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Author Topic: Treatment of female journalists  (Read 776 times)

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Offline CaehlimTopic starter

Treatment of female journalists
« on: November 15, 2014, 05:25:30 PM »
An Australian daily show presenter performed an experiment in order to highlight the different way male and female journalists are treated.

http://www.theage.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/karl-stefanovics-sexism-experiment-today-presenter-wears-same-suit-for-a-year-20141115-11ncdz.html#ixzz3J6iBJtNX

Quote
Angered by the sexism he saw being heaped upon his female colleagues and attempts to downplay it Karl Stefanovic decided to conduct an experiment.

He wore the same blue suit on air, two days in a row. Then three. A month ticked by without a ripple.

Now, a full year has passed and he is still wearing the same cheap Burberry knock-off, every morning, on Channel Nine's Today program.

Not a single audience member has asked about it, he says. Fashion commentators and other media also seem oblivious.

Yet co-host Lisa Wilkinson still receives regular and unsolicited fashion appraisals, as she revealed in her well-received Andrew Olle lecture last year. ("Who the heck is Lisa's stylist?" one emailer demanded to know. "Today's outfit is particularly jarring and awful. Get some style.") These same viewers, however, have failed to observe or simply don't care that the man beside her happily slips on the same outfit, day after day.

"No one has noticed; no one gives a shit," Stefanovic tells Fairfax Media. "But women, they wear the wrong colour and they get pulled up. They say the wrong thing and there's thousands of tweets written about them.

"Women are judged much more harshly and keenly for what they do, what they say and what they wear."

His frustration at this, he says, sparked his experiment. 

"I've worn the same suit on air for a year except for a couple of times because of circumstance to make a point.

"I'm judged on my interviews, my appalling sense of humour on how I do my job, basically. Whereas women are quite often judged on what they're wearing or how their hair is ... that's [what I wanted to test]."

Stefanovic is a close friend of Samantha Armytage, co-host of rival breakfast program Sunrise.

Earlier this year, News Corp tabloid The Daily Telegraph dredged up old photographs of Armytage running errands in comfortable clothes, then published them because ... well, the purpose of the story was never entirely clear.

"She's a mate and she was hurt by that," Stefanovic says, shaking his head. "And I can understand. You've got to have a thick skin in TV but there's a limit."

He immediately offered Armytage his support, ignoring their professional rivalry.

"I don't care who they are," he says. "It's a friend's duty to be there to try and ease the pain."

He adds that while his eight-year on-air partnership with Wilkinson has had its ups and downs, their bond is now stronger than ever.

"What Lisa has done for women, in magazines and in television ... she's a great journo," he says.

"We've had an amazing and enduring partnership. We've loved each other, we've hated each other and we've loved each other again. You have your ups and downs but I think that's normal!

"It just so happens that our problems were vented in public. I don't care what anyone says out there: Lisa and my relationship is special and we love each other to death."

There's one thing that's straining the friendship, though.

"Only Lisa and [Today team member Sylvia Jeffreys] know about the suit. They often remark that it's getting a bit stinky. I'm hoping to get it into the dry cleaners at the end of the year."

Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/tv-and-radio/karl-stefanovics-sexism-experiment-today-presenter-wears-same-suit-for-a-year-20141115-11ncdz.html#ixzz3JBNnzVTP

What do people think about this issue?

Offline Kythia

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Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2014, 05:41:57 PM »
I was just reading about that, funnily enough.

My main thought was that calling newsreaders "journalists" was jarring, but I recognise that may well be not the point.


Offline CaehlimTopic starter

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2014, 05:49:36 PM »
My main thought was that calling newsreaders "journalists" was jarring, but I recognise that may well be not the point.

Yeah probably a bad choice of words.

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Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2014, 06:24:38 PM »
We see men wearing suits on television and think nothing of it unless the colors or fit are particularly bad.  I don't pay much attention to what women wear, though I've lately taken notice of the fact that the sleeveless, round-necked dress that is tailored to the body is more common.  I usually only find things jarring when they are something I don't like for myself.

I find it offensive that people who aren't paying anything for what they watch have the never to critique it.

Most fashion commentary I've seen on the internet from - from not about - so-called professional journalists leaves a lot to be desired and is often pretty crass.

Offline Sethala

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2014, 09:27:05 PM »
The sarcastic side of me thinks "He should try wearing this guy's shirt for a year on air and see what kind of harassment he gets."

