Older women are ugly, by Sam de Brito

Ah, Sam de Brito. Where would internet mockery be without you?

I haven’t read any of his columns in a while because, you know, I don’t like to read something and feel dumberer. But I saw the pullquote in the Sun Herald today – “One day I will surely be confused for my daughter’s grandfather” – and just knew it would be misogyny dressed up as enlightenment. And oh look, I’m right. The very first sentence:

There sure are a lot of old chicks having babies.

No mucking around eh, de Brito? Just straight in there. I can’t quite put my finger on why I find it so creepy, but it has something to do with viewing women as simply things to fuck. Even when women are carrying babies or pushing prams, he’s probably looking them up and down and working out which ones he’d root. Because that’s what calling women “chicks” is all about, isn’t it? Their fuckability. Or maybe that’s just me making assumptions about someone who tells us every Sunday what he thinks of women. (It’s beyond my understanding why a male writer with a dismissive attitude towards women gets a weekly column in a newspaper liftout aimed at women. It’s also beyond my understanding why newspaper editors think women are only interested in celebrity crap and fashion. They have meetings about how to attract more female readers, yet always think it’s something they have to add, rather than realising that what they’re currently offering is shit.)

In the second sentence he puts in a plug for what a good father he is – what a modern father – and then insults women again:

I know this because I’m an old dude who became a father last year and, when I’m out and about doing things with my baby, I see all these old chicks doing the same with their newborns; women simultaneously battling mastitis and menopause.

Um, Sam? You do know what menopause is, right?

Now, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with matching liver spots and maternity wear – actually, yes you are – or having crow’s feet and breastfeeding, because I’m no spring chicken and one day will surely be confused for my daughter’s grandfather.

Oh, pot kettle black. If you want to talk about sun-damaged skin and crow’s feet, Sam, I suggest you look in the mirror.

He then goes on to blah blah blah about how every person without children leads a shallow life because his own life was shallow until he became a father. It must be sad to have so little going for you that you only attract equally shallow people as friends. You know, I almost feel sorry for him.

For the first time, I saw my life not as a one-night stand but a continuum, where I owed the generation who followed protection and respect.

I do have to give him some credit. After all, it does take a particular type of skill to use what you see as your own character flaws as an insult to others. Like many other people without kids, I’ve still managed to learn that we have a responsibility towards others, particularly those younger than us. I guess that’s the difference between having empathy and respect for people you don’t know, and being a douchebag.

And then there’s something about how he thinks women “search for meaning in handbags”, which is a recurring theme in his writing and says a lot about what he thinks of women. And that makes me really sad for his daughter. One day, when she’s a teenager, she’s going to call him a sexist pig, and it will be true. Hell, he’s even put it in writing.

41 responses to “Older women are ugly, by Sam de Brito

  1. I am actually speechless.

  2. Do you have a link to the source piece please?

  3. I’ve never heard of Sam de Brito before this post. Now I wish I still hadn’t.

  4. Rhiannon Saxon

    Nauseating. Someone I know with similarly-aged son as mine is 16 years older than I am and a VERY good mother who spends loads of time with her son reading, playing, walking, doing craft activities, cooking with and all the things of which I do as little as possible! I guess it’s ok for her thought, because she doesn’t LOOK like ‘an older chick’.
    Ugh. He is nauseating.
    I wonder whether my mother who had her first child at 20 and her last at 40 would send his brain into meltdown as he simultaneously tries to beam approval at her slender-waisted youthful 20-ness and disapproval, contempt and disdain for her grey hair, overweight 40-ness.

  5. OK without reading the original text its a bit hard to get the context, but as someone who first became a dad at 44 in 1999 (you do the sums 😉 ) I have some sympathy for the argument that becoming a parent is a young person’s game, and that applies even more to women. That said I think that I have a really good relationship with my children and that they benefit from having more mature parents who have enough life experiences under their belts to be truly grown up.

    • Oh, a good parent is a good parent, regardless of age. And there are pros and cons for having them when you’re young or when you’re older. But that’s not really what de Brito is saying.

  6. He’s not partial to fat chicks either.

  7. Is this really my first comment, NWN?

  8. Oh good god! Great post lovely, as ever.

    SG x

  9. I really don’t get the argument that being an older parent is harder for women than it is for men.
    Being pregnant and giving birth CAN be harder if you’re a much older mother. (Pregnancy and birth are the burden of women regardless of age and sometimes age is no indication of how tough you will have it physically speaking.)
    But that a woman’s age some how makes it harder for her to parent than for a man to parent…I call bullshit on that one.

    I love that line…battling mastitis and menopause simultaneously…really? I wonder if De Brito realises how stupid and how NOT witty that is. (I read that and heard the “folks are dumb where I come from” song in my head)

  10. I have always wondered what sort of relationship he has with his own mother and how he can face her at family gatherings with the way he goes on about older women. And I do believe he has a sister……what does he think about her being an old chick and how does she view him. It is all very strange to me given the number of times I have become insensibly angry at the protective attitudes I read in his blog of not fucking your best friends sister or mother because it is rotten behaviour for a man to do such a thing to his mate.

  11. Stop reading the shit ,ignore it and it will go away.
    I have not read this journalists work but comments here imply he is a fuck wit and yet you all read his work and get annoyed and rightly so if the samples given are true ,unfortunatly this is good old aussie journalism and until we boycott it we are stuck with it.

    • Ah, tredlgt, I don’t think it’s that simple. This is a writer whose negative views about women are presented as a bit of fun in Fairfax websites and newspapers. We need to be speaking up about this otherwise it will just continue.

