Thursday, June 28, 2012

Girl Talk

So this graphic and study have been making the rounds for awhile now, and I've been meaning to talk about them.
It's sort of a no-brainer: women are not represented on TV in anywhere near equal numbers, and they are not anywhere near as prevalent as men in print, either.

Here's one more study and one more graphic to add to the evidence:

This becomes a bit of an extension of the "Can Women Have It All" question, because why are women not on TV and in print as often?  Is it because they take time off to have kids?  Is it because their careers progress more slowly?  Is it because television newspaper companies have an undercover Smurfette rule?  Is it because women on TV are expected to be very attractive and fairly young, thereby limiting the pool of potential candidates?  (Men on TV, conversely, don't seem to be expected to be all that attractive or all that young.)

This lack of women's voices does lead to a slant in coverage: there have been a few good examples over the last year of press coverage that missed the boat on an issue pertaining to women - that then became hotly discussed on social media or in real life... with pundits bringing up the seemingly confused rear, unsure of why this was happening:

  • The Debate Over Contraceptives, particularly over the contraceptive coverage mandate put forth by the Obama Administration, which pundits started out discussing purely as a religious freedom issue...

  • ...But then a few women like Rachel Maddow (unlike Peggy Noonan - who apparently missed the non-religious angle on this one) started explaining the other side of the issue:

  • The Debacle at Komen over their pretty clearly political decision to defund preventative screening services through Planned Parenthood (which is still reverberating).  The timeline I included there doesn't explain how women on social media blew up over this, while the news was doing not much on it.  That's because a lot of women connect through social media, and many women were seriously angry - but they didn't have the outlet of hearing their concerns voiced in the media right away.

  • The Mommy War - Hillary Rosen said Ann Romney hadn't worked a day in her life.  She meant for pay.  She didn't say that.  It blew up, as things that touch on motherhood and work generally do these days.  But the faux outrage from male politicians on either side felt very exploitative, and not very in touch with what women really think.  

  • The War on Women - R politicians have nobody but themselves to blame for the creation of this title, but the picture that outraged so many people about a hearing on birth control with no women present was mirrored time and again in newsrooms and chat shows in which a bunch of men gathered to discuss women's rights.  

So on this topic, I have a question for you:

Who is your favorite female voice in media? (you can pick more than one)

Do you wish there were more?  Did I miss an important voice in the poll?


  1. Robin Meade is pretty hot!

  2. Yep, that's the spirit of hearing women's voices. Good job.