How to be sexist and get away with it

I had a laugh at the gaffe made by the “first bloke”.

I know exactly where he was coming from. I’m not homophobic, but if I’m going to let someone rummage around in my back passage, I’d prefer it to be as non-invasive as possible.

I’m not sure how deep one needs to go with a finger to do an effective check of the prostate and maybe that would be the downfall of a small-fingered doctor, but I imagine a smaller finger would feel a lump more easily than a big finger, so there’s the counter. But I digress.

Like most people, I found Tim Mathieson’s attempt at humour to be awkward and unnecessary. An apology needed to be issued. But I didn’t think it was racism and if it was, I didn’t think it extreme. And yet the backlash from some quarters pointed to Mathieson being the equivalent of a card-carrying KKK member.

He probably should have just said, “Find a small doctor.”

But even that would have offended at least one person. I can’t remember whether it was Ray Hadley or Ray Warren and whether it was on Sunrise or Today, but whoever it was added after a tirade about racism that Mathieson’s comments sent the message that the procedure was “painful and unpleasant”. In “Ray’s” mind, the comments were an “absolute disgrace” and “irresponsible in the extreme” as they would put men off having the test. What melodramatic bunkum!

In conclusion to a short presentation he gave on the importance of men getting their prostates checked, Mathieson ‘advised’ that the procedure would be best if administered by “a small Asian female doctor.”

What I found interesting is that those offended focused on “Asian”.

What if he’d said, “Find a small female doctor”?

Imagine the uproar from those offended by the stereotyping of women as small. Large female and small male doctors would have been outraged. The hairdresser to the PM would have been labeled a sexist in the extreme!

It’s brought an important point to light though.

You can actually get in a sneaky “jab” so to speak by coupling unrelated discriminatory statements in a taunt. If you’re devious, you can structure your taunt so that the discrimination you get away with is the one that reflects your real attitudes. You’ll get toasted for the one that offends most, but you can glow in secret at having got away with the one that really matters to you.

Is Mathieson a racist? I don’t think so.

Is he sexist? Hmmmm….

NOTE: For any who cannot discern, this article is tongue in cheek. So to speak.


  1. Pete – alas too many people in this country belong to the church of the perpetually offended. They see racism and sexism in their cornflakes.

    We should all be very concerned at the direction of the debate around free speech at the moment. One only need express an opinion and they will be labelled with something ending in “ism” in a flash.

  2. It’s pretty funny to think that a bloke, who is a hairdresser by trade, is getting branded as sexist and mysognistic by some…

  3. I think the “receivers” of discriminatory comments need to be included in the discussion also.

    At the moment, all responsibility and accountability is placed on the person making the comments but in some circumstances this is unfair.

    If a person deliberately and consciously comments to discriminate and cause angst, then they should be held accountable and receivers have a right to be angry.

    If a person makes a comment which could be considered discriminatory and that person should have been aware of it (as in Mathieson’s case) then that person should be held accountable, but the receivers should show a modicum of understanding.

    If a person makes a comment which is discriminatory or offensive but which they are totally oblivious to (which often happens when people of different social classes or cultures come together), then the receivers should be responsible for how they react.

    But too many people play the “ism” card at the slightest opportunity. Emotional intelligence is lost on many people.

  4. Barkly St End says

    Can we please stop talking about this stuff, it makes me squirm (and I’m not referring to the possibility that the remarks might be sexist or racist, this issue is far, far more sensitive than that).

  5. Barkly, may your doctor have small fingers, and be off the short run up.

  6. Andrew Starkie says

    first bloke probably spent a lonely night or two in the dog house.

  7. Jeff Dowsing says

    ‘Emotional intelligence is lost on many people.’ Too true Pete.

    And Julia’s doghouse would surely be punishment enough Andrew!

  8. You all sicken me.

    (I haven’t read the article or any of the comments but I saw “sexist” in the heading and assume you are all reprehensible. I am also contacting getUp! to start a petition and have you all locked away.)

  9. Barkly St End says

    Too true Cookie – we are all horrible, nasty, mean-spirited blokes.

    Why stop with GetUp!, the Greens are currently the main party involved in formulating inconsequential policies about inconsequential things – this is right up their alley.

    Unfortunately, Dr Brown is no longer there, otherwise I imagine he would have had something of substance to say on the matter.

    In this era of online activity, it is strange that in this context some choose to argue the toss on the merits or otherwise of digital enhancement.

  10. What the comment and ensuring discussion, including this one, highlights is how far removed the average male is from appreciating the need for heath check ups, regardless of the intrusive nature of the process. That’s is what is at stake and what the average male has to ‘get over’.

    Females have their bodies probed for important health reasons through their life, in much more intrusive ways, than males ever will. Particularly through pregnancy and child birth. They manage this with stoicism and grace than I could barely imagine. Yet, a male, faced with the slightest bodily intrusion, goes weak at the knees and produces such under-graduate humour to distract that you would think it was a UFO conducting a rectal probe.

    It was a pathetic attempt at a joke. I don’t know what ism that can be collapsed into but that was the first thing he should have been called on. And it was a racist comment.

    Put into perspective, a male attending a prostrate examination would want whats best for his heath and that is a competent doctor who can examine the prostate to such an extent that a determination can be made as to the state of the prostate and his health. Nationality, gender and digit size are secondary to the primary need.

    Trouble is, males (generally) are too chicken to even go for an examination. Mathieson’s comments did neither improve or decrease that problem. For that problem lies at the heart of the male condition. The gender that yaps on about courage and toughness and whatever cannot even face an examination that could potentially save their life. That’s a whole unit in Gender Studies right there.

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