Sexism will even follow you to the grave.
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.”
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.
She spent her life trying to make the world understand that women were human and equal to any task. But she got fat! Bugger! #myozobituary— Cath Kerr (@cathzena) January 30, 2015
Having learnt the art of eating with one hand whilst typing with the other, she managed to become both fat and a best seller #myozobituary— Thane Prince (@ThanePrince) January 30, 2015
'Weird nose, decent rack, slightly wobbly tummy, yet somehow functioned like a normal human' #myozobituary— Suzie Dooré (@suziedoore) January 30, 2015
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.
Although his beard looked like someone had glued it on & his hair would have been unconvincing as a wig, he married a rockstar #MyOzObituary— Neil Gaiman (@neilhimself) January 30, 2015
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)