Where are the Women?
December 14, 2001 6:26 AM   Subscribe

Where are the Women? The western media has seen an uncharacteristic deficiency of women's voices in the wake of September's events. Can this be attributed to a "war time" atmosphere? It's certainly not due to a lack of women whose lives have been effected.
posted by Fenriss (17 comments total)
bitch, bitch, bitch...
posted by techgnollogic at 6:51 AM on December 14, 2001

Excellent read.

My gut reaction before reading it was, "Well, that may be because women don't support the war as much" - accounting for the usual "sweeping generalization" clause. I was pleased to see the article offer a similar viewpoint, but disturbed that this situation exists at all.
posted by hijinx at 6:56 AM on December 14, 2001

From Lynch's Guide to Grammar:

Affect versus Effect.

Affect with an a is usually a verb; effect with an e is (usually) a noun. When you affect something, you have an effect on it. The usual adjective is effective.

If the usuals leave you curious, here's the rest of the story: affective as an adjective means "relating to or arousing an emotional reaction"; effect as a verb means "to bring about" or "to accomplish," as in "to effect a change."
posted by Irontom at 7:01 AM on December 14, 2001

You beat me to it, Irontom. Us pedantic's have to stick together.
posted by Mocata at 7:06 AM on December 14, 2001

This is ridiculous, politically correct crap.

NBC's "Meet the Press" executive producer Nancy Nathan told me that her largely female audience would be "insulted" is she were to "try to manipulate" the news to bring on women, rather than just "delivering newsmakers."

Good for Nancy Nathan. She's right.

So, there are "newsmakers," and then there are women? Who knew they were mutually exclusive?

I am so not in sympathy with this writer. Of course they are not mutually exclusive. That doesn't mean that half, or close to half, or a smidgen microscopic percentage of newsmakers should be women, or men, or Jews, or Catholics, or little girls from Ipanema. What matters is who the show's producers think are the guests that the audience would be most interested in.

I've yet to hear one good reason why the Rev. Jerry Falwell got six chances to spread his anti-feminist, anti-gay gospel on these shows, and NAACP President Kweisi Mfume was able to advocate for civil rights on five occasions - yet Feminist Majority President Ellie Smeal and Human Rights Campaign President Elizabeth Birch, both fiery guests, appeared once each.

I really don't think this was because of some conspiracy to repress female voices. It was because of a conspiracy to repress voices against the war. Which is bad, but let's be honest about what's really going on.

In fact, if women really are statistically more against the war than men, that's probably one reason why they haven't been in the media as much. Not because they're women.

According to a survey I conducted for the media watch group FAIR, women wrote only 8 percent of bylined opeds...

Oh, a survey SHE conducted! That's journalistic integrity for you! Quote your own surveys! Not to mention...

I've yet to hear one good reason why the Rev. Jerry Falwell got six chances

So, she has yet to hear one good reason, and that's somehow a factor. She's talking about multiple shows on multiple networks. Maybe this is because the only person she has apparently asked is the female producer from Fox, who disagreed with her. In what dense networks of information has she been dwelling, waiting to hear this one good reason?

More importantly, why does this brain-damaged woman have a job at a newspaper, instead of selling Skittles on the street like she should be?
posted by bingo at 7:24 AM on December 14, 2001

You know, I thought twice about which effect/affect to use. I could never get that straight, despite being the child of an English teacher. Thanks for the lesson, guys.

Bingo: I'm not really sure that women are opposed to the war. Not in large numbers, anyway. Speaking as a women who is greatly inclined to prefer peaceful solutions to conflicts, I can't say even I am very much opposed to it.

And if you think that a representative proportions of women's voices isn't important, that's your look out. But I think the scathing insults your spewing don't do much to advance your position.
posted by Fenriss at 7:41 AM on December 14, 2001

Some of the most touching portrayals [NYT link] of women in the media certainly seem to reflect traditional wartime stereotypes.
posted by kilroy at 8:32 AM on December 14, 2001

Want a man's view? Read the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz on "The All-Boy Network: Public Affairs Shows Reflect Shortage of Women in Power."
posted by Carol Anne at 9:53 AM on December 14, 2001

bingo: a conspiracy to suppress voices against the war

You're writing funny satire, right?

In any event, this is complete horseshit. Look, for example, at the "Brigade of Bellicose Women" identified by warblogger/journalist Glenn Reynolds, who are represented just as often as they contribute -- from On the Third Hand to Inappropriate Response to Natalie Solent to Emanuelle Richards to libertarian "dynamist" author Virginia Postrel, there's no discrimination or predetermined gender roles that I can see.

There's probably some truth to this article if Pelosi and Feinstein aren't getting called -- or maybe they have lousy publicists. Who knows?

I think it just depends on where you look. This seems to be TV's problem more than it's society's.
posted by dhartung at 10:01 AM on December 14, 2001

Well, Fenriss, it's about time! Needed and worthy post: keep it up.
posted by y2karl at 10:01 AM on December 14, 2001

Carole Anne: Thanks! I was about to add that Post article, but you beat me to it.

y2Karl: I might not have done it without you!
posted by Fenriss at 10:12 AM on December 14, 2001

i think these numbers only reflect society. fewer women in positions of power. Less power, fewer soundbites.

so, no, not TV's problem. Not a conspiracy, just tv getting a certain % of people who have level X of power to appear.
posted by th3ph17 at 10:47 AM on December 14, 2001

Fenriss: I think everyone has a right to free speech. But no, I certainly don't think that news show producers are, or ought to be, obligated to make their guests' gender, race, hair color, or any other characteristics reflective of the representation of that characteristic in the general population. It just may be that Marty Ryan chose her guests on the basis of characteristics other than gender. She has the right to do that. To suggest that producers are somehow obligated to make a certain percentage of their guests on any given show female, is to suggest that a) women, unlike men, need institutionalized help to end up on television, acting like experts, because they can't do it on their own, and b) TV producers can, and should, make gender a serious issue when deciding who to have on their shows. I don't like either one of those ideas. Do you?

As far as the "scathing insults [I'm] spewing," it's not like I called her a poop-head and took my ball back. The author of the article, Jennifer Pozner, is the one spewing something vile. Her argument really doesn't make sense, and she is clearly below average intelligence. Fortunately, I am acquainted with many brilliant and articulate women. Otherwise, I would be awfully tempted to see Pozner's poorly researched and written invective as an argument against itself, and against the presence of women in the media in general.
posted by bingo at 12:58 PM on December 14, 2001

Mocata, I think you meant We pedantics.
posted by theora55 at 2:28 PM on December 14, 2001

You know, I thought twice about which effect/affect to use. I could never get that straight, despite being the child of an English teacher. Thanks for the lesson, guys.

Nice to see someone accept a minor correction with class for a change, rather than start ranting about unfair persecution by the petty, anal MeFi Police - Language Squad!
posted by rushmc at 2:48 PM on December 14, 2001

Actually, it's we pedants.
posted by bingo at 2:49 PM on December 14, 2001

y2Karl: I might not have done it without you!

mantra mantra mantra!
posted by y2karl at 11:48 PM on December 14, 2001

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