Adelaide United kicked off their A-League season with a credible draw against Melbourne Victory, but the club was involved in an off field skirmish on the eve of Friday’s clash. The Reds dared to allow club sponsor Travel Superstore to use female staff wearing ‘red skirts and black high heels’ to sell raffle tickets, on the night of the match. As usual the squeaky wheel brigade screamed into action.
Promoted on the club’s Twitter account, the Travel Superstore Reds Girls were attacked by a girl gang that amounted to approximately ten people. Unsurprisingly, some members of the ‘professional’ media seized the opportunity to assert their moral superiority, while others just sounded like man-haters.
One bitter user took to the Reds with the pent-up anger of a thousand feminists. Amy was infuriated that the Reds “could frame women as accessories and infantilise them by calling them ‘girls'”. Amywas offended because the Travel Superstore raffle ticket sellers were called girls rather than women.
I tweeted to Amy that adult men are often referred to as boys, particularly in the sports arena. But she was having none of it and replied back that she didn’t approve of that either.
Others seemed to totally miss the point of the promotion, labelling the Reds Girls as cheerleaders – god forbid an Australian soccer team uses cheerleaders as apparently only the other ‘bogan codes’ would use them – while others shouted for images of the Adelaide United women’s team, who had nothing to do with the Travel Superstore promotion.
For clarity, the Travel Superstore Reds Girls were tasked with selling raffle tickets to fans, whom after parting with $5 were in the running to win a $2000 travel voucher. That was their job.
Of the professional media it was The Daily Telegraph’s Tom Smithies who led the charge. “I really find it extraordinary that someone thought this sexist rubbish was a good idea,” the righteous scribe tweeted.
When asked how the promotion was sexist Smithies failed to answer directly, instead posting a tweet to all his followers in which he was able to insert two word weapons in one sentence – them being: sexist and objectification.
Smithies was displaying the signature behavioural trait that American academic Shelby Steele calls dissociation. It’s the kind of behaviour that large government and private institutions exhibit in order to clear themselves from any perceived racism or sexism. In this incidence the Daily Telegraph employee used some keywords as labels in order to assert his moral superiority.
Of course Smithies was joined by some like-minded minor celebrities in Mel McLaughlin and George Donikian. The pair jumped at the chance to dissociate themselves from ‘sexism’. McLaughlin tweeted “Please tell me this is a joke,” as if to say that she disapproved of any kind of eye-candy that the Travel Superstore Reds Girlsprovided. It was the ultimate in irony from the former FoxSports presenter. Donikian, it must be said seemed more to be taking advantage of the gathering of a girl gang, when he tweeted, “We interviewed real female football fans in our series Fields to Dreams.”
Fortunately the righteous and hateful tweets gained little traction and only provided an example of how quick some are to use labels in pursuit of credibility. Hopefully, the Travel Superstore Reds Girls don’t have to put up with more abusive bullying online or at Adelaide United matches.
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