  12. I normally am interested in music writing and sad to say, he doesn’t dwell away from sexism in the world of music as well. A lot of my musician and radio friends who supported the live scene were pretty peeved off with this piece where he says venues wouldn’t close down in Sydney if venues operators got “hotter chicks to gigs”: http://blogs.smh.com.au/executive-style/allmenareliars/2009/10/27/houedown.html

    I really don’t understand his rhetoric as well on this article: http://blogs.smh.com.au/lifestyle/allmenareliars/archives/2009/04/thoughts_on_susan_boyle.html

    Oh and he doesn’t check his sources as well: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/business/media/why-hugh-riminton-was-driven-to-sue-a-journalist-colleague/story-e6frg996-1225905595410

  13. I have only just realised….in 10 years time as he turns 50 he is likely to become the next Andrew Bolt.

  14. I feel sick when I read de Brito articles… he’s playing to a male audience who see him as successful when in fact his girlfriend left him just a few months after he became a father & he wrote an article about his weight gain (garned from his site, but this may or not be true)… so he picks on other people.

    I used to read his columns, years ago, but now they are just nasty. I bought his book The Lost Boys found the language and drug references so uninspiring (read boring) so I returned it and told him on his facebook page. That comment was deleted. So only sycophants can post apparantely.

    The topic ‘older mums are ugly’ is particulary hurtful (I will take that personally) but misguided as children don’t discriminate who gives them love and attention.

  15. I am infinitely relieved to hear that the presumably young woman who is the mother to De Brito ‘s father has split from him: but deeply saddened he was able to persuade anyone to procreate with him. I hate to think of the damage he will cause passing on everything he knows about society and gender to an innocent child.
    After this week’s article about ugly 40 yr old mothers, Sam will write a piece about horrible 30 yr olds nagging their partners about having babies.
    Women. Everything we do is teh wrongz. And it is Sam’s job to tell us so.

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  17. I know this is a target-rich environment, but

    “One day I will surely be confused for my daughter’s grandfather”

    is one terrible sentence for a “writer” to submit to a paper and for the “sub editors” (pagemasters?) to let past.

    He means mistaken for his daughter’s grandfather. Doesn’t know anything about women, can’t write English – just where do they dredge their columnists from? and why can’t some of the feminist bloggers, who know how to put a sentence together, get these gigs instead? Don’t answer that!

  18. I am a 60 year old man. When I am out with my youngest grandchild, who is a one year old boy, some people think he’s my son. I don’t know whether to be happy for me or sorry for them or vice versa?

    And by the way – have you seen Sam DeBrito?

    Here’s a helpful footnote for all those women who say -” I’m not a feminist but …” And all those men who just don’t get it.

    Imagine if PM Julia Gillard when visiting the troops in Afghanistan had fired off a few rounds from an automatic weapon just like Tony did. Then in reply to the top brass who were explaining to her, that despite the deaths of Australian troops, there was enough firepower to support them, she said, “oh well, shit happens.”

    As a mate of my once said, “If I was a women I would be heavily armed at all times.”
    I would too (metaphorically of course) and I would never give a male blockhead a break – Sam.

  19. The point being, there are different rules of engagement for men and women – as perceived by the media and the public.
    Ms Gillard would have been run out of town if she behaved like Tony did in Afghanistan.

    Some men will never get it so the best way to deal with the Sams of this world is to deny them oxygen.

    Maybe I was making too many points but I get so P….. off with women who stand back and cop it – men who make them and the cabbage heads who don’t get it anyway?

    Is that any clearer?

    • Ah, that makes sense, thanks Steve. You’re right about Gillard and Abbott and guns, but I disagree with the bit about the oxygen. People like Sam de Brito (and Sam Brett) already have oxygen, so it’s better to challenge their ideas. Unfortunately, you can’t do that on their blogs because you just get attacked – people who support narrow-minded columnists don’t tend to engage with actual debate and just get nasty. Which is why so many women blog about how wrong he is, and hope that some of the people who find our blogs searching for “Sam de Brito” read what we have to say and think “oh, I never thought about it like that before”.

  20. You’re right of course – I stand humbled by your wisdom.
    But my dog there are so many narrow-minded columnists/commentators these days – where did they all come from? I guess Rupert is the major oxygen supplier. We didn’t have so many media nutters back in those good old days.

    I found your blog today by searching for critiques on good grammer – not nipples nor de Brito?

    I’ll be back … thanks NWN.

  21. Pingback: The Thirty-Seventh Down Under Feminists Carnival, Collated by Boganette | Down Under Feminists' Carnival

  22. I read my first Sam De Brito column at the weekend and was going to shoot him a missive. When I goggled I stumbled across this wonderful site instead. Sam worked for me some years back… He was arrogant and vicious in the vein of a 14-year-old schoolboy who resorts to calling you an ugly lesbian when you won’t put out. Still, he helped me find this blog! That may have been his one good deed I wouldn’t mind seeing him disappear now.

  23. Um, that would be googled of course. Not goggled… although now I’ve written that ‘word’ it appeals.

    • I quite like goggled too. Kelly, welcome to the News with Nipples. I was on the judging panel of the Walkley young journo of the year awards (online category) with de Brito a few years ago and was very underwhelmed.

  24. I’m not at all surprised. It saddens me that folk such as him get valuable page space… I liken him to the ever-clever Kyle. What a country we live in? But then there’s you and this blog and I feel warmed to the cockles! All the best and I look forward to reading much more. K

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