Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sexism Sells

Via Feministing: the Women's Media Center has launched a campaign to publicize the absolutely unacceptable blatant sexism in mainstream media. I don't take a stand for one Democratic candidate or the other--but regardless of which you support, this attitude is beyond the pale.

You can sign a petition here.




5 comments:

Khadimir said...

This reminds me of a conversation that I had today with a friend of mine. I asked her, teasingly for she always declines, when she will join our co-ed soccer league. She said "when the men stop making comments about female players" (paraphrase). Sadly, I only had to offer that the outspoken chauvinist of my team was no longer on the team ... but she said that knowing that it would never happen.

David, himself said...

Interesting, for 2 reasons: First, There is an assumption that a reader is going to vote Democratic. That is delightful! But, shucks: nobody seems to care about libertarians and socialists and (most important) anarchists. Second (and here the author lights a flame), the video of sexist comments was interesting, but it is not clear to me that such comments are the sorts of sexist comments which ought to be marked out as being especially to be regretted or shamed. That is to say, I'm not sure I understand the complaint. Such comments might contribute nothing to a discussion of political ideas; it may be a waste of time to talk about what someone (male or female) is wearing, or how good they look. Doesn't that depend on the purpose of the program? And is not entertainment the purpose of most TV shows (even when they are dealing with what some people think ought to be treated only as very serious subjects)? Surely no reasonable person watches Hardball for anything other than its entertainment value? Here's a variation on that: Take a look at the Science Channel (and Discovery Channel), and you will see very important subjects in science and technology treated as what I can only describe as not very mindful entertainment, probably for pre-teens with IQs below 100 who cannot in any case attend to a sentence or a picture if it demands more wit and patience than reading a text message on their cell phone. But for my money, science is far more important than politics (even though over the years the government has taken most of my money). In my opinion almost all talk about -- and with -- politicians is a waste of time. But if I had to chose, I'd rather talk about politicians' clothes and good looks than their political ideas. (OK. Flame off.)

David, himself (again) said...

Also -- the third of my two points -- if we accept that all politicians are liars (perhaps that is analytic), and that most of them are tyrants to boot, then to talk about and with people qua politicians is to treat them as liars and tyrants, which is a very ungenerous way to deal with people unless there is no other reasonable way to treat them. Whereas to talk about a person's cleavage (or foot size or beauty, etc.) is to treat them as sexual beings and hence as real human beings, which is, I should think, a very nice way to treat persons. So I think we'd all be better off if there were more sexist comments, not fewer.

KateNorlock said...

Interesting that david, himself doesn't see the nature of the complaint, although maybe any complaint is moot if no reasonable person is watching the source! Given the ratings of the many news programs featured in that Media Center montage, however, it's a safe bet that at least some reasonable people are watching. If readers share the puzzlement, I recommend seeking other sources that have discussed the content of their complaints in more detail: see Peggy Orenstein's related column (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/05/18/magazine/18wwln-lede-t.html?_r=2&scp=1&sq=orenstein&st=nyt&oref=slogin&oref=slogin) or the Feminist Philosophers blog which has devoted several threads to the sexist coverage of Sen. Clinton.

Count me among those who, after all these months of the bizarre news coverage of the Clinton campaign, does not think we'll be better off with *more* sexist comments -- I've definitely had enough!

KateNorlock said...

Ach, I should've known pasting a link into my last comment wouldn't work. Sorry, gang: my reference was to Orenstein's article, "The Hillary Lesson," in the NYT Magazine on May 18.