blonde-moment or mansplaining or women-cant-drive or man-flu.

Uh, yep.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:27 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh yeah, almost forgot. Opposable thumbs. Pick it up, silly sods.
posted by vbfg at 2:28 PM on January 25, 2011


Surely I'm not the only one who is wondering where the off-air recording came from? And the earlier recording? And wondering if, by any stretch of the imagination, this whole incident might be related to Andy Gray suing Murdoch's News Of The World for allegedly tapping his phone?? Dangerous game, suing your employer's other business interests...

I was wondering the same thing, directly relevant footage finds its way into the public domain, from not one but two previous incidents - it certainly looks like someone has it in for him, and it would seem a like a good way to run around any long-term contract he might have.
posted by biffa at 2:52 PM on January 25, 2011


I've done it myself. There are differences. I've said it in jest (not believing it), and when I've said it, it's been stated as a generalisation instead of directing towards a specific footballing professional.

So - the question I have to ask myself, is whether I've engaged in sexist behaviour and should I refrain from this or similar in the future.

I don't actually know. I categorise the comment in the same box as having-a-blonde-moment or mansplaining or women-cant-drive or man-flu.


I don't see what the issue, you made a joke, it was sexist, but quite possibly still funny with no harm done. People do that all time on a variety of taboo subjects, with the express idea that is a joke, said among people who know it's just a joke, because they know you.

I would not recommend doing it front a crowd of strangers.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 3:00 PM on January 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Reading tweets mentioning Sian Massey earlier today plumbed the depths of sub-YouTubery. Apparently it only takes your knuckles to retweet sexist jokes.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:10 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nice comparison by the OP to Ron Atkinson's racist comment - I believe Andy Gray was his assistant manager at Villa before Andy took the Sky job (the Sky who invented modern football which now dates back to 1992!).

Also - why hasn't that idiot Keys been sacked. I'm no Karen Brady fan, but "Do me a favor, love" was telling. Sack the idiot.
posted by Sk4n at 3:14 PM on January 25, 2011


I suspect there should be a rule for self-preservation in broadcasting and politics that if there's a microphone and/or in front of you, you should assume:
1) that it's on
2) that everything you say will eventually appear on the web possibly in the form of a dance mix.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:20 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


and/or camera
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:53 PM on January 25, 2011


If someone were to attempt and deduce the definition of the offside rule from nothing but the observation of fans' reactions and judgment calls then the resulting definition would be very simple:

Any position from which the opposing team manages to run up to the goal and/or score is automatically offside. Any position from which the own team does so is not.
posted by Hairy Lobster at 4:03 PM on January 25, 2011


there's not a man in the UK who hasn't expressed jokingly the opinion that women can't understand the offside rule

And there's not a poster here who hasn't generalized jokingly to an entire population from their individual opinion.

I never expressed that; but then I never cared about football anyway.

(And WAHEY IT'S JUST A JOKE LUV is not a get-out-of-sexism-free card, IMHO.)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 4:30 PM on January 25, 2011


muddgirl: Why is it OK to imply that a woman referee is automatically worse at her job than a male referee?

Never said it was, and by explicitly stating my position on the presenters punishment, I hoped that nobody would jump to the conclusion that I thought it was. Like I said - I believe they should have been sacked for what they said. That the comment was aimed at a professional, and taken in conjunction with what was said about Karen Brady makes this straight up wrong.

But, there are a number of buts in this.

From the phrasing and the tone of the comments, I believe that this was a private joke between two friends. Two important words there - Private & Joke. From the tone, I don't think we can make the assumption that either Keys or Gray actually believe what was said.

If Hillary Clinton had got the Whitehouse job, and John Stewart had said about it, "A woman... in the Whitehouse... What's that about?", we would have understood the joke and it wouldn't have changed our opinion on his liberal viewpoint.

There are parallels here to the twitter joke trial that I'm not comfortable with.


Back onto the sexism of the statement: I've tried to vocalise what's troubling about this to me, and I really am finding it difficult to reconcile jokey comments about women & the offside rule with straight up easy to identify sexism. I think there's a line between statements which reinforce negative sexual stereotypes and those which are a harmless response to differences between the sexes. I'm not sure where "women don't understand offside" fits into this, but I don't think it's as cut and dried as some people would like it to be.
posted by seanyboy at 4:34 PM on January 25, 2011


there's not a poster here who hasn't generalized jokingly to an entire population from their individual opinion.
But I bet you're aware of the trope & you've come across it in your personal life. And I would guess that you never thought it was that wrong or pulled anyone up for saying it.

WAHEY IT'S JUST A JOKE LUV is not a get-out-of-sexism-free card
I never said it was & the fact that you're trying to redefine my original comment as such just makes this conversation more combative and difficult to have.
posted by seanyboy at 4:39 PM on January 25, 2011


I have actually pulled someone aside for repeatedly making that kind of joke. Once in a while, in the right company, such a joke has the potential to be funny and not indicative of a broader sexism. Repeatedly, in mixed company? Yeah, at some point I decide that I'm either not going to be around that person anymore or I'm going to pull them aside and let them know that they need to cut it out.

I think the line here is about frequency. I might not think anything of it the first time, except that it's probably in poor taste. The second or third time? That's just not on. Pervasive joking that generalizes about a group of people is revealing.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:45 PM on January 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


eamondaly: One's gender has nothing to with one's ability to grasp a set of rules, and if you're perpetuating such a myth that's bad and you should feel bad.
I'm not sure it does perpetuate a negative myth though. It's a generalisation, sure - but it's one which has more to do with the stereotype of "men like sports and remembering useless rules" than any assumptions about women's abilities to grasp rules.

This may not be the same with everyone, but it's how I've always seen it, and I've heard it expressed this way obliquely by football fans (male and female).
posted by seanyboy at 4:47 PM on January 25, 2011


Fair comment stoneweaver. If I was with some idiot bleating this and other gendered generalisations at every opportunity, then I'd say something or move away too. And contextually, what you had with Keys and Gray was too many "jokes" in too short a time. I think it does point to an attitude problem on their parts.
posted by seanyboy at 4:51 PM on January 25, 2011


I think there's also something about making it an inability to grasp the offsides rule rather than not understanding it. Inability implies that no amount of explaining will change it and women are just innately dumb. Not understanding? Well, that's easy enough to fix with a few minutes of explanation. Indicates that mostly women (vast generalization!) don't care enough about football to understand it already. Framing and individual word choice matter.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:55 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also - That Telegraph piece makes a more interesting case than just "Thought Police."

The money quote for me:
The ousting of Gray, and the gobsmacking lack of criticism it has invited, shows how utterly denigrated the notion of privacy has become.
posted by seanyboy at 5:06 PM on January 25, 2011


I find I'm in complete agreement with you stoneweaver. I listened back to the original footage, and it's pretty damning.

