Words by Clinton Barnes
“If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it,” said Goebbels, and so it goes that we keep hearing how women are “emotional”, and “hysterical”, as Steve Price did last night on ABC’s QandA.
But isn’t the opposite true? Statistically, we know men are significantly more violent—a demonstration of emotional instability if ever there was one.
In the more mundane example of working life, it's very widespread. “He gets defensive if you seem like you’re criticising him personally,” I’ve been helpfully informed when presenting the views of customers to a senior executive. In the same meeting, my (female) manager jumped-in and detailed what she could be improving on. Although she needed the least improvement of all, her ego wasn’t an elephant in the room like the CEO’s was.
And so we would tip-toe around issues that the CEO would feel were too close to home, and we would sugar-coat our feedback with phrases like, “we know customers don’t know any better, and they’re just being lazy, but we may need to adjust our messaging.”
It’s too easily dismissed as ‘office politics’ and ‘managing stakeholders’ but we need to start calling-out how delicate these male flowers can be.
And Van Badham on QandA was delivered the opportunity to do just that. Counter to Price's assertion, she responded completely calmly with a sniping joke to the charge that she was too emotional. About domestic violence. (Didn't quite realise there was a limit on how emotional you could be about the fact more than one woman a week is dying at the hands of someone close to her).
Badham's detailed presentation of the facts, while at the same time empathising with the story of a woman suffering a meat-cleaver to the face, showed her emotional capacity was far more mature than the pathetic man-child next to her. He first experienced denial, followed by anger, projection, and then rounded that emotional storm with name-calling.
There was an hysterical panelist member. But he didn’t have any ovaries.