acting Coffs Harbour Mayor Tegan Swan. 27 MAY 2019
acting Coffs Harbour Mayor Tegan Swan. 27 MAY 2019 TREVOR VEALE

Councillor hits back over 'nasty, sexist' attack

A FEMALE councillor has hit back after a nasty attack on social media in which she was told to wear 'something nicer or buy a mirror'.

Acting Coffs Harbour Mayor Tegan Swan was photographed welcoming guests to a Cancer Council fundraising morning tea at council chambers.

The image was shared on council's official Facebook page with Eddie Demetri posting the offensive comment.

The comment was widely condemned with Ann Eva calling it out as: 'nasty, sexist, and very un-Christian'.

Cr Swan was first alerted to it by her mother and was unsure if she should respond.

At the time she was on a family weekend away to celebrate her husband's birthday.

"If I let it play on my mind it would have wrecked my whole weekend and that's not fair on my family."

On her return she tossed up her options.

"I knew if I did decide to respond I was giving it more oxygen so I had to weigh it up. Do I want to use my voice for good, but potentially embarrass myself further and have more people see an unflattering photo of me, and perhaps more people who have that same mind set to further fuel it.

"So I had two options - one was to ignore it and the other was to say hang on this is not on."

Tegan's full response:

Well Eddie Demetri it's definitely not my best outfit choice I'll give you that and to be honest probably not going to wear those pants again.

Did I look in the mirror? Yeah I glanced at it in the 5 mins I had to get ready, I thought I looked ok, because besides being the acting mayor, I also have 3 kids and work full time so the perfect outfit doesn't really place high on my priority list (and luckily it has nothing to do with my ability to do important things)

I care more about how I can help other people and what I can do for my community than spending hours looking in the mirror.

But while we're speaking of mirrors it's probably an opportune time for you to take a good look in one and decide if publicly shaming people on outfit choices is something you're proud of.

I really encourage you to think about making a positive impact instead of adding to the endless, pointless, negativity that unfortunately exists far too often.

I promise if you use your voice and time for good, not only will you make people feel better, but you'll also feel pretty damn good about yourself too and that is definitely something to be proud of.

Cr Swan says it's the first time somebody has made such a personal comment.

"I've had people criticise me for what I might think about a certain issue, but never on something so random and irrelevant as my outfit. It's 2019, surely we've moved past that."

She says she feels sorry for Eddie Demetri who was probably just making the comment to feel better about himself.

"But that doesn't mean it wasn't hurtful or embarrassing."

Since the incident she has received phone calls and messages of support.

"That's the nicest thing about it. It's made me feel special to see so many people - close friends and people I didn't know - comment in my defence to step up and say no it's not on.

"People have even stopped me in the street to say this kind of thing is not on."



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