No shortage of sexist moments in 2020, but here's who takes the cake

No shortage of sexist moments in 2020, but here’s who takes the cake

Drumroll for Australia's biggest, most sexist dinosaurs....

There’s no risk of any of us forgetting 2020 in a hurry.

But leaving aside the bushfires and the pandemic, there’s something else branded in our minds for eternity: some of the most mindblowingly sexist and archaic moments.

These are incidents and quotes which have proved the extent certain individuals are willing to hold us back from progress. And they were (celebrated?) at the 28th annual Ernie Awards for Sexist Remarks last night.

Of course, there were the usual suspects. Those repeat offenders (cough *Mark Latham, Malcolm Roberts) who seem to relish being as noxious as possible at any given opportunity.

But there were also some new faces including top gong (Gold Ernie) going to Jayson Westbury, CEO of the Australian Federation of Travel Agents who sickeningly suggested that Tracey Grimshaw deserved a “firm uppercut or a slap across the face” for her reporting of a travel industry refund scandal. 

The Political Silver Ernie went to the previously mentioned, Senator Malcolm Roberts for his commentary on the family law system (and apparent defence of perpetrators of domestic violence) when he said:

“But when you’re a father, and you can’t get access to your kids, and you can’t get access to the legal system properly, what else is there to do other than check out or hurt the other person?”

There was a dead heat for the Celebrity/Clerical Silver Ernie going to the Council of the Order of Australia for awarding Bettina Arndt an AM for her “significant service to the community as a social commentator, and to gender equity through advocacy for men”.

Ironically, Bettina Arndt was awarded her own Ernie (AKA ‘The Elaine for remarks least helpful to the sisterhood) for her commentary on the devastating murder of Hannah Clarke and her children in which she congratulated “the Queensland police for keeping an open mind and awaiting proper evidence, including the possibility that Rowan Baxter might have been ‘driven too far’.”

Unsurprisingly, Pauline Hanson stepped up for joint acquisition of ‘The Elaine’ for her comments as Deputy chair of the Family Court Enquiry, in which she suggested that women were fabricating stories of domestic violence:

“A lot of the women out there abuse the system by instigating false DVOs against their former partners or their husbands. They use that to further their needs… Domestic violence orders have got completely out of hand”, she claimed.

And, in case these recollections aren’t enough to have you tearing your hair out to the point of baldness, let’s not forget the wonderful Shore school boys who also scored a Silver Ernie for their recent ‘Triwizard Shorenament’.

The ‘muck-up day’ challenge manual that included instructions for students to have sex with a woman over 80kgs; aged over 40; or who was deemed to be a ‘3/10 or lower’.

Other winners included the Sport Silver Ernie (The Warney) dishonourably going to Rugby’s Israel Folau who claimed bushfires crippling Australia were ‘God’s punishment for legalising abortion and same sex marriage.’

And Michael Leunig for his charming cartoon and poem entitled Mummy Was Busy

But amid the sexist dinosaurs, there were also people and views to celebrate, like actor Sam Neill who took out the ‘Good Ernie’ for his suggestion that “men just shut up for a while.”

“…Resist the urge to shout over the top of women. Stop being boofheads. And bullies… And when someone says “You’re not the boss of me” you better believe it. You’re just a guy that messes up the house or the office.”


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