On to a more serious note though, there's nothing special about a guy wearing a suit, or a guy wearing the same suit over and over again.  It's kind of normal, especially for a TV personality like that.  Part of me also thinks that people think men have very little sense of fashion to begin with, so as long as they don't wear something outlandish, it's easily ignored.  So, the fact that he gets no comments about wearing the same suit over and over again is a non-issue to me.

The comments his co-host gets are a bit more offensive, but I'd kind of like to see what she wears, how often she wears something different, and so on, for a better comparison.

Offline CaehlimTopic starter

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2014, 10:32:02 PM »
On to a more serious note though, there's nothing special about a guy wearing a suit, or a guy wearing the same suit over and over again.  It's kind of normal, especially for a TV personality like that.

Which he has quite thoroughly proven now.

Quote
So, the fact that he gets no comments about wearing the same suit over and over again is a non-issue to me.

Exactly. Men's clothing is a non-issue, so why is women's clothing an issue?

Quote
The comments his co-host gets are a bit more offensive, but I'd kind of like to see what she wears, how often she wears something different, and so on, for a better comparison.

Sure. Lisa Wilkinson is a female TV presenter, so she wears different clothes every single day.

Here is a sampling of her different clothes. I think it's fairly representative of the style of clothing that she wears while on the air.

http://resources1.news.com.au/images/2014/09/29/1227073/732913-7484f3c6-4535-11e4-8ff2-fe0ffc289a61.jpg
http://www.speakerbureau.com.au/wsc_content/plugins/speakers/photo/original/speaker_771.gif
http://cdn.mamamia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/lisa-wilkinson.jpg
http://forums.auscelebs.net/acnet-images/21627/lisa-wilkinson-206527.jpg
http://images.monocle.com/1/0/800/uploads/image/gallery/channel-9-048-517549546b64e.jpg
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/03/31/article-2592960-1CB4E5B500000578-716_634x355.jpg

This is an issue I can comment on from personal experience, it's one of the reasons I chose to share this article. The call centre that I used to work for had the contract to answer the after-hours comment line for one of the news outfits here (different channel though). Without fail, every night we would receive call after call from male callers commenting on the personal appearance of the female news anchor. Never the male anchors. Everything from their hair, wardrobe and makeup received continual comment. It was creepy as hell to listen to and type in their comments into the computer. That was one of the clients I most hated taking calls for, (the one I hated most was the televangelist order line, but that's another story).

Offline Shjade

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2014, 01:22:29 AM »
On to a more serious note though, there's nothing special about a guy wearing a suit, or a guy wearing the same suit over and over again.  It's kind of normal, especially for a TV personality like that.  Part of me also thinks that people think men have very little sense of fashion to begin with, so as long as they don't wear something outlandish, it's easily ignored.  So, the fact that he gets no comments about wearing the same suit over and over again is a non-issue to me.

Thanks for demonstrating the point of the article...?

Regarding the whole Matt Taylor thing: I don't even know what the fuck. It seems like a massive overreaction to me, but I really can't tell what the hell is going on there one way or the other. Don't know enough about it to comment much. As it pertains to this topic, however? Comparing an isolated, single-appearance incident to a year of consistent behavior? Sounds legit. >.>

Online Cassandra LeMay

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2014, 01:35:49 AM »
I wonder if it's got something to do with age and / or position when it comes to women.

Just look at Angela Merkel. Different colours now and then, maybe a little variation in cuts, but in essence the same style over and over and over again. Yet I doubt there are many people out there commenting on her style.

Offline CaehlimTopic starter

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2014, 02:15:11 AM »
I wonder if it's got something to do with age and / or position when it comes to women.

Just look at Angela Merkel. Different colours now and then, maybe a little variation in cuts, but in essence the same style over and over and over again. Yet I doubt there are many people out there commenting on her style.

Unfortunately no, this doesn't even stop for older women.

Forbes magazine, Slate, Le Journal International, Vogue, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Daily Mail, Business Insider, BBC and Spiegel have all commented on Angela Merkel's fashion sense.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2014, 02:16:20 AM by Caehlim »

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2014, 06:18:45 AM »
I vaguely remember somebody pointing out that even top-rate actresses, female film directors and film company bosses (or the wives of the bigshot guys) are not necessarily happy with doing a catwalk job in front of the cameras at the Oscars and big film festivals, and knowing their dresses, shoes, posture and hairdos will get scrutinized, nitpicked or captioned around the world. After all they are there as professionals to celebrate acting and film-making, not for modelling dresses and jewellery. But we're all taking it for granted that the red carpet emphasis has to be a major part of the fun of the night, so we lose sight of the fact that even a movie star - or the wife or daughter of a star actor or director - might not like to have to play the catwalk game on camera on all those occasions. (Yes, Hollywood was always about glamour but the red carpet arrival thing hasn't always been as heavy in the coverage as it is these days).

