Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Must not mention a woman's looks

An obituary for author Colleen McCullough published in The Australian newspaper has sparked anger this morning, with readers labelling it "sexist".

The article, which begins by describing the internationally acclaimed Australian author as "plain of feature" and "overweight" was tweeted by ABC journalist Joanna McCarthy along with the words: "Award for worst opening lines of an obituary goes to ... #everydaysexism."

McCullough, who died on Thursday at the age of 77, worked as a neuroscientist in the United States before turning to writing full-time. Her much-loved The Thorn Birds, a romantic Australian saga published in 1977, has sold 30 million copies worldwide and is the highest-selling Australian book, helped by the popular 1983 mini-series.

Twitter users have highlighted the disparity between The Australian's reporting of McCullough's death and that of fellow author Bryce Courtenay, the latter hailed "one of Australia's greatest storytellers".

The incident calls to mind The New York Times' obituary for Yvonne Brill, where the scientist's professional achievements were listed below her cooking prowess  and success as a dedicated wife and mother.


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