LIFESTYLE

This Colleen McCullough Obituary Proves Women Are Never Free From Sexism, Even In Death

30/01/2015 11:55 GMT | Updated 30/01/2015 12:59 GMT

The internationally-acclaimed Australian author Colleen McCullough has passed away aged 77.

Best known for her second novel 'The Thorn Birds', which sold 30 million copies and earned the author a record-breaking $1.9 million, McCullough was also a neuroscientist and has been described as a 'national treasure'.

But, as news of her death saddened literary fans across the world, one newspaper chose not to lead with her skill as a writer... but to focus on her appearance.

"COLLEEN McCullough, Australia’s best-selling author, was a charmer," began The Australian's obit.

"Plain of feature, and certainly overweight, she was, nevertheless, a woman of wit and warmth," it continued. "In one interview, she said: 'I’ve never been into clothes or figure and the interesting thing is I never had any trouble attracting men.'”

Translation (in case you needed one): "McCullough may have been fat, but she was still good company - even men fancied her. Imagine that."

colleen mccullough

Quite rightly Twitter has exploded in outrage. Why, users ask, is a woman's worth only measurable in terms of appearance and attractiveness to men?

Such is the tide of fury against the article, that Twitter users have taken to mock the paper by pre-empting their own obituaries in The Australian's style.

Of course, it isn't just appearance that scores ladies points on the obit-o-meter.

In 2013, The New York Times was forced to back track after an obituary for rocket scientist Yvonne Brill began with an ode to her culinary skills.

"She made a mean beef stroganoff, followed her husband from job to job and took eight years off from work to raise three children."

It then goes on to describe the late 88-year-old as a "brilliant rocket scientist" (which later became the lead in the online version of the obituary, it was too late to change the print version).

It seems women are never free of sexism, even in death.

What are your thoughts on the issue? Let us know in the comments below.