SOME call it an overreaction. Many are divided as they label it inappropriate, ignorant - or just a normal, regular, everyday comment. But when the ABC called out Hindmarsh mayor Ron Ismay's introduction of Member for Lowan Emma Kealy to include the words "the best looking politician in the state", it prompted a conversation we need to have.
The ABC's report came after a complaint from former councillor Wendy Bywaters, who says the comment was disrespectful and degrading to women, and was an example of archaic language that could influence particularly impressionable young people.
Ms Kealy has not spoken publicly, but Cr Ismay said it was "a way of introducing a lady" that wasn't "that big of a deal" as Hindmarsh councillors voted to apologise.
It's easy to say - and commonly heard - that political correctness has "gone mad"; the world has "gone mad" and the sensitivities around language, gender, race, sexuality, "everything" has "gone too far". It's all a matter of opinion. It's a matter of perspective and experiences that contribute to that opinion. But what the reaction to such comments demonstrates is a lack of understanding of the impacts language has on culture and community.
A great deal of work is occurring within our community so people better understand and develop respectful relationships and attitudes when it comes to gender equality. That's not to say current behaviours are disrespectful per se. That's not often their intent. But it says education is needed to recognise that gender roles are still entrenched - and how that's best broken down.
A male leader would not be introduced professionally with reference to his appearance; nor would his marital status, or the subject of children be raised or seen as relevant to the ability of that man to do his job. The same cannot be said for women.
There's a professional line and there's a difference between friendliness and familiarity. And it's often forgotten.
Women should be recognised and valued for their contributions in context; not relating to personal or irrelevant matters. Same as their male counterparts. Simple, really.
Jessica Grimble, editor