Oh - And the privacy argument reminds me of bigotgate.
posted by seanyboy at 5:10 PM on January 25, 2011


A broadcaster doing it on the air is making a sexist attack on a professional colleague
I think it's worth stating this overtly: not a one of these comments, piss-poor though they are, were ever uttered on air. Nor into the only mics they were using, which were off at the time.
posted by genghis at 5:20 PM on January 25, 2011


From the phrasing and the tone of the comments, I believe that this was a private joke between two friends.

But it's not, of course; Gray said virtually the same thing to Andy Burton during the warm-up to the pitchside interview: "Fuck, what do women know about offside?" Now, you could say that it's a private joke between three people, but the cameraman was joining in from "offstage". So now it's a private joke between four people, except Burton was asking Gray whether the lino was a looker or not, some other guy said she was? So now it's a private joke between five people, except...

And so on. Leering at your co-commentator and asking her to tuck your shirt in for the mirth of the many, many boys around you on stage may be a joke, but it's also sexual harassment, and it's worth noting that that's the shit that got him fired, not poor remarks about women and offside. Although, for what it's worth, Keys and he don't sound like they're joking to me, they sound like they're annoyed and scornful. But whatever, that's just me.

The "women don't understand the offside rule" joke is pretty old and pretty hackneyed, but I'll grant you that it's not the most harmful thing in the world, although I don't think it's harmless. But when you're saying that about a female linesperson, the vast majority of whose job it is to interpret the offside law correctly, you're really out of the realm of bland sexist humor and into questioning the merit of a fellow professional based solely on gender. It's sort of like seeing a woman professor at a physics conference, nudging your buddy, and saying, "She's presenting? Fuck, what do women know about math? This conference has gone mad." That's bad enough; it's worse if, in this example, you are also a pillar of the physics community and a widely-recognized voice and advocate for the field.

The ousting of Gray, and the gobsmacking lack of criticism it has invited, shows how utterly denigrated the notion of privacy has become.

I don't understand how people can continue to believe that they have a right to privacy when they are speaking into corporate microphones and are on camera, about to be broadcast to millions. No one is pulling Gray up for making lewd comments over the phone to his mate, and if they were I'd think he was an asshole who was having his privacy invaded. But he was at work, the front face for a billion-dollar corporation and initiative. He's not in private. He was speaking audibly enough for the crew to hear; how might a woman behind the camera feel, hearing that the famous Andy Gray thinks she's too dumb to count to two? If it's just him and Keys on the phone or talking quietly in the pub after work or whatever, ok, fine (it's not fine, it's stupid, but, y'know, fine). But he's at work, and it's to his discredit that he didn't treat other professionals with the same respect he demands for himself.

On preview: To clarify, I think we're on the same page, seanyboy, and I'm not accusing you of making any of these arguments. I just continue to be astonished that people think it should be a protected right to make other people feel bad if one is expressing an opinion, as though that is shield enough from all consequence.
posted by Errant at 5:21 PM on January 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


That Ron Atkinson one is rolled gold. Will it make the Oxford Dictionary of Quotations?
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:23 PM on January 25, 2011


there's not a man in the UK who hasn't expressed jokingly the opinion that women can't understand the offside rule

Oh yes there fucking is. I'm no saint, but this shit is tired, tedious, unintelligent and unfunny.

On the occasions people have trotted this shite out in front of me, I go out of my way never to spend time with that person again. It's not a great sacrifice.
posted by jontyjago at 5:29 PM on January 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


When the balls leaves Fabregas' foot (@ :13 or :14 ish), Iniesta is onside due to the Dutch defender in the middle of the box, who didn't came in quickly enough to make Iniesta offside, which is also pointed out later in the vid @1:19.

Yes, yes, EXACTLY. And a lot of the whining is because of ignorance of a rule change FIFA made about a decade ago saying you only blow the whistle if the offending player is directly involved in the run of play. When Iniesta was offsides, he was not involved in the play in any way. Once he was, he was back ahead of the defender.

They changed that rule because it was allowing defending teams to offside trap their way to 0-0 games.
posted by dw at 5:50 PM on January 25, 2011


Would you smash it?

It's telling that Gullit, Souness and even Redknapp are uncomfortable due to Keys comments, Souness even gives him a "shut up" tap at the end.

They didn't call him on it though, and therein lies the problem. Even when all three are obviously uncomfortable none of them decide to explain to Keys why he is being an idiot or even tell him to shut up.
posted by fullerine at 11:20 PM on January 25, 2011


Advertisers, film makers and media channels sell stuff to popular culture by confirming its self-conception. The market ensures that only the most accurate representations of that self-conception succeeds. So by inspecting what gets advertised, portrayed in film, and broadcast, you are inspecting how society thinks about itself.

You can't watch an advert at the moment (on UK television, at least) that isn't some variant of the 'wise-girlfriend-rescuing-neanderthal-boyfriend-from-his-own-ineptitude' theme. Idiot boyfriend buys the wrong brand of cheese crisps, cut to tolerant girlfriend dropping them in the bin. Idiot husband cleans the kitchen quickly for tolerant wife after using the right brand of cleaner, selected by his wife. Wise girlfriend steers dummy boyfriend round the best buys at the hardware store. Wise woman purchases car insurance from a firm that keeps premiums down my excluding neanderthal males.

On the same news programme in which we learned of Gray's offence, we learned that alcohol related liver disease is rising in the UK. The truly dreadful aspect of the news, the presenter tells us, is that for the first time liver disease amongst women is rising. Presumably, male liver disease is just dandy, the outcome of some neanderthal trait.

Feminism's triumph has been to elevate their peculiar grievances to the status of axioms. Meanwhile, we are absolutely saturated in prejudice against men. We swallow camel trains of it every day without noticing, yet strain at gnats like this. The fact that most are oblivious to it speaks to the very nature of prejudice.
posted by falcon at 2:05 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


They didn't call him on it though, and therein lies the problem. Even when all three are obviously uncomfortable none of them decide to explain to Keys why he is being an idiot or even tell him to shut up.

Well, just as Murdoch selects the UK government and the Met decline to investigate crimes committed by News Ltd journos for fear of angering him, I imagine Redknapp et al are only to acutely aware that Murdoch owns the Premiership. Don't anger the boss's reps.
posted by rodgerd at 2:06 AM on January 26, 2011


xkcd: How it Works.
posted by mahershalal at 2:48 AM on January 26, 2011


falcon - While what you say about advertising is true (although it's not quite every advert) - and in fact the same assumptions extend throughout the media, I'm not sure that painting it as "prejudice against men" per se is very helpful. After all, those adverts are aimed at women, who the advertisers feel (and I assume because they use these tropes so often, feel accurately) that by flattering the people who make most of the purchases (still female) they can sell more stuff. The Sky Sports commentators feel that they can make a connection to their male audience in the same way.