Offline alextaylor

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2014, 09:55:06 AM »
Here is a sampling of her different clothes. I think it's fairly representative of the style of clothing that she wears while on the air.

http://resources1.news.com.au/images/2014/09/29/1227073/732913-7484f3c6-4535-11e4-8ff2-fe0ffc289a61.jpg
http://www.speakerbureau.com.au/wsc_content/plugins/speakers/photo/original/speaker_771.gif
http://cdn.mamamia.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/lisa-wilkinson.jpg
http://forums.auscelebs.net/acnet-images/21627/lisa-wilkinson-206527.jpg
http://images.monocle.com/1/0/800/uploads/image/gallery/channel-9-048-517549546b64e.jpg
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2014/03/31/article-2592960-1CB4E5B500000578-716_634x355.jpg

Ah, I see the problem.

Men often pick the best suit money can buy and wear the same thing all the time. The fashionable go through a lot of effort to try to pick the very best and stick with it.

Women pick different clothes for different situations. Wearing the same thing, no matter how pretty, is unfashionable. So there's naturally a lot of variation. Some clothes are great, some are awful. And women are under pressure (sometimes internal pressure) to change their clothes constantly. When they run out of good choices for clothes, they start picking the poor choices.

It's not that women are judged more than men. But there are times when they pick something dumb and get criticized. Men do get criticized if they pick dumb clothes too, like the comet space guy.

Or maybe women do get judged. But it's usually the fashion industry who does the judging. After all, they'll lose billions if Zuckerberg's gray t-shirt becomes the norm.

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Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2014, 10:39:18 AM »
Apart from the lemon yellow blouse (#3) those outfits don't actually look too reprehensible dodgy. And gleaming yellow is a difficult colour in any kind of outfit. I can sort of see that people might have felt some of them were not really classy, but the folks who storm the network callback lines, write junk e-mail slamming tv newsreaders' clothing and so on in Australia are unlikely to be obsessing about sticking to a stylish, classy (British-leaning) dress code...

 

Offline alextaylor

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2014, 11:02:01 AM »
I mean look at the pictures of her standing next to a guy. The guys wear suits, which is at least 9/10 on the fashionable scale. She wears ok stuff, which is like 5/10 on a fashion scale. She could just wear a suit all the time and be constantly attractive, but she keeps switching clothes.

Offline gaggedLouise

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Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2014, 11:09:01 AM »
I mean look at the pictures of her standing next to a guy. The guys wear suits, which is at least 9/10 on the fashionable scale. She wears ok stuff, which is like 5/10 on a fashion scale. She could just wear a suit all the time and be constantly attractive, but she keeps switching clothes.


Maybe she doesn't feel at ease in suits, not tight form-fitting suits anyway. They look better on some people than on others. I would say some of the materials look...fairly ordinary, it's not high quality I figure.

Offline Steampunkette

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2014, 05:23:22 AM »
Or maybe it's one of many mandates handed down to women who appear on television about what sort of attire is "Appropriate" on air. Or it could be Wardrobe, too, since depending on the station/show/whatever they're in charge of what people wear.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2015, 04:18:16 AM »
Couldn't sleep, so I decided to skim around and noticed this thread.  Caehlim, you've been pretty awesome to me when I've wondered about stuff, so I decided to do some considerations.

Unfortunately no, this doesn't even stop for older women.

Forbes magazine, Slate, Le Journal International, Vogue, The Guardian, Wall Street Journal, Daily Mail, Business Insider, BBC and Spiegel have all commented on Angela Merkel's fashion sense.


Attempting a hypothesis, I checked all the authors of the various pieces you mentioned.  I know darn little about fashion but figured that they'd provide a sufficiently standardized set of data points.

