Feminist Male Anchor Re-Wears Suit to Prove a Point
byKaitlin StanfordNov 17, 2014
Meet Karl Stefanovic: dad of three, morning anchor of Australia's "Today Show" and, as we've most recently learned, badass feminist.
Stefanovic is known in the morning show circuit for his hilarious on-air antics, but he made headlines this weekend for slightly more serious reasons when he revealed that he'd been wearing the same blue suit on "Today" for a year straight. And while that probably doesn't sound so serious at first blush, just wait until you hear why he did it: to prove that the criticism women face about their appearance far outweighs what a man has to deal with.
After seeing first-hand how often unsolicited (and completely unfair) fashion advice is often hurled at his female co-anchors, Stefanovic decided to make a statement of his own. So he bought what he calls a "cheap Burberry knock-off" and proceeded to wear it over and over (and over) again, to see how long it would take for someone to say something.
Turns out, no one ever did.
“No one has noticed; no one gives a sh*t,” Stefanovic told the Australian paper The Age. “But women, they wear the wrong color and they get pulled up. They say the wrong thing and there are thousands of tweets written about them.”
While Stefanovic has been changing his shirt and tie every day, he's been donning the same blue suit for over 365 days. In fact, it's been so long that his co-workers even started to complain about the stench. But no matter—Stefanovic held strong with his experiment, just to see how far he could take it. In the end, he outed himself.
“I’m judged on my interviews, my appalling sense of humor, on how I do my job,” he told The Age. “Whereas women are quite often judged on what they’re wearing or how their hair is.”
In fact, just last year, his co-anchor Lisa Wilkinson shared how often—and how scathing—the criticisms of her appearance can be.
Here's just one sample of an email she received from a viewer: "Who the heck is Lisa's stylist? Whoever it is has Lisa in some shocking clothes. Today's outfit is particularly jarring and awful. Just my two cents worth. Get some style."
Undeterred, Wilkinson sat down to write a letter of her own in response. And boy, was it right on-point:
Thanks for all of your “Get Some Style” feedback.Please feel free to send me a list of all the outfits you don’t like out of the 200 or so that I come up with each year, and I’ll see what I can do.Just so I can prepare, are we just talking about the outfits I wear for the Today Show, or the ones I come up with to wear for red carpet and charity events as well?You’ll need to be very specific because that is a lot of outfits to remember.Please include suggested colours, sleeve lengths, skirt shapes, your preference for prints, fabric weights, jackets vs blouses, etc …
Of course Angela, given that I am a journalist—and not a supermodel—it is important that anything I wear allows me to feel comfortable for three and a half hours on set or perhaps outside when we’re on location.Oh, and I’m a married mother of three, so nothing too revealing.And nothing I wear can ever clash with what Georgie is wearing. And I have a larger bust, so nothing tight, thanks. Oh, and I’m not very tall—did I mention I’m not a model?—so please take that into consideration as well.And finally, I must never clash with Karl’s ties. Or suits. Or the couch.And I must be seasonally appropriate.
Look forward to hearing from you.
And Wilkinson definitely isn't the only female anchor to get hate mail of this kind. Just last month, Virginia Trioli, Australian host of "ABC News Breakfast," shared a letter she received from a viewer on Twitter.
Sexism within the media industry may be nothing new (just like that in Hollywood, which actress Jennifer Garner recently spoke out about), but it's certainly gotten old. For now, though, we can at least give a slow clap to Stefanovic's awesome show of support. We hope for his co-anchor's sake, he gets that thing to a dry cleaner, ASAP.