My very first letter to the editor

I’m old school and I like to get the Sydney Morning Herald delivered on the weekends because I’m in denial about the fact that I have two children and can no longer enjoy a leisurely breakfast while perusing all the lovely different sections. Instead I take Good Weekend to Emma’s swimming lesson on Saturday mornings so I can read Benjamin Law’s column and The Two of Us (my favourite parts) and then I usually take the rest of the week to read the rest of it. Some bits go straight into the bin and some weeks the whole thing gets thrown out on Friday, unread, because I’m getting a new one the next day. Now that Emma’s into painting we can recycle it into table protection as well, so there’s that.

Anyway, last weekend I did manage to read right to the end of the News Review and this opinion piece infuriated me. As in, blood boiling, can’t see straight, who-can-I-yell-at-about-this. (Even though I roll my eyes at Kyrgios’ general behaviour as much as the next casual observer.) And then it occurred to me – I can write a letter to the editor! That’s why they exist, right? So those of us stuck at home (without colleagues to discuss all manner of trivia, whose conversations with partners generally revolve around should-we-make-her-eat-more-broccoli, it’s-your-turn-to-do-the-nappy, what-do-you-want-to-watch-on-Netflix- tonight) can rile against the stupidity of the world or the newspaper. (Although Toby and I have discussed this several times, and we are in agreement that Kyrgios was being uncool and unprofessional, but Toby does have a slightly different take, maybe because he understands blokes/sportspeople more than I do, since I am neither.) And so this week I sent off the below paragraph to the SMH, with no expectations regarding publication at all. (Which is good, because as far as I know it wasn’t published.) Rather than publication I just really wanted it to be passed on to whoever wrote that pearl-clutching, won’t-someone-think-of-the-poor-innocent-girl piece. I could probably have gone on and on, but they warn you to keep it short, and the Hairpin did a lovely job anyway, and really all I wanted to do was slap down the slut shaming and say to Donna, “don’t worry, it has nothing to do with you, it’s just those dumb boys.”

To: letters@smh.com.au

RE: A woman not scorned

I do hope Donna Vekic has some more progressive people in her life who can assure her that in fact her reputation has not been “dragged through the mud” (News Review op Ed 15 August). It may surprise some people still living in the last century but saying an unmarried woman slept with an unmarried man is no longer a good way to ridicule her – she has nothing to be ashamed of and no need to worry about her “reputation”. (I note your writer is not concerned with Kokkinakis’ reputation.) The more interesting question is why this is considered such a terrible thing to say to a man – Kyrgios knew it was terrible and Wawrinka reacted as though it was indeed a dreadful insult, to be told your girlfriend once slept with someone else. In this century that is a very interesting question.

When I was tootling around the SMH website just now collecting links I did come across this response from Donna, in which she appears to know very well that it has nothing to do with her and it really is just about dumb boys. Bless you Donna.

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