Forbes Magazine - Couldn't find the listed author
Slate - Rebecca Schuman (Female)
Le Journal International - KASIA OPYDO (Female)
Vogue - EDWARD BARSAMIAN (Male)
The Guardian - Couldn't find the author listed
Daily Mail - MARTHA DE LACEY (Female)
Business Insider - Ashley Lutz (Female)
BBC - Katya Foreman (Female)
Spiegel - Katya Foreman (Male)

Quite a few females, and of the two men, one is writing for a fashion magazine and the other is specifically criticizing a photo shoot she did.

Quote
But it all ended up looking a tad too private for the taste of Merkel's campaign managers. Dressed in an unflattering baggy striped shirt, elastic-waist leisure pants and sneakers from a chain department store, while standing next to an enormous dead fish, Germany's highest-ranking female politician is barely recognizable as the same person seen smiling sophisticatedly on the glossy campaign posters.

Obama had the exact same thing happen with "mom jeans," so I think we can rule that last guy out.

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/22/obama-michelle-got-rid-of-my-mom-jeans/ if you aren't familiar.

Similarly, it is easy to understand why a fashion magazine would focus upon fashion.

In my experience, it tends to be more women who notice such things and hold expectations, with men being the minority in such situations.  This may be a stereotype to some degree, but it's difficult to claim any level of oppression.

Now, the reason for this discrepancy is very obvious: we expect professional men and women to dress differently.

http://smallbusiness.chron.com/considered-mens-business-attire-24265.html

https://www.google.com/search?q=types+of+female+business+outfits&espv=2&biw=1025&bih=515&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Q5_pVOOdL477gwS1-YOgBw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&dpr=1.5#tbm=isch&q=types+of+male+business+outfits

http://womens-fashion.lovetoknow.com/What_is_Professional_Business_Attire_for_Women

https://www.google.com/search?q=types+of+female+business+outfits&espv=2&biw=1025&bih=515&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Q5_pVOOdL477gwS1-YOgBw&ved=0CAYQ_AUoAQ&dpr=1.5

Women have lots of options, but for men, it's only suits.  There's nowhere near the amount of variety.  The only real difference is the necktie, and the guy did wear different ties.

Because all suits look pretty much the same, people just don't really notice them.  However, if they get changed up, it can make waves.

http://elitedaily.com/news/world/internet-exploded-president-barack-obama-wore-khaki-suit/733004/

I would venture that this is more nurture than nature.  Because women are given a plethora of options, they put more cognitive effort into the idea of fashion.  The idea of staying on the edge of fashion remains prevalent to those so inclined.

To attempt a sort of equilibrium, I see three different options:

1.) Remove professional standards of dress.  I consider this unlikely in the near future, even if I'd love it.

2.) Limit the kinds of things women can wear.  This is wrong in all kinds of ways.

3.) Create a larger set of options for men's standards.  This would be a task meant for anyone more apt in fashion than I am, but it's certainly doable.  However, I don't consider it likely.

In September, Ryan Seacrest apparently set up a new line of suits, called Distinction.  http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/ryan-seacrest-launches-color-coded-724181

Compare to the 1940's.  http://mens-fashion.lovetoknow.com/Mens_Fashion_in_the_1940%27s

One bit in particular jumps out at me.

Quote
Everyone wore a tie and through it, a man could express his individuality.

As mentioned, the newscaster in the original post wore different ties.  I'd be curious how things would go if it was the same tie every day for a year along with the same suit, though.

I'm inclined to think that if any better option than the suit existed, someone would have found it by now.

From what I'm seeing, the professional dress of women goes through all sorts of changes, easily outpacing the subtle bits of what kind of tie a man wears, or what color the suit might be.  It's an inequality, but not one easily remedied.


Having trouble sleeping and I'm sure I rambled an awful lot on here.  Hope it wasn't too illegible.

Offline CaehlimTopic starter

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2015, 10:05:48 AM »
Caehlim, you've been pretty awesome to me when I've wondered about stuff, so I decided to do some considerations.

Thanks. :D

Quote
I know darn little about fashion but figured that they'd provide a sufficiently standardized set of data points.

I think it's probably a bit too small a sample to really be truly accurate for any big conclusions, but it certainly does show that at least some of the discussion is originated from both male and female authors.

This doesn't mean that it's not necessarily restricting or unfairly disadvantaging women regardless of a female source. It's why I don't use the word Patriarchy personally, and use Kyriarchy instead to refer to societal patterns that I feel make things more difficult for women or other social groups.

