Weighing Jackie O
Jackie O ... subjected again last week to attacks on her weight, this time by two 2DayFM female staffers.
There are few things you can count on in life, but the mindnumbing stupidity of 2DayFM and its continued quest to trawl the depths of entertainment appears to be one of them.
If you’re unfortunate enough to stumble upon its website – and I advise caution for anyone prone to seizures – you’ll find a blaring cacophony of content so asinine it could be replaced with a looped video of a braying donkey in a bikini and you’d hardly be able to tell the difference.
Speaking of donkeys, has there ever been a radio duo more content to paddle in the shallow end of the gene pool than Kyle Sandilands and Jackie O? Time and time again, they’ve offended the basic tenets of human decency through a double act that pairs oafish misogyny with insipid giggling.
Jackie O in the midst of her "weight loss challenge". Photo: Fox.com.au/ Kyle and Jackie O
And that’s just from the fans who like them.
Last year, Sandilands was (rightly) dragged across the coals of public opprobrium when he first belittled then threatened a female journalist on air because she’d given the duo’s television show a poor review. That it was never quite determined whether or not it was Kyle and Jackie O presenting the show in the first place and not merely two lumps of clay with promotional posters tacked on the top to create the illusion of a face is by the by. The fact is, Kyle’s inability to accept criticism saw him resort to a tried and tested base of sexualised insults while his giggling co-host half-heartedly pretended to pull the handbrake next to him.
The incident was just the latest in a long string of offences perpetrated by an overgrown child whose distinct lack of personality seems to be at odds with the fact that employers are constantly placing him in front of a microphone. There was the time he asked a 14 year old rape victim on air about the entirety of her sexual experience – a violation that resulted in little more than 2DayFM paying lip service to the idea of punishment. Then there was the time he told Jackie O that she was fat, and made an on air bet with her that she couldn’t lose 4kgs. Despite the fact she’d just had a baby, 2DayFM and the show’s producers supported the segment by posting photoshopped pictures that included Jackie O’s head on the body of an obese woman with an exposed midriff.
Jackie O during an on air weigh-in. Photo: Fox.com.au/ Kyle and Jackie O
Sandilands behaviour doesn’t surprise me. He’s characteristic of the kind of laddish caricature that passes for mainstream humour in this country. I’m not even shocked by 2DayFM's decision to go along with it and support it. After all, they’re the bloated atom to Kyle’s moronic nucleus.
What annoys me is how routinely Jackie O seems to meekly abstain from passing judgment, and actively perpetuates the gross ignorance rife not just in her own show but on the station in general. After participating in Kyle’s humiliating challenge last year, she was subjected again last week to attacks on her weight, this time by two 2DayFM female staffers. Staging what they called an ‘intervention’, the two went on air to tell Jackie O that frankly, at 66kgs (which falls within a healthy BMI range, even taking into consideration the unreliability of that test), she was too fat to go on the girls’ holiday they all had planned. They went on to inform her that she would be photographed that day, in her bikini; should she fail to lose the weight as required by the determined date, they would publish the photograph on the 2DayFM website (presumably alongside the other galleries of female celebrities’ bodies, where listeners are asked to cast their votes on which ones they find ‘hotter’).
Visibly upset by the stunt (the video appears on 2DayFM’s website), Jackie O nevertheless appears to accept her fate, only really attempting to negotiate who’ll have access to the bikini shot before D-day. It’s a tawdry, insulting clusterfu*k of body shaming, and the fact that Sandilands of all people remained quiet is saying something – after all, it’s a strange day indeed when he can lay claim to being the least misogynistic person in a room.
The real mystery is why the veteran FM broadcaster (with almost 20 years experience, Jackie O’s earned that title) didn’t erupt on air and tell them to shove their intervention up their own bloated buttholes. The only conclusion I can draw is that she knows which side her bread is buttered on. Jackie O perpetuates the tired misogyny of a station like 2DayFM because, more often than not, she benefits from it. Aside from a handful of FM shows, women in general are viewed as the tittering yin to the crass yang of their blokish counterparts – and I used to be a media monitor, so I’ve heard my fair share. I doubt they’re all so stupid that they enjoy the dichotomy. Women who’ve worked or continue to work in FM radio are full of stories of retrosexism pervading the industry. It’s more likely that they’re afraid that if they don’t at least tolerate it, they’ll be out of a job.
But as that woman with 20 years experience and the cache of celebrity behind her, Jackie O is in a position to change that culture from within; the culture that says it’s okay to shame women’s bodies, refer to them as ‘sluts’ on air and reserves the right to demand superficiality from women while mocking them for it. The fact that she doesn’t appear interested in doing so, even when it actively targets her, tells me that the real problem is one of two things:
Either her position at 2DayFM is contingent upon her playing by their rules and propping up the insidious misogyny of that broadcast culture, in which case, FM radio has some ‘splaining to do and needs to check the clocks in their Deloreans;
She just doesn’t care. And if she doesn’t care, then she deserves to share in all the opprobrium of a public that would like to demand better from highly paid, so-called entertainers. I’m prepared to defend most women against the kind of engendered misogyny that would force them to submit to on-air weigh ins and pass it off as ‘entertainment’. But if she views this kind of behaviour as acceptable enough to not just perpetuate, but participate in? Well, that’s something that’s really worth being shamed for.