European Parliament looking at sexualization of girls

From European Women’s Lobby:

The EWL is deeply concerned with the increasing sexualisation of young girls in media today. The problem of sexualisation refers to the imposing of adult sexuality on children, especially girls, at an age when they are mentally, physically and emotionally not ready. Further, it gives young girls the belief that they are valued on their physical attractiveness leading to an objectification of women. The issue of sexualisation can be seen everywhere today, in advertisement, computer games, movies, magazines, music, fashion, cell phones…

The problem has been acknowledged by the European Parliament. For this reason, a meeting was held regarding the sexualisation of young girls on 06 June 2012 in the Parliament aiming to raise awareness of the issue among public authorities and develop concrete strategies to combat it. This meeting was organised by MEP Joanna Skrzydlewska, author of the upcoming report, as well as the the EPP Group of which she is a member. Experts from all over Europe were invited to share their observations and experiences regarding the sexualisation of girls.

Sexualisation has become like a wall paper, all the time constantly in the background, to the extent that we do not even see it anymore as Dr. Linda Papadopoulos described it. Dr. Papadopoulos is a psychologist and an expert on the subject of the effects of sexualisation on young people. She presents statistics concerning the issue as well as concrete examples:

  • When asked about future profession, 62 % of young girls wanted to be a glamour models and 25 % want to be a lap dancers.
  • The playboy bunny is a logo on writing pads for young girls today.
  • There is a computer game where you score points for beating up a prostitute. This game was given 10 out of 10 in several reviews and the NY-times said it gave “a new level of depth for an interactive entertainment experience.”
  • Violence has been made into something sexy in media.
  • 1 out of 3 teenagers have experienced sexual violence from their boyfriends.
  • 11 years old is the average age of being exposed to porn.
  • 10 year olds are being sexually harassed in school.

Press Release: Media Guide for Gender-Neutral Coverage of Politics

Press release, in its entirety:

WMC Releases Media Guide for Gender Neutral Coverage of Women Candidates and Politicians

March 26, 2012

Contact: Rachel Larris at rachel@womensmediacenter.com

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Today the Women’s Media Center releases a new Media Guide for its Name It. Change It. Project, which works to identify, prevent and end sexist media coverage of women candidates and politicians. The Women’s Media Center’s Media Guide to Gender Neutral Coverage of Women Candidates + Politicians (click to download) shows members of the media how to avoid injecting sexism into their own coverage and how to spot sexism in other’s.

Julie Burton, President of the Women’s Media Center, says “This guide was created to show journalists and other media professionals how the use of even subtly sexist language affects woman candidates’ success in the political arena.”

The Name It. Change It. project, a joint partnership between the Women’s Media Center and She Should Run, addresses sexism in the media directed at women candidates, politicians and high-profile individuals.

“With the release of this guide, the Women’s Media Center hopes to make the use of all sexist language both recognizable and unacceptable in politics,” Burton says.

Gloria Steinem, Co-Founder of the Women’s Media Center, says, “Studies show that like bullying, the trivializing sexism used against women candidates makes voters not want to associate with them. The problem is that sexism itself is viewed as trivial. This guide makes its seriousness clear, and helps reporters be fair by using parallel language for both female and male candidates.”

The Women’s Media Center’s Media Guide to Gender Neutral Coverage of Women Candidates + Politicians features groundbreaking research by Celinda Lake on the affect of media sexism on women candidates, as well a glossary of terms from Rosalie Maggio’s Unspinning the Spin: The Women’s Media Center’s Guide to Fair + Accurate Language, which provides definitions, background information, and suggested alternative uses for many loaded and politically incorrect terms.

Robin Morgan, co-Founder of the Women’s Media Center says, “Media sexism is used against women candidates and elected officials of all political viewpoints; it isn’t limited to one political party, and the Name It. Change It. project fights that sexism wherever we find it. We hope that members of the media sign our pledge to treat all subjects with respect, regardless of gender, and to create an overall media culture in which sexism has no place.”

