The Daily Telegraph (Sydney)

Sisters not much help

Emotional wounding of women is more likely than not served up most calculatin­gly by another woman Whenever a woman in the public eye endures painful criticism, you can reliably look for a member of the sisterhood to find who exactly is leading the charge


Well, what an Internatio­nal Women’s Day that was. When Sam Armytage announced yesterday that she was quitting Sunrise after eight years as cohost, the message was that it was at her own volition.

Entirely her choice to step off the giddy and bitchy showbiz carousel for a slower lifestyle where she could recalibrat­e, enjoy her new husband and delete the calendar reminders.

Leaving on her own terms at the top of the ratings.

So in effect Armytage is living the 2021 empowermen­t message. Your life, your choice.

And where is the chorus of support from modern feminists? I’m waiting.

“(I want to) enjoy a bit of slow living and spend some time with my precious family and my husband and Banjo,” Armytage told viewers.

Losing her mum to an autoimmune disease in 2020 was the bitter part of a year which turned sweet when she married Bowral farmer Richard Lavender.

Could it be that calling time on your glamorous and lucrative TV career in favour of a bloke and joys of peaceful family time is still not the done thing?

It seems that to be a modern feminist that there is always a war to wage against men and also, perplexing­ly, your fellow women.

This type of individual has not been covering herself in glory in recent weeks, given the disappoint­ing support/sabotage mindset seeping out across the political, royal and celebrity spectrum.

The second IWD bombshell yesterday was dropped by Meghan Markle, an architect of sisterhood, who incredibly threw her own sister-inlaw under the bus in front of a global audience as she checked off her grievances to Oprah Winfrey.

According to Meghan’s self-glorying testimony, it was Kate who made Meghan cry in the days before her 2018 wedding to Harry — not the other way around.

Apparently this was over a tiff about a flower girl dress fitting. Life truly was hell under The Firm’s oppressive jackboots.

Meghan refused to elaborate, declaring: “I don’t think it’s fair to her to get into the details of that because she apologised and I have forgiven her.”

Yes, elsewhere in the interview it is hard to hear Meghan’s claims of being pregnant and suicidal but not being allowed to seek profession­al help. The “institutio­n” forbade it — by which she means the Royal Family.

That’s a harrowing situation for any person to find themselves in.

But that’s not Kate’s fault, is it? And who knows the truth of what she did behind the scenes to help Meghan?

What is also not fair is casting your sister — which is what she basically is because Meghan has cut off her actual half-sister Samantha — as the villain when royal protocol prevents her from defending herself.

That’s the feminist treachery, cherrypick­ing the issues while using the touchy-feely construct of the sisterhood as a shield from hypocrisy.

If women’s equality advocates were really devoted to empowering women they’d be shouting from the rooftops how wonderful it is that Armytage has prioritise­d her marriage, family and happiness before her career.

Then there’s the behaviour of Defence Minister Linda Reynolds, who called alleged rape victim Brittany Higgins “a lying cow”.

This sent an eye-watering message about power being more important than decency or kindness. Reynolds’s own website spruiks her as a “passionate champion for gender equality and female empowermen­t in politics and in society more generally.

“Despite major advances in women’s rights, there is still a long way to go on the path towards full gender equality, as evidenced by nearly all social, economic and political indicators.”

Yes, social. There was a time-lapsed apology from Reynolds but the damage was done. So much for a senior female politician being a role model for young women. So why the slights, why the cruelties?

Why do we as mothers have to coach our daughters on how to cope with other females?

Why must we remind them that not every woman will like them in life and possibly form an adverse opinion based on absolutely nothing?

But that’s OK. That’s on them. Just be yourself. The challenges start then.

We never have to prep our sons that way. In Armytage’s case, plenty have been happy to stick the boot in and call her a racist when no such evidence existed.

The emotional wounding of women — the jockeying for status, the judgment, the ostracisin­g — is more likely than not served up most calculatin­gly by another woman. But still, females can enhance each other.

The cocoon of respect and awe around brave Australian of the Year Grace Tame are the model to aspire to.

Enabling female victims of sexual abuse to speak up is now her brand and it is a terrific one.

“Let us genuinely listen, actively, without judgment, and without advice to demonstrat­e empathy and re-ensure it is and never was our fault,” Tame says.

By demanding equal treatment, it is incumbent on us as women to treat each other fairly and equally.

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