By Mike Welsh
In 2006, after ‘…internalising misogyny for more than a decade’, Tracey Spicer had had enough. The tipping point was returning to her past after maternity leave, only to discover that she had been let go.
In her best selling feminist memoir The Good Girl Stripped Bare, Tracey Spicer articulates the issue of entrenched workplace sexism and bullying, a condition which she has encountered and countered in a long and successful career in the media. As a matter of fact, Tracey and I were colleagues at the same regional Victoria media outlet over 30 years ago. I was impressed with Tracey’s journalistic ability as I was with her ability to hold her own against the ‘boys club’ in the boardroom or at the pub on a Friday night. Through her book, to my shame, I discovered that Tracey only went along with that culture, because, as she put it ‘that’s what you do’. As a straight white male who has spent more than 30 years working in media, I spent most of it oblivious that female colleagues were forced in some cases to play a subservient game in order to further their careers. And this was the beginning of a role that Spicer believed she had to play.
Tracey’s journalistic journey began at High School when she became besotted with a sophisticated, slim and exotic looking woman on TV, Jana Wendt. Living in a low socioeconomic rough suburb amid a dearth of role models, Jana’s sophistication completely enchanted the bleach haired bogan from outer Brissie.
As she moved through Channels Ten and Nine, she was shocked with the widespread attitude held by male executives who felt entitled to use female staff as their own personal Barbie Dolls. This shocked Tracey, as she grew up being told that she could do anything, optimistically believing that the misogyny would soon dissipate. Three decades on and now able to boast a highly successful on-air television career, Tracey is confident that younger women will now benefit from her ultimate refusal to be treated as a second class citizen.
This shocked Tracey, as she grew up being told that she could do anything, optimistically believing that the misogyny would soon dissipate.