It’s no secret that in our society, celebrities, politicians and media personalities hold great influence over defining cultural attitudes and societal norms. When individuals find themselves in such a position of power, where they’re provided with a public platform and voice to help or hinder, it’s essential they’re held accountable for not only their actions, but also their words.
#WordsMatter has begun trending on social media following Monday night’s episode of Q&A, when domestic violence advocate,Tarang Chawla, put the following question forward to the panelists:
“How will politicians and the media play a better role in bringing about long overdue cultural shifts, so that tragedies like what happened to my family are not normalised?”
Chawla stated that his question comes in light of the recent inappropriate comments Eddie McGuire made toward Fairfax journalist Caroline Wilson, in which he and his colleagues ‘joked’ on-air on Melbourne radio station Triple M about drowning Ms Wilson.
Over the past couple of days, media commentator Steve Price has received enormous backlash for his ‘just being hysterical’ comment towards Guardian Columnist Van Badham. However it’s another concerning comment made by Price that hasn’t quite receive the attention it should.
Chawla called out Price for standing up for people who pass misogynistic comments off as jokes and asked whether Price sees himself as having the ability to normalise views around gender equality.
To this Price replied “people can go too far in taking someone like a media personality and stringing them up. Eddie McGuire apologised, it should have been the end of the matter.”
In this response, Price attempts to dethrone McGuire as a media personality, and frames him as a just a regular person who made a mistake and apologised – end of story, right?
Besides the fact that McGuire’s apology practically showed Australia how to apologise without really apologising, McGuire is not ‘just a regular person’ and therefore should not be treated as one.
A person in such a position of power as Eddie McGuire, who frequently communicates with the public and holds the potential to influence change in cultural attitudes, must be held accountable for his words.
In our country, where a woman is murdered by her partner every week, there is no room for ‘jokes’ that incite violence against women, or protecting those who do it.
“disrespecting women does not always result in violence against women. But all violence against women begins with disrespecting women.”
– Malcolm Turnbull