In my experience the Foolish Hubby trope you referred is widespread and goes largely uncritiqued, or not effectively, and what usually undermines the critiques is the tendency to get righteous about it and paint it as an issue of repression. I've worked in mostly-female offices where I've often and increasingly heard the word "male" used as a term of abuse - "That's a very male [or boy or man] thing to do" in reference to something considered foolish or negative. For a long time I've worked for one person who has serially patronised and insulted male underlings (and not female ones), who doesn't even realise she's doing it (apparantly it's "just a joke"). While, yes, this does make me feel uncomfortable in those contexts, it also seems that such narrow-minded bigotry is as much a problem for the bigot than for me. It allows women who buy into it to remain complacent and self-indulgent about a lot of things. And it has to be said that the same individuals behave in a less-than-sisterly way to each other.

I generally don't complain because I need the money, but also because it's clear that the wisespread low-level misandry is endemic in those places, and pointing it out would be considered as foolish as warning them of alien abduction or unicorn attack - foolish, ridiculous and beneath contempt. Or as they would have it, "male". As I say, it's not fun, but it's just something one has to work with.

(And these are people I've known for up to twenty years and who are often perfectly agreeable colleagues.)

The things you point out are factually true, but what is needed more than any sense of grievance is a context to point out such things for critique, showing how foolish they are.

(Ooh. Bit of a rant. Time for a cup of tea.)
posted by Grangousier at 2:58 AM on January 26, 2011


Grangousier - I agree with your post. Mine reduces, I suppose, to "Factions are beastly to each other. Feminists have been peculiarly successful in politicising their species of beastliness". Your point about targeting disposable income in advertising is particularly relevant---feminists are rather quiet, amongst all the noise about glass ceilings and gender quotas, about the fact that women now command the greatest fraction of disposable income in the UK due to collapsing male education outcomes, persistent occupational health related mortality rates, changes in divorce and family law, etc.

I can't tell whether you believe that widespread misandry is low-level, or that the misandry that is widespread in your place of work is low-level.

I think, if you inspect the data, it is reasonable to conclude that misandry is both widespread and "high-level". The male/female prison ratio does not reflect the ratio by gender of comparable imprisonable offences in society---women are frequently 'excused', and getting pregnant before trial to ensure that outcome is a well known trick. The depiction of domestic abuse as a "thing done by men to women" does not reflect the actual incidence of domestic abuse in society (I write as a man who has been struck hard only once in his life, and by a woman). The persistently higher and rising suicide rate amongst males, particularly adolescent, and its correlation with feminist societal changes is dramatic.

We can perhaps distinguish between low-grade workplace foolishness (of which this news item is also an example), and forces which are dramatically affecting male life outcomes, to point out that the Empress is very, very naked.
posted by falcon at 4:10 AM on January 26, 2011


Falcon: I've spoken about this before, but the tl;dr version of it is:

That trope - where the man is portrayed as clueless/Neanderthal - is more damaging to women than it is to men. When you say a man is can't do menial work and can't help behaving like an animal, you're reinforcing a culture that lets men get away with doing nothing and you're putting the blame for bad male behaviour onto women. "She was asking for it."

"Foolish hubby" doesn't stop men getting jobs, and it is sickeningly anti-woman.
posted by seanyboy at 4:26 AM on January 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm very pleased Gray has been sacked but as Sk4n says, why hasn't Keys been sacked too? At the very least he should have exploded in a ball of irony having rebutted Brady's accusation of sexism by, er, being incredibly sexist.

there's not a man in the UK who hasn't expressed jokingly the opinion that women can't understand the offside rule

Let me added myself to the long list of men who have never done any such thing. I understand the offside rule and I tend to find that men and women with an interest in football understand it whereas as men and women who don't give a toss about football don't. Funny that.

I am shocked, *shocked*, I tell you, to learn that an ex-footballer harbours sexist opinions.

I know you've larded your comment with "humour" but it still makes you sound like an idiot. You might also be interest in the response from Rio Ferdinand, the England captain: "I'm all for women refereeing in football, discrimination should not happen in our game at all ... prehistoric views if u think otherwise."

in Europe there's still a strong stereotype that women cannot and should not be interested in footie.

Evidence?
posted by ninebelow at 4:32 AM on January 26, 2011


The male/female prison ratio does not reflect the ratio by gender of comparable imprisonable offences in society

It'd be nice to see some data on this broken down by crime type. My understanding was that women tend to get higher sentences than men for the same crime. I could be mistaken.

A broad view of the data does seem to show that men do seem to get larger sentences for murder. However, given that men are also 4 times more likely to have significantly threatened their spouse before being murdered by them, I would imagine this would skew the results.

The rest of the stuff you've said about misandry and female to male domestic abuse just seems a bit weird & doesn't really gel with my own experiences. Seems like you're angry at someone here.
posted by seanyboy at 4:51 AM on January 26, 2011


Anyway, we shouldn't allow ourselves to be distracted from the pleasure of watching two idiots on Murdoch's channel being discomforted.
posted by Grangousier at 5:06 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Incidentally, my wife has attempted to explain the offside rule to me several times, but it doesn't stick. I just don't care enough.
posted by Grangousier at 5:18 AM on January 26, 2011


They didn't call him on it though, and therein lies the problem. Even when all three are obviously uncomfortable none of them decide to explain to Keys why he is being an idiot or even tell him to shut up.

Absolutely. And that's why one of the most heartening moments of this affair has been Kenny Dalglish's teasing of a Sky reporter in a press conference, by asking him if he minded that there were women reporters in the room.

Po-faced condemnations of Gray and and Keys are necessary, but more important is for someone respected by fans to show that it's possible to be both anti-sexist and blokey, both fair and funny. It's much more effective to jeer sexism out of the pub than to sternly glare it out.


One more minor point. 'Gordon Strachan famously compared [a woman referee] to an Alsatian.' is not an accurate representation of his comments. He said "It does not matter if they are ladies, men or Alsatian dogs. If they are not good enough to run the line they should not get the job." Overall his comments were sexist and reprehensible, but since we have the high ground, let's stick to it.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 6:22 AM on January 26, 2011


Feminism's triumph has been to elevate their peculiar grievances to the status of axioms. Meanwhile, we are absolutely saturated in prejudice against men

Yeah, this dog doesn't really hunt on MeFi.
posted by josher71 at 6:54 AM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Foolish hubby"

aka: Ad Dad
posted by uncanny hengeman at 6:57 AM on January 26, 2011


FYI: The only place I regularly read about the scourge of "Ad Dad" is feminist-friendly blogs like Sociological Images (you can see many examples tagged with masculinity and marketing). So to say that feminists are explicitely ignoring this phenomenon would be an incorrect assumption, probably based on incorrect beliefs about feminism. It's more true to say that this is a phenomenon perpetuated by a patriarchal society. The people who are talking about it are the same people who are ignored or denigrated in the first place, giving the illusion that no one cares.
posted by muddgirl at 7:38 AM on January 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


