#MyOzObituary mocks sexist obituary in Australian newspaper

Would anyone write this about a man?


Gavia Baker-Whitelaw


Published Jan 30, 2015   Updated May 29, 2021, 3:56 pm CDT

Sexism will even follow you to the grave.

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Australian author Colleen McCullough had an illustrious career, but her obituary is raising eyebrows for its focus on her looks. Published in the newspaper the Australian, the obituary went viral due to an awkward sentence its opening paragraph: “Plain of feature, and certainly overweight, she was, nevertheless, a woman of wit and warmth.”

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Talk about damning with faint praise. It’s difficult to imagine an accomplished man being described on those terms, especially in his obituary.

The #MyOzObituary hashtag sprung up from people writing parodies of the sexist obit, prioritizing insulting physical descriptions over real personal achievements. 

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Even author Neil Gaiman stepped in with his own obituary, pointing out that if traditional gender roles were reversed, he would clearly be described as a middle-aged man who miraculously managed to marry singer/songwriter Amanda Palmer.

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Some of these hashtag obituaries are pretty funny, but they expose a grim truth: If you’re a woman, it’s practically impossible to escape being judged by your appearance. 

Photo via kathika/Flickr (CC 2.0)

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*First Published: Jan 30, 2015, 11:54 am CST