Monday, November 8, 2010

Awards for Most Sexist Media Coverage

First, consider these statistics:

*Women are 50% less likely than men to seriously consider running for office.

*Women are 33% less likely to view themselves as qualified to run for office.

*Out of the 13,000 members of Congress in our history, only 2% have been women.

*Only 31 women have ever served as Governor, as compared with 2,317 men.

Name It. Change It. is seeking to change these statistics.  Naming sexist media coverage is the first step to Changing sexist coverage.

Here at Name It. Change It. we’re sick of hearing more about what women wear than what they stand for – it’s a tired, sexist trope that we see repeated over and over. Yet the Boston Herald took it to new level when reporter Jill Radsken consulted stylists to analyze Green Party gubernatorial candidate Jill Stein’s fashion sense. The title of the article: “She’s a great candidate…for a makeover!” One stylist suggested her hair looked like, “a Brillo pad that’s seen better days,” while another cycled through a list of complaints about her clothes. Nothing about her policy positions. Nothing about her qualifications. Just that she dresses “earthy crunchy’’ and her hair is an, “unmitigated mop.”
The Boston Herald is not alone:
Columnist Ned Cantwell penned a piece for the Los Alamos Monitor about the New Mexico gubernatorial race between Democratic candidate Diane Denish and Republican candidate Susana Martinez....Cantwell can't seem to wrap his head around two female candidates challenging one another's positions, terming that behavior "bitch-slapping." Mudslinging, when done by women, conjured up for Cantwell images of "mud wrestling" instead. “So far these ladies have displayed such lack of class we’re beginning to think, ‘strip down and get ‘er on, gals’,” he added. Sexualizing women candidates and slurring them as aggressive or bitchy for behavior that's termed normal for male candidates is one of the reasons fewer women run for and win political office.
Remember the statistics on Op-Ed pieces (80% penned by men)?

And it's related, indeed, that women are 50% less likely than men to run for office.  Because who wants to step into politics, only to have the lens turned onto her fashion sense?  Or her breast size?

When, oh when, do we dismiss men in politics by immediately ignoring their content and instead go straight to their packaging?
"He's a great candidate...for hair plugs!"

If my friend is right that pretty much "everyone in government is freaking hideous" can we just move on?
Well, I guess we just have to keep naming it then, and working for change.
If you notice your local or national news coverage losing focus and paying more attention to a woman's suit color or hair texture than her stance on The Issues, feel free to name it here.  Call it your good deed for the day.

1 comment:

  1. I can't tell you how many times I've thought of that comment about everyone in government being "freakin' hideous" - so true, and really cuts to the heart of the matter of the double standard for women.