It's also worth noting that the "Ad Dad" significantly predates most second-wave feminism and is reactionary and anti-feminist. In fact, one of the main criticisms of Friedan's The Feminine Mystique in 1963 was that advertising raised expectations of housework for women in the home to keep them trapped in unpaid domestic labor. It boggles my mind that feminists are to blame for something that's both ubiquitous and subject to their earliest criticisms.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:00 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Extraordinary follow up article on the culture of sexism and bullying at Sky Sports.
posted by ninebelow at 8:10 AM on January 26, 2011


I have a sneaking suspicion that football is the last bastion of a certain type of unrecontructed English Male - they love the locker room without women , gays and in the past blacks.
They have still managed to exclude a major part of the population - there is still not a single South Asian player in the Premier League. The old excuse was 'they were too small' - until the day we get a out gay and a south asian player , I will view football with a deep suspicion of an old boys club who wants to maintain the status quo.
posted by dprs75 at 8:16 AM on January 26, 2011


In America, soccer often has the opposite association - it's a sport that girls can play. It's European and thus less masculine than baseball or American football. That's definitely changing, though, as Central and South American soccer culture starts has been influencing soccer culture in the US.
posted by muddgirl at 8:36 AM on January 26, 2011


They have still managed to exclude a major part of the population - there is still not a single South Asian player in the Premier League.

I agree that football harbours racism, sexism and all manner of other prejudices, but these days successful teams select on the basis of ability. There are players from pretty much everywhere else (including other parts of Asia) and I suspect that when it comes to south Asians, cricket is as much to blame as discrimination.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 8:42 AM on January 26, 2011


I know it's because of my prejudice but my first association whenever seeing an article about British sports broadcasters is to think of everyone's favorite snooker commentators

Ooh, that's a bad miss

posted by jtron at 9:27 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Ad Dad" is created by men (advertising creatives are so disproportionately men that I can't think of another profession outside of oil rig mechanic that is equally disproprotionately male) to reinforce gender-essentialist stereotypes.

An illusion of superior competence at vacuuming or doing the dishes is a shitty consolation prize from the patriarchy. Also, as others have said, feminists complain about "Ad Dad" all the fucking time.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:10 AM on January 26, 2011


I think it's worth stating this overtly: not a one of these comments, piss-poor though they are, were ever uttered on air. Nor into the only mics they were using, which were off at the time.

Yep, as you'll notice, I corrected that mistake myself. It's still completely inappropriate workplace behavior to criticize a colleague's professional actions based on their gender.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:12 AM on January 26, 2011


I think it's worth stating this overtly: not a one of these comments, piss-poor though they are, were ever uttered on air. Nor into the only mics they were using, which were off at the time.

The Guardian coverage reports that the comments occurred on mic (and on tape) but off the air. Something that Springer's movie Spin documents quite well is that the production process captures a fair bit of candid material trusting in the editorial discretion of producers down the line.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:22 AM on January 26, 2011


Richard Keys was on talkSPORT today to give his side of the story. [audio] [transcript] It's quite remarkable.

One more minor point. 'Gordon Strachan famously compared [a woman referee] to an Alsatian.' is not an accurate representation of his comments.

I did link directly to the comments in question so that one may judge for oneself, but for what it's worth, I do apologize for making a joke that obviously didn't come off. I was compiling a list of women referees and the various public sexism they had faced, and I felt the need to inject a moment of levity for myself into an otherwise depressing compilation. Regardless, my apologies.

You might also be interest in the response from Rio Ferdinand, the England captain: "I'm all for women refereeing in football, discrimination should not happen in our game at all ... prehistoric views if u think otherwise."

This would be the same Rio Ferdinand who called a radio DJ a "faggot" and who, in his capacity as team captain, organized the 2007 Christmas roast of around 100 girls, that Rio Ferdinand? Yeah, he's a model of the modern major feminist.
posted by Errant at 10:55 AM on January 26, 2011


I can't read that whole transcript (sorry... I just can't do it. I have a physical revulsion to the idea behind "lads mag humor"), but I want to quickly address this idea that, because Massey accepted his apology "with good humor" and a little banter, then it's all alright.

Look, Massey is stuck between a rock and a hard place here - she is trying to her job - a job that she seems personally and professionally devoted to. She's facing unbelievable pressure because she wasn't born with the right "bits" to be a soccer referee. There is literally no "acceptable" way for her to react, besides with good humor. Any other reaction will get her the label of "poor sport," "bitch" in the US and "disagreeable bint" or worse in the UK.

I have been in Massey's position before and it is incredibly embarrassing. She is already seeing probably-unwanted attention which is leading to professional consequences like being taken off matches.
posted by muddgirl at 11:09 AM on January 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


No worries, Errant, I only wrote that because it wasn't clear to me if you were serious or not and I though there might be others similarly impaired who might not bother to click the link.

I'm not sure I can bear to wade through Keys' rambling self-justification on talkSport. Any chance of a few money quotes?
posted by Busy Old Fool at 11:19 AM on January 26, 2011


The only relative bright spot in that transcript is Keys calling for people to lay off Massey. The rest comes off as him being sorry more for getting caught out than for the "prehistoric banter" itself.
posted by romakimmy at 11:20 AM on January 26, 2011


"We were wrong. It was wrong. It shouldn’t have happened. It did. What can you do beyond that? I apologised on the Sunday. Now, there are some dark forces at work here. I, having done that, asked could we make people aware of the fact that we have had a conversation and that both parties felt it was best to move on. I was told no. And 24 hours passed, by which time the world had gone mad."

--

"If the people who are passing judgement on this have any self-respect, they will stop hounding Sian. Leave her alone. This is not her fault."

--

About his comments re: Karren Brady: "A by product of all of this of course it took her and West Ham out of the press. She knows and so does everybody else what a mess they made of trying to appoint Martin O’Neill and she was getting it in the neck. Now she claimed that was because she is a woman. That is her view. It is not necessarily mine. It might be that others do not share that either. She played that card, rightly or wrongly."

--

"Now our prehistoric banter is not acceptable in a modern world. I accept that. We got it wrong. We failed to change while everything was changing about us but one of the reasons that we liked to have what is described as prehistoric banter. I am not saying it is, it is being described as such. My view was that we did things a little differently. We did the best."

--

"Look there are two sides to every argument, we are losing at the moment and quite rightly were getting a pasting but we do live in a democracy there are two sides to this. Please, we’ve heard one a lot, lets here the other one a little bit because there are two versions of what happened two views about what happened."

--

"One of the reasons why we probably were in over drive on Saturday is we had a fresh gas (?) with this guy called Matt Murray who used to play in goal for Wolverhampton, we wanted to make him feel relaxed and comfortable, and that was part of that process."

--

"There is a lot of very good female presenters out there who I have played a major part in getting a break in this country and they know it."

--

Re: the Charlotte Jackson clip:

"P: You can't speak on behalf of Andy and we will see what happens there. It is a form of sexual bullying isn't it.

