Pat Kenny’s right… the ‘Late Late’ gig would be more difficult for a woman!

Another week, and another who’ll-get-the-Late Late Show-gig story is doing the rounds!

Yes readers, the country’s (and apparently the world’s) longest running – and in my opinion most boring – chat show is, at the time of writing, still searching for its new host! And while the entire nation obsesses about whether it’ll be frontrunners ‘Mr Monotonous’ Patrick Kielty (I’m sorry but I don’t find this ‘comedian’ funny), or worse, ‘Mr Banal’ Brendan O’Connor, I’ve got no doubt the decision-makers at RTÉ will get it wrong and licence fee payers will foot the massive salary bill!

Following Miriam O’Callaghan, Claire Byrne and Sarah McInerney ruling themselves out of the running, it seems everyone, including readers stopping me in the street, and some family members who think because I once worked at RTÉ I’ve got ‘inside info’ (I don’t, nor do I care), is speculating it’ll be the lacklustre Kielty.

In fact, if reports are correct, even my former colleague/former Late Late Show host Pat Kenny seems to think bookies’ favourite Kielty will get the job, explaining in an Irish Independent article how the so-called funnyman was ‘in the frame’ before Pat himself got signed up.

For the record, whether it’s Kielty, O’Connor, Dustin the Turkey or Bosco the freaky puppet who gets fitted with the Late Late Show halo, the thing is, not one of these individuals is talented or interesting enough to pull this colourless, lifeless, tedious show out of the doldrums.

However, while I’ve got no intention of adding my voice to the gaggle of contradictory opinions regarding who’s in/out, I will say that Pat Kenny’s belief (according to the article) that ‘it would be a more difficult experience for a woman’ due to her being judged on ‘what she’s wearing’ is spot on.

Yes ladies, it does not matter that as women, we can calculate the entire surface area of every room of every building we’ve ever entered, capable of knowing what and where each piece of furniture would be better placed. Nor does it matter that we are, to the exact dollop, able to calculate how long our make-up foundation will last us. It doesn’t even matter that we have the ability to locate a Penneys’ store hidden at the back end of a remote rural village, so remote that it’s not even mentioned on Google maps, we’ll always be, according to the lovely Mr Kenny, judged, not by our talent, but by how we look. The sad part is, he’s right!

Don’t believe me? Here are the stats. According to research carried out by aesthetics company Sinclair for its products, ’97 per cent’ of us believe we’re judged on how we ‘look’ with ’61 per cent’ of us ‘having received negative comments or abuse’ around our appearance’!

This research wasn’t actually carried out in Ireland, rather it was carried out in Germany, Spain, the UK and Mexico, etc. However, as only last week I was on the receiving end of another woman’s scathing comment regarding my body shape, dubbed as being ‘way too skinny for your age’, I believe these findings to be universal. For the record, even though this was a double-barrelled jibe, insulting both my body shape and my, er, maturity, the term ‘too skinny’ didn’t bother me half as much as this spiteful individual’s ‘for your age’ snipe! But hey, I was busy, therefore I simply smiled sweetly at the superficial shrew, tossed my hair, thanked her for the ‘lovely compliment’ and me and my skinny old ass walked away!

In fact, given my experience and the fact we’re a nation of judgemental, nit-picking, fault-finding begrudgers, tearing down anyone (mostly women) for their body shape, how they dress, how their hair looks, and how they’re ‘getting above’ themselves etc., I believe the survey’s findings to be highly relevant. To that end, I’m glad Pat Kenny (a male) had the good sense to raise this point.

When I worked in the big bad world of television production, my response to any guest who asked me for advice on what to wear in front of the camera was this… remember, men are judged from the neck up – as in, viewers will only ever see their head, maybe comment on how they have a ‘nice smile’, and will actually listen to what they’re saying. Disgracefully, it’s the opposite for us women… we’re judged from our feet up, with shallow viewers paying less heed to what we say or our wonderful personalities, and instead placing the focus on our age, hair style, and the size and shape of our bodies.

In short, ladies, we’re choked for ‘having d’nerve’ to ‘go on d’telly lookin’ like dat’. State of us!

The rise in Irish teens being diagnosed with STIs is shocking

I don’t know about other parents but, the HSE’s revelation regarding the amount of teenagers in this country being diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) frightens me.

I find it extremely disturbing and shocking that figures are showing how so far this year (we’re only in May), 783 teens have tested positive for sexually transmitted infections, with two kids under fourteen years being ‘treated for chlamydia and one with genital herpes’.

In a world where teenagers are having their first sexual experience at a far earlier age than most of us did, and often without any form of protection against pregnancy or an STI, I believe it’s a parent’s job to educate them as a matter of urgency.

I also feel that given these figures (and I hate to add to a teacher’s workload), the school curriculum might consider prioritising raising awareness around risk behaviours and indeed towards preventative measures, such as pointing students in the direction of their family doctor/primary health care centres to avail of their services.

Mind you readers, this surge in STIs is not just happening across Ireland, nay it’s on the rise across the globe. I’ve done my research for you, and I can tell you that case numbers are currently showing at an all-time high, with (according to ‘more than one million STIs acquired every day worldwide’ – the majority of which are asymptomatic.

If you’re a parent/grandparent/guardian/caregiver of a teen who’s found the courage to disclose to you they believe they’ve got an STI, please bear in mind that losing the head and screaming, shouting and becoming verbally (or worse, physically) abusive to them is not going to solve anything.

Remember, this child who trusts you enough to reach out and confide in you, needs support, understanding, help, and above all, they need to be reassured of your love. I will, at this point, also ask parents to remember that while STIs can be contracted during consensual sex, they can also be contracted during a sexual assault… so tread very carefully and very sensitively when a teen asks for your help.

Your next step is to make sure your teen/child receives a diagnosis from an expert medical care practitioner who treats them with respect, civility and regard. Remember this poor kid probably feels sick, they may feel tired, and they may also feel pain when urinating… so now is not the time to add shame, condemnation or stigmatisation to their list of troubles. Good luck.

Anyone can be subjected to domestic abuse – and anyone can be a perpetrator

There have been a lot of discussions online and in the media this week regarding domestic violence and abuse, something which can affect people of all socioeconomic backgrounds and education levels.

Domestic abuse/violence can be defined as a pattern of behaviour that can occur in any relationship to gain control or power over an intimate partner. This abuse can happen slowly over time. It can be physical, emotional, sexual and/or financial, etc., and can be used in an effort to intimidate, manipulate, injure and/or harm another person.

Anyone can be subjected to domestic violence. Anyone can be a perpetrator. Therefore, if you’re reading this, and you, a loved one, a neighbour, or a friend, etc., is experiencing any sort of coercive, degrading, violent behaviour in their relationship, can I urge you to please, please, be brave, and take the first step towards getting yourself/them some help.

Remember, the law is on your side and there are confidential, local support services available. Contact the Women’s Aid 24-hour national freephone helpline on 1800 341 900 for help and advice, and if you believe you’re in immediate danger, dial 999.