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Archive for the ‘women in media’ Category

The SMH is at it again.

This is what I’m getting at:SMH front page clip showing an article about eliminating bingo wings (for women) in the Life & Style sectionSMH front page clip showing an article about eliminating bingo wings (for women) in the Life & Style section
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Guardian headline: “Student becomes new police chief in Mexican town”

SMH headline: “Just 20, young mother becomes Mexican top cop”

The articles themselves are fairly comparable. The Guardian article leads with “She is a petite 20-year-old college student who paints her nails pink, has an infant son and believes in non-violence” – as if those are what matters to the appointment! It then mentions (in the third para) that she is a criminology student (ie something that suggests some relevant qualification), and the fifth para is this:

The town’s mayor, Jose Luis Guerrero, said she was the most qualified of a handful of applicants for a job, which in many parts of Mexico is considered tantamount to a death sentence.
[my emphasis]

I’m not terribly happy about the article’s treatment of this issue:

The appointment has upset some traditionalists – bloggers have asked if there are no men in the state of Chihuahua

I would have been happier had they made it clear that traditionalist clearly equals misogynist, since the suggestion seems to be that any man could do a better job than this specific woman. But look, I agree that appointing a 20 year old student (even if she is a criminology student) does raise some questions, and overall, the Guardian article appears to be a fairly objective treatment of the story.

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Actual headline in the SMH: “Security breached as former prostitute pilfers Einfeld police transcript”.

Actual story: a woman who “worked as a typist at APT Transcriptions, a company with lucrative contracts with the police and justice departments and the Independent Commission Against Corruption” found and accessed transcripts of police interviews which had been typed by the company before she was hired by them.

Actual relevance of the woman’s history as a sex worker: nil.

And I thought broadsheets didn’t go in for sensationalism? /sarcasm

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I saw the headline for this article, that headline being “Naomi Watts is world’s most profitable actress” and thought: “Hmmm. ‘Profitable’ is usually used to describe to a thing, an object, a commodity. Fuck.” Then I thought: “Please tell me that’s just the sub-editor, and that the article is actually about women AND men, because it’s bad enough treating people as commodities in the first place, but…”

And then I clicked through to the article and found that no, it’s just about how much money can be made through the commodification of women in films. Nothing about male actors.

The assumption I immediately made was that someone has clearly realised – even if subconsciously – that it would be demeaning to men to treat them in this way, as commodities.

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I noticed the SMH review for Observe & Report was up, with a hook line about the reviewer wanting to “vomit on his shoes”. Figuring that meant he didn’t like it, I was curious to see whether he’d picked up the problems it has from a feminist point of view (for which, see Sady: Um., Observe & Report: On Real Rape, I Lost It at the Movies and Important Announcement) or whether he just thought it was a bad movie.

Probably as I should have expected: more the latter than the former.

The review itself doesn’t show all that much sensitivity to anyone.

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From the headline of Paul Sheehan’s latest column – “I married an Ascham bully” – I just knew, just knew there was going to be something in there minimising the harm done by bullying.

Yes, well. Just like there’s a reason I don’t usually read Andrew Bolt, there’s a reason I don’t usually read Paul Sheehan.

First of all, for those non-Sydney-siders amongst you: Ascham is an elite private girls’ school. It’s located in Sydney’s eastern suburbs, has a reputation for being academic (ie students perform well in tests), and is generally considered to be one of the most (if not the most) exclusive girls’ schools in Sydney.

Sheehan’s column is about the recent expulsion of two year nine girls (so they’d be approximately 14-15 years old) because of a course of bullying carried out through MySpace. Sheehan quotes the school’s principal (who he calls the “headmistress”), Louise Robert-Smith, as calling the behaviour for which the girls have been expelled a “serious incident of cyber-bullying”.

Sheehan also says that a mother of a girl who left the school years ago because of bullying-by-text-message has come forward about that, apparently as a direct result of the news of the recent expulsion.

So far, so “good on Ascham for taking action”. Right? Right?

Or maybe not, according to Paul Sheehan.

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I was going to write a warm fuzzy post about what a wonderful milestone it is to have, for the first time in Australia, a woman elected Premier of a state (yes, we have had female Premiers before, but apparently none of them have won elections as leaders).

That was a fact I didn’t know until I read the first couple of paragraphs of this article. Which are actually really lovely, so I’m going to extract them here just so that I can smile about them again:

ANNA BLIGH recalls that when growing up on the Gold Coast in the 1970s, choices available to young women were pretty limited. “The prospect that one day I would be premier of Queensland was not even a distant possibility,” she said.

But that prospect became a reality at the weekend when Ms Bligh made history as the first woman in Australia to be elected premier. The Labor leader’s victory – which defied the polls – is a symbol of the state’s transformation.

However. (more…)

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