Women in the News

Feminist media critique for the digital age.

Huffington Post’s front page gender breakdown for March 27, 2013.

Gloria Steinem on what television shows meet her approval.

From Buzzfeed:

"I think the worst are the ‘Housewives’ shows, because they present women as rich, pampered, dependent and hateful towards each other," the feminist icon said at Simmons College in Boston on Friday, 40 years after the school honored her with a doctorate in human justice.

But Steinem said “there are things less bad than other things” on TV these days. She enjoys musical variety shows because “at least they show a variety of people,” and likes the direction in which Lena Dunham’s HBO series is going.

"I only saw the first couple episodes of Girls, so I can’t speak to all of it, but I think it was much more realistic as to how girls look and dress and talk, and that all sex is not wonderful," Steinem said. "Some of it is silly and boring. It felt much more realistic to me."

While I’m no big defender of the Real Housewives dynasty, I remember reading an article a few years ago about the surprising number of successful, working women who watch those shows. In fact, my own mother, who is a doctor and a CEO is glued to them. I’d never make the argument that the way they portray women is positive, but those shows also don’t present themselves as speaking for an entire generation or, for that matter, women in general.

Girls, on the other hand, has been touted as the defining show about women in my generation. Which apparently means that all the women in my generation are white and live in one of the most diverse cities in the world without every having to interact with anyone who isn’t (except Donald Glover that one time). While I’m certain that Girls holds some accuracy for a particular demographic, to tout it as a “feminist triumph” is to erase and ignore the majority of women - the ones who aren’t white and don’t come from upper-middle class backgrounds.

I’m not surprised to see this particular brand of White Lady Feminism™ coming from Gloria Steinem, but I am disappointed that the media is continuing to give her credence when it’s clear that her feminism is exclusive and outdated. It’s time for new voices in feminism, and it’s time for those voices to come from Women of Color.

Huffington Post’s front page gender breakdown for March 26, 2013.

Huffington Post’s front page gender breakdown for March 25, 2013.

Nerds: Stop hating women, please

From The New Statesman:

Tony Harris is in no way a household name. But as the artist behind some of the most critically acclaimed comics in the last 20 years, noteably Starman with James Robinson for DC and Ex Machina with Brian K. Vaughan for Wildstorm, he was a hugely respected figure in the industry.

“Was”.

Today, Harris posted a rant on his Facebook wall, which was re-posted to Tumblr by Jill Pantozzi, the associate editor of The Mary Sue, a site dedicated to “girl geek culture”. Harris writes (and I’ve not edited this in any way):

I cant remember if Ive said this before, but Im gonna say it anyway. I dont give a crap.I appreciate a pretty Gal as much as the next Hetero Male. Sometimes I even go in for some racy type stuff ( keeping the comments PG for my Ladies sake) but dammit, dammit, dammit I am so sick and tired of the whole COSPLAY-Chiks. I know a few who are actually pretty cool-and BIG Shocker, love and read Comics.So as in all things, they are the exception to the rule. Heres the statement I wanna make, based on THE RULE: “Hey! Quasi-Pretty-NOT-Hot-Girl, you are more pathetic than the REAL Nerds, who YOU secretly think are REALLY PATHETIC. But we are onto you.

(read more)

The HuffPo Index: March 18-22, 2013

(Every weekday I take screenshots of all the articles I see on the front page of the US version of the Huffington Post that deal specifically with either men or women. Keep in mind that the front page changes throughout the day and is different in different countries. As such, these numbers are not comprehensive.)

Monday - Tuesday - Wednesday- Thursday - Friday

Headlines about men:

  • 61

Headlines about women:

  • 34

Headlines focusing on mens’ appearance:

  • 1 (1.6%)

Headlines focusing on womens’ appearance:

  • 11 (32.4%)

Headlines about Men of Color:

  • 15 (24.6%)

Headlines about Women of Color:

  • 1 (2.9%)

Headlines about men with disabilities:

  • 1 (1.6%)

Headlines about women with disabilities:

  • 1 (2.9%)

Headlines about LGBTQ+ men:

  • 0 (0%)

Headlines about LGBTQ+ women:

  • 0 (0%)

Headlines about male politicians:

  • 27 (44.3%)

Headlines about female politicians:

  • 7 (20.6%)

Headlines about male celebrities:

  • 7 (11.5%)

Headlines about female celebrities:

  • 14 (41.2%)

Headlines with or about revealing photographs of men:

  • 0 (0%)

Headlines with or about revealing photographs of women:

  •  8 (23.5%)

Huffington Post’s front page gender breakdown for March 22, 2013

Of the top ten most popular podcasts on iTunes as of March 21, 2013, only one (NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross) is hosted by a woman. 

Of the top ten most popular podcasts on iTunes as of March 21, 2013, only one (NPR’s Fresh Air with Terry Gross) is hosted by a woman. 

Huffington Post’s front page gender breakdown for March 21, 2013.

Huffington Post’s front page gender breakdown for March 20, 2013.