“Give A Blowjob To Save Your Career”
This was the title of one of Triple J’s Hack most recent, and controversial news piece. Presented by journalist Tom Tilly, Hack is unique in that it is both a popular media text and mediated public sphere, as news stories are both presented and then discussed on the program.
‘Give a blowjob to save your career’ was a news story presented by Tom Tilly on the 26th of March 2015; the story itself detailed the comments of top female surgeon, Dr Gabrielle McMullin, who suggested that female trainees would be better off having unwanted sex to save their careers (Hack Triple J 2015). This raised issues about the extreme sexism present in the medical field and the apparently ‘untouchable’ position of male surgeons.
This out of context quote was relayed again and again in promos for Hack in order to gain increased debate in the mediated public sphere and thus a higher listenership for the program.
Which it did, domestic advice campaigners called her comment “appalling and irresponsible”.
On the Hack on Triple J Facebook page, this story had 194 likes, 36 shares and dozens of comments from people like Jessie Foote (Hack on Triple J Facebook 2015):
“Ridiculous. This is why we struggle for gender equality in the work place because people like this woman open her mouth and make it look like it’s acceptable to be sexually harassed in the work place. It is never ever ok. Not for any reason and not by anyone. No one is above the law.”
Even I myself, hearing the standalone comment on my radio as I drove to uni that morning could not understand what kind of woman could give such an inherently sexist and degrading message as advice for the career of other women in the medical field.
And so, I tuned in. This is the power of the popular media text; subconsciously forcing people to somehow interact with the story they are telling.
However, the context of Dr McMullin’s comment was the story she was recounting of neurosurgical trainee Dr Caroline Tan, who took her sexual assault case to the courts and won, but was never again appointed to a position at a major hospital.
Dr McMullin then explained her comment further within the discussion segment on Hack (Hack Triple J 2015):
“She would have been better off, for her career if she had given a blowjob to that man that evening… the point was that if she would have given him a blowjob not that she should have.”
This story from Hack illuminates the different facets of the mediated public sphere. There is the extremely moderated discussion segment of the show, where guests are elected by the program, but anything they say is moderated by the host Tom Tilly. While there is also the more free-range platform of the Facebook discussion page and then there is the even more random and unique public sphere of real-life discussion, which I found to be the most engaging with this particular media text.
Hack Triple J 2015, Give A Blowjob To Save Your Career, http://www.abc.net.au/triplej/hack/stories/s4205437.htm [17/04/15]
Hack On Triple J 2015, Give A Blowjob To Save Your Career, https://www.facebook.com/triplejHack?fref=ts [17/04/15]