RK: Yes

P: Two older men having a laugh with someone's who is not as established at Sky as you are. Two very powerful people within an organisation that she works for.

RK: Yes

P: That's why it's quite an uncomfortable watch Richard.

RK: Yes I accept that. I have no argument but at least then spelt Andy's name right I have work for sky for 20 years and they have just got mine wrong."

--

"Of course I have done that and it is going to take a lot more than me sitting here behind this microphone today saying look I am a changed man. There is work to do, of course there is. There is a process to undergo and I am happy to undertake it because it would be the right thing to do but from something that was wrong, behaviour that was wrong, I used the word fire storm when I came in, what has blown up around us and engulfed us. I have found I have to say extraordinary but listen there maybe people out there who are in need of a different opinion and they are entitled to that."

--

"Anything I say now you’ll get another text in a minute saying ah he’s whining about himself. I’m not, it doesn’t matter, you know it’s an irrelevance, me, what I’m feeling, what I’m thinking. It’s a long way from the story."
posted by Errant at 11:49 AM on January 26, 2011


And it seems while I was compiling that, Keys has just resigned.
posted by Errant at 11:51 AM on January 26, 2011


Oh, fantastic. This is a lot more entertaining than most premiership matches.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 11:59 AM on January 26, 2011


I get the impression that the clips we've seen represent the tip of an iceberg, particularly given the Guardian article, and that the real reason for the sacking (apart from the phone-tapping angle) is not for any one-off quip, but because of something much more persistent and longer term.

Mind, even setting aside the vile attitude it displays, Keys should be sacked for the 'did you smash it' video on grounds of embarrassment to his employers alone. Do they really want someone fronting their flagship programme who appears to be a little school boy desperately swearing to try and impress the bigger boys. Flesh-creepingly, toe-curlingly awful.

Of course, lots of women don't understand the offside rule. Neither do lots of men. One difference is that fewer of the women who don't understand it are convinced that they are in fact, world experts. One amusing thing over the last few days has been seeing posters on some football fans forums moaning that Gray was right, women can't possibly understand, blah blah blah, at the same time as posting complete and utter shite about every possible aspect of the game.
posted by reynir at 12:04 PM on January 26, 2011


Meant to say, that if the Guardian article is true, then the reason these clips are appearing out of nowhere might not be due to an evil Murdochian conspiracy (for once...), but due to lots of people - who might not have dared step forward on their own - gleefully settling some scores.
posted by reynir at 12:11 PM on January 26, 2011


"The "women don't understand the offside rule" joke is pretty old and pretty hackneyed, but I'll grant you that it's not the most harmful thing in the world, although I don't think it's harmless. But when you're saying that about a female linesperson, the vast majority of whose job it is to interpret the offside law correctly, you're really out of the realm of bland sexist humor and into questioning the merit of a fellow professional based solely on gender. It's sort of like seeing a woman professor at a physics conference, nudging your buddy, and saying, "She's presenting? Fuck, what do women know about math? This conference has gone mad." That's bad enough; it's worse if, in this example, you are also a pillar of the physics community and a widely-recognized voice and advocate for the field."

As they say, QFT.

"there's not a man in the UK who hasn't expressed jokingly the opinion that women can't understand the offside rule"
I've had one boyfriend in my life who liked football. I have a vague understanding of the offside rule, but that's OK because I'm not a match official. I also don't really know much about DIY, but if I needed to do so I'd just look it up. I probably know more about football than MrMippy because I used to subtitle sports news and I have FiveLive on in the background a lot and I find the culture around football amusing and interesting often.

"You can't watch an advert at the moment (on UK television, at least) that isn't some variant of the 'wise-girlfriend-rescuing-neanderthal-boyfriend-from-his-own-ineptitude' theme. Idiot boyfriend buys the wrong brand of cheese crisps, cut to tolerant girlfriend dropping them in the bin. Idiot husband cleans the kitchen quickly for tolerant wife after using the right brand of cleaner, selected by his wife. Wise girlfriend steers dummy boyfriend round the best buys at the hardware store. Wise woman purchases car insurance from a firm that keeps premiums down my excluding neanderthal males. "

I work in advertising regulation, so I have to say: if you find this offensive, please complain to the ASA, and perhaps this will change. But the cleaner thing is for one reason - women buy the vast majority of FMCG, so they aim ads at women, and sometimes they play on the 'isn#t he a pain' angle. Things aimed at men do so too - look at Pepsi Max or Fosters ads that are running at the moment. I can only avoid being critical of my industry - I'm being objective as I can with these comments - but there are often reasons for using certain tropes whether they reflect the majority of what people do or not.

I have no idea what the cheese crisps ad is, as we would never approve anything that denigrates another brand. I've also never seen a 'hardware store' ad like the one you describe, at least since Neil Morrissey stopped doing Focus which must be about ten years ago.
posted by mippy at 7:00 AM on January 28, 2011


Sian Massey has been withdrawn from a second match, this time in the Blue Square Bet North division where she was to take charge, due to "intense media attention" and despite the backing of the managers of both clubs involved.

At some point, the PGMO are going to have to let her get on with it, or else strike her off for the crime of having been talked about by two idiots and then having made a good judgment. The media thing is not going to go away until she does take part in her next few games, and the longer the PGMO wait to give her back her job, the more intense the pressure will be on her, providing even more reason to keep her off the list. It's just sickening to me.
posted by Errant at 10:55 AM on January 28, 2011


Seanyboy:

That trope - where the man is portrayed as clueless/Neanderthal - is more damaging to women than it is to men.

So portraying a woman as clueless is damaging to women (the premise of this thread), but portraying a man as clueless is ... damaging to women? A rather excellent example of the feminists' triumph in action - thank you.

It'd be nice to see some data on this broken down by crime type.

My data comes from personal conversations with the Procurator Fiscal of a large Scottish city. The chief investigator of sudden and suspicious deaths in Scotland is very clear that there is a systematic bias against men in the legal system.

The rest of the stuff you've said about misandry and female to male domestic abuse just seems a bit weird & doesn't really gel with my own experiences.

Were you expecting the exposure of unconscious prejudice *not* to feel weird, and to gel with your experience?
posted by falcon at 4:59 PM on January 28, 2011


So portraying a woman as clueless is damaging to women (the premise of this thread), but portraying a man as clueless is ... damaging to women?

In the two situations being discussed, yes. Claims that a professional match official was unable to do her job because she is a woman were... damaging to women. Portrayals of men as incapable of household chores are also... damaging to women.

