Sexist? Just nonsense.

Is it really a sexist comment if it doesn’t make sense?

BBC 5’s John Inverdale has landed in hot water for his commentary of the Wimbeldon Women’s Final won by Marion Bartoli over Sabine Lisicki.


The comment in question was:

“Do you think Bartoli’s dad told her when she was little ‘You’re never going to be a looker. You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight’?”

What followed was fury of comments on social media outraged at Inverdale’s fascination with looks. Let’s back things up. The media has focused on the looks of female tennis since at least the days of Steffi Graf, and it was probably the treatment of camera friendly but winning-adverse Anna Kournikova that really sent things out of control. It’s  true that men’s tennis does not come under the same aesthetic scrutiny as women’s tennis. For both forms of the game when you hold a trophy aloft, everyone has their photo taken. However outside of sports reports, looks affect media interest. Even in the men’s game Pete Sampras never graced as many copies of Cleo as GQ as Rafael Nadal. Looks count for something.


Back to the comment in question. I suggest we stop assuming someone is being sexist in their comments during sport. Perhaps their verbal shot execution doesn’t live up to their aim. If you look at  Inverdale’s words, more than perhaps sexist, they’re simply ridiculous and wrong.

‘You’re never going to be a looker. You’ll never be a Sharapova, so you have to be scrappy and fight.”

What’s the connection between success and looks? Certainly it’s a factor when it comes to endorsements and sponsorships. But winning games and winning tournaments? There is none. Ask Kournicova. Ask Sampras.


Bartoli proved when you’ve just won the biggest tournament on the planet, it doesn’t really matter what anyone says anyway. She responded  in her press conference with an equal amount of wit and diplomacy:

“It doesn’t matter, honestly. I am not blonde, yes. That is a fact. Have I dreamt about having a model contract? No. I’m sorry. But have I dreamed about winning Wimbledon? Absolutely, yes.”

No father, coach or person with a brain would ever tell someone you need to work harder on the court because you may not court the attention of the cameras. It’s nonsensical. With time and thought, Inverdale offered a better explanation of his words:

“The point I was trying to make, in a rather ham-fisted kind of way, was that in a world where the public perception of tennis players is that they’re all 6ft tall Amazonian athletes, Marion – who is the Wimbledon champion – bucks that trend.”

It’s easy for your words to shoot off in all sorts of directions when balls are flying at 100km an hour.

Forgive and forget.

USA v Australia – Top Iconic Brands

Both Australia and the U.S.A. are massive countries with many brands.

Head to head how do they compare for iconic world renowned status?



Western Australia – Full of great companies. None of them Australian.

Victoria – Didn’t count Indie Record labels selling dozens of pub band albums.

Tasmania – Ricky Ponting and Apples were unlucky to miss out.

South Australia – Only innovation was cask wine.

Probably too drunk to patent it.

Northern Territory – Emu Run Tours was about to win, then China bought it.

Queensland – Queensland Maroons and racism are only beloved brands inside Australia.

New South Wales – I got nothing. So does New South Wales.

Deadly boxes

A friend at a Catholic charity told me a box of T-shirts left in a hallway was causing anger in the office as it was a safety hazard. Emails had been sent. It had been brought up in meetings.

No one had simply moved the box. After 3 weeks it’s still there.

So I sent them this letter.

To whom it may concern,

I’m angry and I need to tell someone. I recently overhead rumours of a rogue t-shirt box stalking the halls of (organisation withheld) threatening to bump or even trip up good hardworking Catholics. I can only assume this box is on drugs.
Most likely is one I overheard some teenagers mentioned is some sort of ‘chilled pill’. This is probably in some way related to Ice. From my limited knowledge of box related drugs I can only assume it has now developed large fangs, the ability to survive sub-zero temperatures and a desire for human blood.
In my anger the first thing I did was write to Today Tonight about the issue. Do you know the new host? She is delightful. Thought I was distraught that they have been dodging the growing box epidemic sweeping charities across Australia.
Then I asked myself, what would Jesus do? Obviously he never saw a cardboard box in his BC times but I assume if he now saw one he might guess at its function and nature. He probably would have said
My that certainly is a box, though I am unfamiliar with this ‘card-board’ material used to construct it. Truly a marvel of this modern strange world I’ve reappeared in! Though it’s location in this hallway is incredibly dangerous now that I think about it. I better go write a letter.”
It led me to the conclusion that there are only two sensible courses of action for removing the dangers of said drug-addicted (and probably rapey) box.
1. Organise a mass petition online supported by an awareness campaign. Perhaps featuring people making a box shape in front of their face like Madonna in Vogue to show their outrage. Sending this to others over Bookface and other things that live inside my computer. Perhaps “Giving boxes the boxing they deserve” would be a powerful headline for you
2. A series of long, sleep inducing awareness workshops. Hopefully run by a failed actor turned ‘motivational coach’. He would inform people through the magic of charades and group exerccies of the box, it’s location, the possibility of tripping and how to recognise other potential boxes if they are to threaten you.

I warn you I am prepare to think about, talk about and complain about the box as long as it takes until a solution is found.
Yours sincerely,