Picture: The Advertiser
This week I had planned to spend International Women's Day the same way I do every year: lazing around enjoying all the equality we women have, and celebrating how we no longer need feminism because everything's fine. Maybe bake a cake with "Vive La Matriarchy" on it.

Sadly instead I had to deal with dozens of emails, tweets and Facebook messages from men calling me a fat, ugly, jealous lesbian nazi, because I dared to call the Clipsal 500 Grid Girls sexist.

If you missed my column last Saturday, here is it in short form: putting women in skimpy outfits and treating them like human trophies at any public event that purports to be inclusive and for “families” is an embarrassing anachronism that is well past its use by date.

In even shorter form: the Grid Girls are sexist and they've got to go.

As predicted, the response (overwhelmingly from men) was intelligent, measured and well argued, in the way toddlers are when they scream for their toys.

"Obviously you are jealous of (the grid girls') shape - I presume you are shaped like the Nullarbor road, wide at the shoulders and staying the same all the way down with no speed humps or curves," someone called Bill Perrin emailed me.

"Isn't it ironic that the author complaining about grid girls would never have been able to be one," wrote "Rod" on the Advertiser website, a comment that attracted 13 likes - perhaps from Alanis Morrissette fans who, like Rod, don't actually understand what "ironic" means.

"Your (sic) just jealous because your (sic) too fat and ugly you stupid mole (sic)," a Matthew Ploksts wrote on my Facebook page. My reply, correcting his spelling mistakes, was reported for abuse and I was suspended from Facebook. Yes, you read that right: someone abused me on Facebook, yet I was the one suspended for responding to them. God knows how vulnerable young people cope with cyber bullying, with these sorts of pathetic systems in place.

I got an email from a David Rayner, whose email signature proclaimed him to be an OAM, telling me "the sort of comments you make would normally come from overweight hairy arm pitted lesbians". Another from a David Sneddon called me a "frump".

The "you just want to ban the grid girls because they're prettier than you" argument continued into the paper on Monday, with several letters to the editor claiming I was "jealous". One suggested I was "distressed with women who do look good", implying, I suppose, that I don't.

Then there was the "you hate the grid girls because you're a lesbian" argument, which doesn't make much sense if you think about it, but I suppose the sorts of people who resort to homophobic insults aren't the sharpest tools in the shed.

One troll clipped out my column from the paper, wrote "JEALOUS LESO" on it and anonymously posted it back.

They also wrote "get a life" which is quite ironic (Rod - please note) given they had not only taken the time to cut out my column and write on it, but spent $1 to post it.

I even got a letter comparing me to a Nazi guard at Auschwitz.

"I know you will say don't blame me I am only doing my job, but that's what the Nazi guards used to say as they shut the gas chamber doors," wrote a Peter Green, in what is probably the most offensive and ridiculous letter I've ever received.

The thing is, this isn't even that unusual. I often get comments and messages like this, no matter what I write in the paper. Ask any female journalist and she'll tell you the same thing.

How can we expect to sensibly deal with issues of sexism if those who dare to confront it are howled down with abuse?


First published in The Advertiser March 12, 2015. CLICK HERE to read the original article.