One of the best things about starting this blog has been discovering the sheer number of dedicated, committed and talented people running small businesses in Brisbane.
I’m constantly amazed at the drive, creativity and the passion they bring to what they do. They add immense value to the Brisbane economy, not to mention our enviable lifestyle.
I find and keep tack of many of these businesses by liking their Facebook pages.
It’s a convenient way for me to stay up to date with what they’re doing as well as acting like a sort of unofficial “ to do” list of things I’d like to investigate further because I think that the people who read this blog might be interested in them .
Whisky Business – macarons made to order was one these businesses.
I liked their page a while ago after a friend of mine gave them a shout out and had been meaning to get down to Capalaba (which is not in my usual travels) and try them out. Their macarons looked yummy and I regularly liked their photos when they popped up in my Facebook feed.
And then suddenly yesterday morning there was this…
WHAT. THE. FUCK?
I stared crazily at the screen for a moment before clicking the “See More” link. The story was shocking yet horribly familiar.
The journalist, news editor Judith Maizey from the Wynnum Herald, made it clear in no uncertain terms that despite the fact that they were there to write a story about HER business, owner Kylie Rhodes was not attractive enough in her natural state to grace the pages of their newspaper.
Apparently she wasn’t the look they were going for.
When I read that she’d turfed the journalist out of her shop I had a brief moment of satisfaction, but that was soon overtaken by other emotions: disappointment, sadness and pure unbridled rage.
There are so many things that make me furious about Kylie’s experience with the Wynnum Herald that I’m not sure which one gets to me the most.
Is it because a male small business owner in the same circumstance would have never have been asked to make himself more attractive to fit some arbitrary notion defined by the Wynnum Herald?
Could it be the fact that as a journalist, choosing to use a picture of someone other than Kylie (who supposedly does fit these lofty standards of attractiveness) is at best a stunning lack of integrity and at worst blatant misrepresentation?
Or is it the fact that caring what she looks like at all makes a mockery of Kylie’s intelligence, skills (both in both business AND baking) and the back-breaking hard work she has put into making her business a success.
That in the final analysis her worth will ultimately be judged on her attractiveness
And maybe its also because… well she must have been excited mustn’t she?
After all that those 2.30 am starts and juggling kids and worrying, worrying, worrying about the future, the local paper was acknowledging her success and giving her business the opportunity to reach hundreds of potential new customers. It should have been a great day.
But instead of being the a recognition of all she had achieved it ended up being a “sorry you’re not good enough”. Being told that you’re not pretty enough for the paper would have been like a punch in the face when you’re expecting a kiss.
The fact that this was perpetrated by another woman makes me both heartbroken and confused
In the interests of fairness I have tried to look at this from the perspective of the Wynnum Herald and Judith Maizey.
Mistakes happen, no one is perfect and we all screw up from time to time.
Unfortunately a bad day at the office when you are a journalist means that your bad day may be judged by the entire community. Or in this case a much wider audience, as there were plenty of comments on the Facebook post from people as close as NZ and as far away as Greece and South Africa.
The Wynnum Herald has posted an apology on its Facebook page which is at least something. And they did try to salvage the situation by commenting on Kylie’s post. The only problem was…
Awkward doesn’t even begin to cover it.
But the final message here is a positive one. Because Kylie didn’t just accept the shabby treatment she was dealt by the Wynum Herald. She stood up for herself and in doing so made statement that both the media and society should note:
A woman’s worth will be measured by her achievements alone – and we will not stand for less.