Quote
To attempt a sort of equilibrium, I see three different options:

Personally I don't think much is needed here beyond a level of awareness. This is one of those problems where the main solution is just for people to realize that it exists and then think "Is the comment I'm making about the way this person is dressed appropriate?" That kind of awareness generally fixes these sorts of problems within about a generation or so. It's why I think moves like Karl Stefanovic's were one of the better ways of handling it.

Quote
1.) Remove professional standards of dress.  I consider this unlikely in the near future, even if I'd love it.

Well honestly this would be my favourite too. I personally feel that professional standards of dress reinforce classist values and make a deliberate effort to avoid wearing formal clothing unless forced to by my employer's rules (because you know, making a statement is nice but I still need a job at the end of the day).

Quote
2.) Limit the kinds of things women can wear.  This is wrong in all kinds of ways.

I agree.

Quote
3.) Create a larger set of options for men's standards.  This would be a task meant for anyone more apt in fashion than I am, but it's certainly doable.  However, I don't consider it likely.

I feel the same way, there are some good efforts by men to increase the acceptability of non-traditional attire for men that I think does help even things up.

Offline AndyZ

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2015, 10:45:43 AM »
I did want to clarify that I recognize the social constructs here and am knowingly using the various gender words as generalities. 

The funny thing about breaking down those social constructs is that we don't always know which way they're going to fall in the end.  For example, second-wave feminists didn't want doors to be held open only for women and not for men.  Nowadays, it's much more common to hold them open for both men and women, at least (in my experience) as compared to neither.

I know quite a few people who happen to adore fashion.  My mom tends to feel hurt if she gets a new haircut and nobody notices or says anything about it.  One of the most positive responses I got when trying to hit on a girl was starting out the conversation with "I like your hair" in regard to this cool all-white thing she had going.  I have difficulty with the idea that this would be a Kyriarchy situation if so many women love to do it.

It's only tangentially the same thing, but I've gotten some awesome compliments on my current avatar, and that makes me feel good that I picked out something which inspired something akin to a sight of artistic beauty.  I would imagine that fashion is rather similar.

Now, there's an opposite to compliments, but I feel that we as a society have moved away from a perspective where constructive criticism is appreciated.  When I wrote my novel, it was exceptionally difficult to get feedback because people tended to say things like, "It was good," and not want to give any offense, so I ended up having to pay someone money to proofread and critique it.

Empty praise is meaningless, and people who actively desire compliments recognize the uselessness of feedback that doesn't actually say anything and prefer getting told what does not work.

So, as a stereotype, men are more likely not to care about fashion and women are more likely to care about fashion.  I would expect this to be some sort of construct, but I have difficulty attributing any form of oppression to it.  There's a difference just like there's a difference with holding doors open, but it seems as though it would be better to discuss someone's fashion if you're fashionably inclined and not do so if you aren't.

I would therefore posit that anyone who actively makes any sort of effort with fashion should be given praise by those who notice, and anyone who doesn't even bother should either be left be.  The latter can be difficult because maybe people do want fashion tips, but it's not easy to recognize the difference.

Understanding and accepting criticism can be a very difficult thing because people don't really know what they want.  The movie The Matrix talks about accepting the terrible truth of a situation no matter how difficult it might be, and I ascribe to that aspect of the philosophy, but it's not common among society.  I knew a guy in college with atrocious body odor, but he apparently went years and years with nobody ever actually telling him he had it, and only with that knowledge was he able to do something about it.

I don't feel personally qualified to decide whether we should attempt to push fashion onto the masses or allow it to pass as we accept people more and more for who they are.  In all honesty, I expect that this will just be something that will always be different, not necessarily along gender lines but in the way that not everyone likes or does everything.

Offline Karadzic

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #18 on: March 20, 2015, 04:35:37 PM »
Personally, it doesn't matter as long as the journalists are doing their job. (I'm looking at you, Fox and Kotaku.) And although there might be more comments, the thing is, it's still only a few people out of the massive quantity of people that must watch.

Also, I'm assuming that there was little comment on the guy's suit not because he was a male, but because wearing a specific suit for a show isn't that strange. You can see it on TV all the time.

Offline Tairis

Re: Treatment of female journalists
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2015, 09:41:15 PM »
My question I think would be more 'has this actually affected her career?' As people have pointed out already, a lot of the time it's other women making the fashion comments, not men. I can see issues if her producers, etc, were saying 'well we can't promote you because of the public perception of your fashion sense'. It's another if people just send in comments, warranted or not.