Monday, October 04, 2004
Herald on Sunday: or Women Behaving Badly ::

Well, NZ’s new, bright, alternative Sunday Paper is here. Since we are NZ Herald subscribers they have been kind enough to give us a few week’s subscription to the new Herald on Sunday to try it out. On the whole it is a predictable attempt to be both entertaining and informative – probably a good enough relaxation on the day of rest, but Kerre Woodham’s article jolted me out of my comfort zone.

Kerre Woodham is described, by the new Herald on Sunday (View p.19), as “the Auckland-based radio host and Herald on Sunday columnist”. She is an intelligent woman who, since we came to NZ at least, has made a good living out of pretending to be a ditzy blonde. Our family enjoyed her TV show Ready Steady Cook where she appeared both human and humane. That is the side of Woodham that we hear in the feature in View: a woman shocked by the inhumane cruelty of the Khemer Rouge, yet enjoying the people she met on her travels in South East Asia (soon to be a TV show).

The Herald on Sunday features Kerre Woodham’s column on page 23.

In the column this humane woman she came over all moral. She offers a load of backhanded advice to young Sharee Adams. Sharee’s main failing – if you believe Woodham – is to have entered a beauty contest. Or perhaps the mistake was winning? And she dared to use the resulting fame as a springboard, ensuring that her views on marriage and the Civil Unions bill got heard. Now there’s a crime that Kerre and her PC majority friends have never committed - to use fame to make themselves heard!
What really got my goat though, was not that Kerre disagreed with Sharee – that’s normal, and in a democracy to be applauded – it was the tone. She started out: “You have to admire Sharee Adams.” Then she proceeded to tell us why we shouldn’t admire the young campaigner. Apparently because she was a beauty queen, and worse one that was NOT fancied by the bookies, we should ignore her but listen to Kerre and the other TV “personalities”.

Kerre went on to offer the younger woman some motherly advice – Sharee is within a decade of Kerre’s own daughter. You see apparently – in the world of the Herald on Sunday and Kerre Woodham – because Kerre has “eschewed the sacred bonds” of marriage, and because some people fail to live up to the ideals they promised, Sharee’s talk of marriage as being different from other unions deserves ridicule. We Herald on Sunday readers are expected to join in.

Ugh, a woman behaving badly, and one smart enough to know better, and old enough to have learned compassion (as the feature article in View reveals). I for one hope Ms Adams sticks to her guns. Her father is an MP, so hopefully her parents can support her through reading and responding to Ms Woodham’s snide attack. Her dad has probably had experience of gutter journalism, and her mum has likely learned ways to provide comfort and rebuild self-esteem in the wake of unfair and savage attacks.

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