You may disagree with either of the above (I'd agree that husbandus neanderthalensis is not terribly good for men), but it's incorrect to suggest that anyone is claiming that all negative portrayals of men and women are, by definition, damaging to women. It's just that most of them tend to be, which is one reason many of us are feminists.
posted by Busy Old Fool at 2:20 PM on January 29, 2011


It's just that most of them tend to be, which is one reason many of us are feminists

Reversal of causality, I think. It is reasonable to distinguish between the practise of taking offence at most things, and the situation in which most things are offensive. The former is a pretty effective strategy for extracting political concessions. These concessions are substantial. The beneficiaries of such concessions are fairly unreliable arbiters of what constitutes an offence. Yet feminists have arranged things such that they are the arbiters.

Rather than most things being offensive therefore many of you are feminists, many of you are feminists, therefore most things tend to be offensive.
posted by falcon at 8:50 AM on January 30, 2011


Reversal of causality, I think.

You are wrong, in a historical sense.

It is reasonable to distinguish between the practise of taking offence at most things, and the situation in which most things are offensive.

I find it fascinating that the first person to use the word "offense" or "offended" in nearly any thread on Metafilter is generally anti-feminism, or anti-anti-racism, or what have you. It seems to me that very few people who are actually affected by sexist language talk about their "feelings" being hurt - we talk about how this language has a specific and damaging impact on our lives and careers. And yet our concerns are often dismissed as "the practise of taking offense at most things."

Odd, eh?
posted by muddgirl at 9:40 AM on January 30, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yet feminists have arranged things such that they are the arbiters.

Are there a small number of top feminists acting as arbiters? If so, what are their names? How do they arbitrate and communicate their decisions?

Or is it a kind of group mind thing, with all feminists using some sort of elevated social authority to arbitrate in favour of women? If so, I'd love to know where my elevated social authority has got to. Frankly, I'd settle for being able to get a word in edgeways half the time...

Rather than most things being offensive therefore many of you are feminists, many of you are feminists, therefore most things tend to be offensive.

So feminists are simultaneously hugely powerful and absurdly thin-skinned?

I don't comment a great deal here, but in the past few months I've had disagreements with other users on online advertising, inter-Korean relations and online racism. In none of these discussions did anyone ascribe motivations to me based on the opinions I expressed, unless you count being called 'retarded'. It's interesting that it happens as soon as I self-identify as a feminist.

Oh, and I'm amused by the idea that I'm easily offended, given that I spend plenty of time laughing at b3ta and /b/. In fact, one of my proudest moments was when an anon responded to a joke I made with a shocked "that's sick".
posted by Busy Old Fool at 12:38 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


You are wrong, in a historical sense.

Relevant if I had been talking historically, when the asymmetry between male and female forms of prejudice was significant. But, since I am talking about the present day, where they are not, your statement is not even wrong.

Odd, eh?

Do I find the misconception you arrive at through the non sequitur of affirming the consequent, odd? No, of course not.

You assert that, if I'm an anti-feminist, then I talk about your feelings, not about the specific and damaging impact of language on your life. I talk about your feelings, not about the specific and damaging impact of language on your life. Therefore, I'm an anti-feminist.

Of course your argument is formally invalid because there are many alternative reasons other than being an anti-feminist for why I might talk about your feelings rather than the specific and damaging impact of language on your career.

In my case, I don't talk about the specific and damaging impact of language on your career because, frankly, I'm not interested in it. In a world of collapsing educational attainment and rising suicide amongst young men, systematic judicial bias against men, the persistent male death rate from occupational disease, etc. there are more important things to talk about than your fascination with the impact of language on your career. The construction of my interest in male issues as anti-feminism is yours, not mine.
posted by falcon at 12:51 PM on January 30, 2011


The construction of my interest in male issues as anti-feminism is yours, not mine.

I construed your stated antagonism towards feminists as anti-feminism. This and nothing more.
posted by muddgirl at 12:56 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've been thinking about this a lot for the last few days. I have close family involved in football administration at all levels and it wouldn't surprise me if at least one of them made comments like this both behind the scenes and in the presence of female officials. I can see them engaging in "a bit of banter" and having both parties enjoy it, and I can also see complaints and anger and resignations. What I'm wondering is whether there would've been a shitstorm of this intensity if what Keys and Gray had said was hilarious. I don't think there would have been. Funny people get a pass.

In any case, the market worked this time and they'll have radio talk back shows in no time.
posted by doublehappy at 1:06 PM on January 30, 2011


there are more important things to talk about than your fascination with the impact of language on your career.

I think one of the defining aspects of the progressive movement is the ability to care about, talk about, and advocate for, more than one "thing" at a time.

And again, I note the way you reframe my statements to diminish my concerns.
posted by muddgirl at 1:10 PM on January 30, 2011 [1 favorite]


These men have so completely misapprehended the nature of humanity that they should be pitied.
David Mitchell in the Guardian.

posted by Grangousier at 1:42 PM on January 30, 2011


I think one of the defining aspects of the progressive movement is the ability to care about, talk about, and advocate for, more than one "thing" at a time.

Quite so. The list of all things that I should care about is very, very long. The list of things that I can care about in one lifetime (to the degree necessary to make a difference) is very much shorter. The list of things I choose to care about has many things on it, so I satisfy your membership criterion for the progressive movement. It just so happens that your thing isn't on it.

Since one of the axioms of your thing is that everyone should regard it as one of their things, you feel compelled to analyse my choice as the diminution of your concern. That's OK. I imagine polar bears would prefer me to care more about them. I imagine they don't regard me as anti-polar bear. Polar bears, it seems, might be rather less egocentric than feminists.

I construed your stated antagonism towards feminists as anti-feminism ... And again, I note the way you reframe my statements to diminish my concerns.

Given your sensitivity to "reframing" and language, could you perhaps point out where I have "stated antagonism towards feminism"? Are you perhaps, in framing my argument, confusing antagonism with criticism? Is a feminist therefore someone who accepts feminism without criticism, and an anti-feminist someone who criticises feminism? If not, why is my criticism evidence of anti-feminism? If so, how does feminism evolve, without some expression of dissatisfaction with some aspect of its current state? Was it conceived in a perfect form? If not, are those feminists who pursue the evolution of feminism therefore anti-feminist?

Intriguing.
posted by falcon at 2:18 PM on January 30, 2011


falcon, earlier in the thread, you wrote:

The persistently higher and rising suicide rate amongst males, particularly adolescent, and its correlation with feminist societal changes is dramatic.

This is true. It is also completely meaningless. Rising suicide rates amongst males, particularly adolescent, also correlate dramatically with rising hemlines, the increasing prevalence of Windows as the default PC operating system, and years since a global ice age.

It is, therefore, hard to see why you would frame rising male suicide in relationship to feminist societal changes, except in order to connect rhetorically what you cannot do causally. You want us to believe that male suicide and feminist social change are positively related. Since we can take it as read that you think male suicide is a bad thing, you imply in this statement that we should reduce the amount of feminist social change in order to reduce or reverse the trend of male suicide. But since correlation is neither relation nor causation, this doesn't work. It is therefore left as an exercise to the reader to wonder why you have drawn a connection between male suicide and feminist social change, when you could have just as easily and with equal merit drawn a connection between male suicide and the increase of all-seater football stadia.

So if you're wondering why people think you're antagonistic towards feminism, it's because you're trying to say that feminist social theory kills men but you won't cop to it when pressed. It's kind of a weaselly thing to do. So is referring to data that clearly indicates widespread and high-level misandry, then, when pressed, to refer to your "data" as "private conversations" with a single official and two line graphs that go up; so is saying that male-on-female domestic abuse is greatly exaggerated, then to offer as proof the fact that a woman once hit you. You use the language of science to cloak your particular bugaboo in a veil of rationality without producing any actual science, and since your particular bugaboo is that "feminism harms and kills men", it is rich of you to imply that you have no antagonism to feminism. Given your viewpoint, how could you not?
posted by Errant at 4:10 PM on January 30, 2011 [2 favorites]


@Busy old fool.

Are there a small number of top feminists acting as arbiters?

By what mechanism do you imagine men arranged things to their satisfaction? Is there something about the configuration of our genitals that means man can do that, and women can't? It is a paradigm. Once you understand how decision making is conducted in any other paradigm, you understand how it is conducted in this paradigm.

In none of these discussions did anyone ascribe motivations to me based on the opinions I expressed

Oh well done. Within a post of having the temerity to suggest there might me another view, an attempt to sideline me was made on the suspicion that I was "angry". The other significant attempt to avoid debate is to categorise me as an anti-feminist, then attack the category of anti-feminists.

@Errant

Firstly, thank you for isolating one issue---suicide---while ignoring other important aspects of my argument, including occupational disease outcomes, educational entertainment outcomes and wealth distribution, then accusing me of being a weasel.

Correlation is neither relation nor causation but simply a necessary but not sufficient condition of them. Two aspects then guide us - the confidence of the correlation, and a plausible theory for connection.

Suicide correlates very weakly with hem lines, Windows, the ice age and stadia geometry. They appear to be contemporary but not related phenomena, and few if any causal mechanisms present, particularly to explain why suicide might be so gender specific.

Suicide correlates very strongly (in a statistically formal sense) with factors such as single mother households and educational attainment. Such factors possess both a plausible mechanism for influencing suicide rate in general and the gender of the suicide in particular (deprivation of male role models for adolescents, distribution of education investment by gender, etc.) and demonstrable connection with feminist politics (family law, education priorities, health priorities). The issue then becomes the extent to which we research the plausibility of those connections.

One of the interesting properties of a paradigm is that it is formally reinforcing---it tells us what to be interested in, and what not to be interested in. Like the drunk woman searching for her lost keys under the street light because that is where the light is, we investigate women's issues exhaustively but are unconcerned with, for example, male suicide because, well, we are interested in women's issues. It is more active than this - the Procurator Fiscal is unable to publish his views on gender bias in the Scottish legal system because of political pressure. For an intelligent person, that is an interesting data point. For you, it is a punch line.

Read most criticisms (by feminists) of feminism, and a consistent factor which emerges is the extent to which academia has been gripped by feminism. A university will not get grants and funding unless it has an active feminist agenda. A Dean will not get appointed unless she can demonstrate her feminist agenda. A paper that criticises feminism will be more difficult to publish. An academic that routinely criticises feminism will find it harder to secure tenure. Please don't criticise the relative absence of academic literature exploring the relationship between feminism and the male suicide rate. But I'd refer you to Wasserman 2005 "Global suicide rates among young people" (World Psychiatry, 2005 June; 4(2):114-120) quote "A rising trend of suicide in young males was observed ... Various possible explanations for these rising suicide trends - loss of social cohesion, breakdown of traditional family structure " or Barstad, Anders: “Explaining Changing Suicide Rates in Norway 1948–2004: The Role of Social Integration”, Statistisk Sentralbyra 2007 “divorces have been implicated as a factor behind a rising number of teenage suicides” (Norway has a particularly strong feminist culture and a particularly high and rising juvenile male suicide rate).

The possibility of a connection is important, interesting, and plausible, and to dismiss raising the question as antagonistic does you and your issue a disservice.

But of course this is all a marvellous misdirection. My point is that there are more important issues to discuss than the impact of language on your career. To make that point, I don't need to establish causality between teenage male suicide and feminism. I need only establish that teenage male suicide is relatively more important as a gender issue than whatever is bothering you, whatever its cause.

And that I have done.
posted by falcon at 1:27 AM on January 31, 2011


"Are there a small number of top feminists acting as arbiters?

By what mechanism do you imagine men arranged things to their satisfaction? Is there something about the configuration of our genitals that means man can do that, and women can't? It is a paradigm."

I'm really struggling to understand what you mean by this, particularly as you are discussing 'feminism' and 'feminists' as a sort of unilateral hive-mind, which it certainly is not. Separatist and more radical feminists wouldn't be as bothered about male suicide as the majority of feminists who would like a society in which men get to feel able to discuss their feelings and seek help rather than keep it bottled up. Same with the lack of male role models - you speak as though it's feminism's fault that there are single parent families, and fathers who talk of 'babysitting' their kids, and not as though women have been campaigning for years for changes that will make equal division of parental labour more possible, and fathers able to get more involved instead of parenthood becoming socially synonymous with 'motherhood'. I'm both a feminist, someone who grew up with a very negative male role model, and a mental health services user - let me know whether, in your view, it's a waste of time for me to get offended the next time someone suggests that my gender invalidates my professional position, because I'd like to make sure I'm directing my energy correctly.

"I need only establish that teenage male suicide is relatively more important as a gender issue than whatever is bothering you, whatever its cause. "

There is not a prescriptive table of issues, where one is ranked at no.1 for national impact and whatever bothers one personally is way down the list. Just because someone in my family died of cancer doesn't mean I can't get annoyed about the cold sore I've got at the moment.
posted by mippy at 3:14 AM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Mippy - thank you for your thoughtful post.

the majority of feminists who would like a society in which men get to feel able to discuss their feelings.

I'm touched by your sentiment, but in my brief experience of discussing me feelings on this thread, I've been diagnosed as angry, upbraided for confusing feelings for impacts and had that presented to me as evidence of my anti-feminism, and endured a tedious strawman argument constructed from them to dismissed me as a weasel cloaking my bugaboo in a veil of rationality.

I remain cheerful, consoled by the knowledge that the non-hivemind feminists are generally as vile to each other as they are to anyone who questions their de facto hegemony, and it's not personal. But I have to presume the majority to which you refer aren't represented here.

Regarding your confusion about the paradigm, I don't know how to clarify. It is a worldview which underlies the theories and methodologies of sexual politics. The worldview is the set of unchallangeable axioms (gender as the pre-eminent basis of organising politics, men are violent, thought is patriarchal, etc.) from which the propositions constituting the body of our sexual politics are constructed. Debate is confined to the propositions---the axioms are, by definition, excluded from the set of valid discussions.