“This shouldn’t be a radical notion,” Morgan says. “Giving women unequal treatment in media coverage is plain bad journalism–and its bad for democracy. Hopefully with this guide and the continuing work of the Name It. Change It. project, more members of the media will understand why this is important to them.”

The Women’s Media Center’s Media Guide to Gender Neutral Coverage of Women Candidates + Politicians is available for free download onWomensMediaCenter.com and at NameItChangeIt.org.

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If you see something in the news that needs a response, please let us know.

Sexism sells

Misogyny, made-up facts and more: Working in a News Corp Newsroom (Alternet)

“We were regularly encouraged to refer to women with misogynistic names like ‘tarts,’ ‘slappers’ or ‘hookers’ in our copy if there was conceivably any question mark over their sexual proclivities,” he said.

“We were expected to childishly objectify women. So blonde-haired women were described as ‘beauties’ and generously chested women ‘looked swell’, whether they’d wanted the attention or not.”

Got Sexism?

I know this story is now a little old – I’ve been behind on posting – but, look, even the WaPo is late in the game! This is an article about a California milk ad that goes too far in portraying men as victims of women’s PMS. It’s one of those campaigns that make you groan, ugh…

PMS-themed California milk ad campaign shocks

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — California milk producers have modified an eyebrow-raising advertising campaign that promoted their product to men as a way to lessen the effects of premenstrual syndrome in their wives or girlfriends. But some critics wonder if it’s time the dairy organization moved on to greener pastures.

Action Alert from Women’s Media Center regarding sexist coverage of Rep. Weiner scandal

What is with Chris Matthews? I often watch him on Sunday mornings. He’s been called out more than once for sexist comments. Let’s try to put a stop to the media’s sexism, folks.

Action Alert: Report sexist coverage of Rep. Weiner scandal

In light of the breaking news surrounding Rep. Anthony Weiner’s admission of having online extramarital relationships, the Women’s Media Center urges media to cover this story productively.

Stories of assault, adultery, and sexual misconduct from high profile male politicians such as Arnold Schwarzenegger and Dominique Strauss-Kahn have garnered much media attention in the past weeks. In each of these stories, the women involved bore the brunt of media coverage on the wrongdoings of male leaders.

Since the story on Anthony Weiner’s photo tweets broke last week, media immediately began delving into the identity and other personal details of the women allegedly involved.

And already since Rep. Weiner’s admission yesterday, some harmful media coverage has turned to the women. Last night on MSNBC, Chris Matthews said of Rep. Weiner’s wife Huma Abedin: “Maybe she’s partly responsible.”

Placing blame on women, and outing lurid details of women involved in this issue hurts those women because it places them in a negative spotlight they do not deserve, just as excessive prying into Rep. Weiner’s personal life is also unproductive.  As the Women’s Media Center urges media to cover the latest news about Rep. Weiner story in a fair and unbiased fashion, we ask you to be our eyes and ears. If you spot sexist coverage of the Weiner story, tell us on Facebook, Twitter, or report it on our website.

Even more importantly, media should focus their scrutiny and concern on our current cultural and political climate, and delve into why certain high powered male leaders use their positions of power to access women sexually — instead of obsessing on harmful, irrelevant personal details of the women and leaders involved. Media has the power to lead the conversation on these issues in a responsible manner.  And we’re here to remind them of their power and responsibility!

Thanks for all you do,

The Women’s Media Center

 

Male anchor calls talk show host a slut

I’m actually against all derogatory names being used on TV against women – slut, ho, bitch. We already have to put up with terms like gold digger, baby mama, bridezilla, etc. It goes on and on – terms like fembot and helicopter mom seem to come out of the blue on a regular basis – gee, let’s see what name we can come up with today to put down women. And then there’s the personal attack – like Ed Schultz calling Laura Ingraham a right-wing-slut. I can’t even imagine getting away with that with another group – gay men, lesbian, Blacks… So please, if you’re fed up with these attacks, sign the petition on Change.org:

Women’s Rights Petition: Tell MSNBC to suspend Ed Schultz for calling extremist host a right-wing slut

While conservative bloggers and watchdog organizations are highlighting Schultz’s remark,  the Women’s Media Center also calls on MSNBC to suspend Schultz for his comments, since they not only attack Ingraham, but all women. Ms. Ingraham is no friend to the Women’s Media Center, but a sexist and misogynist attack based on her gender and not her political views or comments is harmful to women in media, politics, and beyond.

