Sexism In New Zealand Culture.
(Postscript 21 July, 2012: Rawdon Christie seems to have gotten better since I wrote this post. His behaviour is more accommodating to his female co-hosts. Maybe he saw this post. Maybe not. Whatever – these criticisms below currently do not apply to the same degree as when I wrote this)
Watch Rawdon Christie with Petra Bagust on the Breakfast Programme, TVNZ Channel One. 21st June, 2012.
I do not like Rawdon Christie’s attitude at all. I used to quite like him as a news presenter, when this was all he did, as I found his English accent and style of news-reading quite refreshing. But I have really gone off him since I have seen how he monopolizes the show with Petra Bagust. He has become overtly arrogant, and disrespectful of the beautiful and charming Petra Bagust with whom he has been paired, This man is obviously used to making the rules and having them obeyed – something Englishmen of a certain class are quite famous for.
Poor Petra seems totally intimidated by this man Rawdon Christie. She was much more herself when she was working with Coran Dann, who has recently left the programme. He has gone off to be a political analyst instead.
Petra used to be alive, witty and good-humoured. Now she hardly dares to make a joke with this man in judgement of her wit. Petra used to dress more adventurously, and have a hair-do to suit her relaxed style and affable nature. Nowadays, she is dressed in ridiculously demure dresses, with hair-do’s which demand that no sudden or dramatic movements are made so that they stay in place. She looks totally strait-jacketed. TVNZ – what are you doing to Petra? This looks like a deliberate attempt to diminish her presence – the dress-code, hair-styles, and Rawdon Christie. The last things any emancipated woman wants.
Rawdon Christie is rude and seems quite misogynistic. He spreads himself out, taking much more of the available space, so that the viewers see him as the dominant one. This is an old male trick – to spread-eagle your arms, use more hand and arm gestures, and open the legs wider so that you seem larger than life. This body language has a visibly daunting effect on the ‘weaker’ sex, who are usually built a bit smaller than the male. If the male occupies the larger quantity of the space, or even appears to, then the present company is more likely to submit to the will of the male with the larger profile.
And poor Petra looks to be in awe of this man with the larger profile. She is behaving like a poor wee puppy, continually eager to please. Wake up Petra. He is NOT better than you. You do not realize your own value, your own worth, and the effect of your warm presence on this show.
Rawdon likes to take the spot-light. If Petra is given a chance to say anything, Rawdon sits there looking bored and slightly disdainful. “Hurry up, you stupid woman – I have something important to say – I am a REAL news-reader” are the unspoken words I see going through his head. This morning, when Petra was trying to complete her sentence, he rudely began to change the subject with his own object of interest. Petra stuck to her guns and managed to complete her sentence. But not without some disparaging looks from Christie.
Petra is a great hostess for this show. She is intelligent, courteous, and is very quick on the up-take. But Petra Bagust has some very special qualities which neither Corin Dann nor Rawdon Christie possess. These qualities are compassion and caring, and the ability to engage with her guests in a vibrant and sensitive way.
Rawdon Christie should be ditched from this programme. He is not a good role-model for young New Zealand males, who still need to work on the way that they perceive and treat women. He reminds me very much of Paul Henry, who used to treat his female co-hosts in the same patronizing way. Fortunately, I think that Paul Henry’s manner has improved tremendously since he stood down from TV1 and began doing shows for TV3.
Petra Bagust should be nurtured. She should be given more reign to power from the (probably) male producers of the TV1 breakfast show.