Feminism depends crucially on this worldview remaining unexamined. That is why the feminist Christina Hoff Sommers infuriates other feminists so much. She writes impeccably researched academic books (try "Who stole feminism: how women betrayed women" and "The war against boys: how misguided feminism is harming our young men"). They light up the worldview and expose the statistical manipulations, myths and propaganda methods underpinning feminist cant and mythology, a few examples of which you repeat in your post.
posted by falcon at 6:50 AM on January 31, 2011


upbraided

I find this an interesting choice of words to describe my comment towards you. Have I scolded you? Here's my comment in full:
I find it fascinating that the first person to use the word "offense" or "offended" in nearly any thread on Metafilter is generally anti-feminism, or anti-anti-racism, or what have you. It seems to me that very few people who are actually affected by sexist language talk about their "feelings" being hurt - we talk about how this language has a specific and damaging impact on our lives and careers. And yet our concerns are often dismissed as "the practise of taking offense at most things."
Wow, what strong language! How shrewish of me!
posted by muddgirl at 8:00 AM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well, not in full I suppose - I left out "Odd, eh?" Too strong! Too strong indeed!
posted by muddgirl at 8:01 AM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow, what strong language! How shrewish of me!

Oh dear. "Upbraid" conventionally has two senses: "to scold" and "to find fault". The former is strong, the latter is mild (and descriptive of your post). You pick the strong one and whip up some faux indignation, as a device for portraying me as someone who might use the anti-feminist term "shrewish" while avoiding having your worldview examined. And all in the context of your fascination with why your concerns are often dismissed as "the practice of taking offence at most things".

It would appear we have plumbed the depths of your thoughts on the topic. Ciao.
posted by falcon at 10:46 AM on January 31, 2011


"Upbraid" conventionally has two senses: "to scold" and "to find fault".

So perhaps in the future, if you mean "to find fault," then consider using "to find fault."
posted by muddgirl at 11:02 AM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


Furthermore, I dispute the fact that "upbraid" has a mild definition:
to find fault with or reproach severely; censure
You have accused me of taking your comments out of proportion to their meaning, and yet you do the same with my comments. I pointed out a common rhetorical tactic on Metafilter, and you accused me of severely finding fault with you, of censuring you. This was presented as evidence of how your feelings are oppressed by this thread (although I did no such thing), while at the same time you diminished and ignored the thoughts and feelings of others. When confronted with this fact, instead of engaging you have chosen to sign off. Farewell.
posted by muddgirl at 11:07 AM on January 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


falcon: First, this is going to be my last response to you on this topic. It will afford you the opportunity to get in the last word, an opportunity I hope you will choose not to take -- more on that later. If you'd like to skip ahead now, that's cool too.

Firstly, thank you for isolating one issue---suicide---while ignoring other important aspects of my argument, including occupational disease outcomes, educational entertainment outcomes and wealth distribution, then accusing me of being a weasel.

Of course, I isolated one issue on which you commented in response to your wide-eyed surprise at anyone reading antagonism to feminism into your opinion, because the one comment seemed sufficient to demonstrate the point. I also didn't call you a weasel, but you know that, because while you're willfully obtuse for effect, you're not stupid.

Correlation is neither relation nor causation but simply a necessary but not sufficient condition of them. Two aspects then guide us - the confidence of the correlation, and a plausible theory for connection.


That's not science. A "plausible theory for connection" serves as potentially useful speculation and the basis for forming testable hypotheses. What it doesn't do is define casuality just because the theory sounds right. Studies that end with "various possible explanations" and "one possible implication" are conjuring speculation for the purpose of inviting further study into other aspects of the issue. What they aren't doing, which you are claiming they do, is drawing a causal connection. Even if you're right that they are trying to do that, then they fail on that count too, because "various possible explanations" doesn't prove anything with any level of confidence.

It is more active than this - the Procurator Fiscal is unable to publish his views on gender bias in the Scottish legal system because of political pressure. For an intelligent person, that is an interesting data point. For you, it is a punch line.

Unintelligent though I am, I also think it's interesting. I just don't think your unverified appeal to authority is "data", which is what you claimed it was, and that claim is what I took issue with.

Read most criticisms (by feminists) of feminism, and a consistent factor which emerges is the extent to which academia has been gripped by feminism.... Please don't criticise the relative absence of academic literature exploring the relationship between feminism and the male suicide rate.

I am entirely sympathetic to the reality that institutions ostensibly given over to investigation are instead overrun by dominant ideology. I chose not to pursue a career in academia for this reason among others. A glance through my posting history will also tell you that issues like male teen suicide are not exactly far from my conscious interest. But given that you wish to be held up as a critic of this ideology, it is perhaps a little hypocritical for you to ask me not to criticize something.

If you skipped ahead, here's the last bit.

But of course this is all a marvellous misdirection. My point is that there are more important issues to discuss than the impact of language on your career. To make that point, I don't need to establish causality between teenage male suicide and feminism. I need only establish that teenage male suicide is relatively more important as a gender issue than whatever is bothering you, whatever its cause.

Your point is, essentially, "you shouldn't be talking about that issue, you should be talking about this one." You've used many more words to threadshit than the average bear, for which I at least commend your lexicon.

I entirely agree that teen suicide as a whole is a much bigger issue than a single instance of sexism in the workplace. I also agree that potential revolution in Egypt, restrictions on abortion availability in the US, and the Challenger disaster are much bigger issues or events than a single instance of sexism in the workplace. The thing is, though, there's threads for those things. In here, we're talking about this. No matter how verbose or eloquent your derail is, and how legitimately interesting it is, popping into a thread to say, repeatedly, that the subject is stupid and we should talk about this other subject instead is, at the very least, extremely annoying.

I sincerely hope you will craft an FPP on your subject, it sounds like a topic worth discussing. But, right now, I'm going to go back to discussing the topic of this thread.
posted by Errant at 11:22 AM on January 31, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh boy. We'll see Falcon discussed in Metatalk in 5,4,3,2....

I hope that the ref can get back to the business of refereeing sooner rather than later. Jesus, that's a difficult job.
posted by josher71 at 11:30 AM on January 31, 2011


I think what disappoints me most about this whole thing is that nobody used the line: "I'm not sexist, some of my best friends are female!"
posted by doublehappy at 5:47 PM on January 31, 2011


Not as such, but he did play the "I broke down barriers for women presenters" card, which is pretty close.
I have spent to this point an awful lot of time taking calls from the parents of different youngsters who have wanted an opportunity is this business. There is a lot of very good female presenters out there who I have played a major part in getting a break in this country and they know it. Gabby, Kelly Cates, whose dad called me right at the start of he career and said 'can you help?' Course you can and you try to. Kirsty, Claire who is very good at what she does.

So it's not the best friends defense, more of the "done of my best proteges are women."
posted by Errant at 7:31 PM on January 31, 2011


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