Ingraham provides enough fodder for progressive criticism that such base attacks have no place in coverage. As a new generation of women enter media and politics, such comments dissuade women from exposing themselves to vile attacks, and perpetuate inequality in newsrooms and in congress. Join us in telling MSNBC that Schultz’s comments are just as worthy of suspension as Shuster’s, and to send a message to their on-air personalities that sexism is harmful and unacceptable!

Racism, Trump’s sexism

Take a look at Anna Holmes’ column in the Washington Post about Trump’s sexism – and, while I understand Holmes has a column in the Lifestyle section – doesn’t sexism deserve a more news-worthy section? Would the WaPo place an article about racism in the Lifestyle section? Perhaps sexism, like racism, is considered a “lifestyle”? Hmmm…

Column:  Anna Holmes on Donald Trump’s sexism

Holmes provides sufficient evidence of Trump’s evidence but I particularly like these 2 conclusions:

his utterance lay bare the modus operandi of the unreconstructed misogynist, in which women should be sexy, but not sexual (just as airlines once required of stewardesses, the Miss USA organization denies entry to contestants who have ever been married or “given birth to, or parented, a child”); a willingness to relinquish autonomy over one’s fertility is both an asset and a job requirement; and female worth is quantified not by character or accomplishment but by hip-to-waist ratio.

and

Perhaps this legacy of unapologetically gleeful misogyny — not his reputedly shady business practices or his absurd questions about President Obama’s birthplace — will end up being Trump’s electoral Achilles’ heel. Despite his protestations over the years that he “loves” and “respects” women, the fact of the matter is that whatever their party identification or their positions on the economy, foreign policy or abortion rights, women don’t take kindly to being defined by their body mass index, their mothering skills or their supposed disposability. (“People change their positions all the time, the way they change their wives,’’ said Trump confidant Michael Cohen earlier this year as a way to explain his boss’s newfound animus toward abortion rights.)

She ends:

Not that Trump cares. “You know, it doesn’t really matter what [the media] write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of [expletive],” he told a writer for Esquire in 1991.

Ewwww! (also see: comment about his daughter’s body – double ewwww)

And here’s an article in AlterNet (probably not their lifestyle section) about Trump’s racism:

Obama’s Mama vs. The Donald’s

By implication of skin color, Donald Trump is more inherently American than Barack Obama.  Which would come as a real shock to Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, a white woman born and raised in the American heartland of Kansas.  Trump’s mother, on the other hand, was an immigrant from Scotland.

There is nothing more fundamentally anti-American than parsing out shares of American identity based in proportion to skin color.  By any definition of the values and ideals of our nation, Barack Obama is as much or more an American — an inheritor and perpetuator of the American Dream — than Donald Trump who was born with America and everything else served up on a silver spoon.  And the undocumented migrant mothers who are toiling in our nation’s fields today so they may create a better future for their children are arguably just as American as Barack Obama’s mother. 

Too often, we treat American identity as a tangible birthright given only to some rather than an aspirational dream available to all.  Yes, one has to be a citizen to be President — and Barack Obama (unfortunately) was forced to prove that previously and re-prove it again.  But one does not have to be a citizen to be American.  The America for which our ancestors fought and for which we continue to fight for today is not simply the soil onto which you are born but the spirit in your heart — the idea that all people are born equal and should have equal opportunity, that this hallowed nation shall be a place on earth where people from all walks of life can pursue their dreams together. 

Come to think of it, I think I heard more hallaballu about Will & Kate accomplishing the American dream of rags-to-riches than I did for Obama. Go figure.