This is the result of two artists being promised a cover shoot to promote their fringe shows.
Thoughts below. Spoiler Warning: it’s heaps fucked.
“What will it be, lads? Dark and dangerous or the hilarious cat lady?
What will it be, when you include a line like that in an arts promotion piece? The answer is, of course, sexist.
Ciao Magazine, an online and print publication that features sections like “Inner West Gossip”, contacted comedian Genevieve Fricker and theatremaker Annabelle McMillan to organize a cover shoot to promote their separate Fringe shows. The photos they took weren’t used for the cover. Without contacting either of their artists, they changed the cover to this:
And the photos Genevieve and Annabelle took were used in the “Hot or Not?” column you can see above. Relatively minor issue: no promised cover photo. Massive fuck-off major issue: what was meant to be promotion for these artists now literally, literally has more words from the men rating them exclusively on their looks than it does about their shows.
Gen and Annabelle weren’t aware of any of this. They weren’t told they wouldn’t be on the cover, there was no mention of a “Hot or Not?” column, and both have said they wouldn’t have agreed to be in the piece if they’d known what it was going to become. They agreed to a photoshoot: what they got was their picture, a short sentence each describing their shows Lucky and Porphyria’s Slumber and a link to the Sydney Fringe website.
Then, of course, you have the actual body of the article devoted to men rating the appearances of the women in question.
Kevin says that he’ll definitely be waiting in the front row with three drinks. He says this because he’s an idiot. Julius, relieved that the magazine hasn’t asked him to review any ugly performers today, sighs that he can “leave [his] beer goggles at home”. Danny praises Genevieve and Annabelle for being “what every man wants in a woman” rather than you know, praising them for being artists who have the guts and ingenuity to sink months into their respective creative outlets. They receive scores of 4-4.5 from the “Lads”.
Try to picture this being done to Toby Truslove and Dave Hughes. Try to picture it being done to any two male performers. The bait-and-switch of ungendered publicity as performers to “now we are going to take the photo you shot and show it to men, who will rate your attractiveness using red kisses” is grotesque. It’s awful.
What could have been an article about two inspiring creatives and their Sydney Fringe shows turned into the most literal example of the Male Gaze ever printed. They are literally subjected to the male gaze.
Ciao Magazine’s email is email@example.com. The web version of the article has been taken down: no-one from Ciao Magazine has contacted either Genevieve or Annabelle to apologize. Please, please let them know this won’t stand. More than that, let this outrage make you interested in Genevieve and Annabelle’s art, buy a ticket next time you can and follow them on twitter at @genfricker and @pandabelle .
The print version is still being circulated of course, and it still has this reprehensible byline: