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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Media abusing female candidates

Media, stop abusing female candidates by Magan Tady, in In These Times Oct. 21, 2010

Excerpt:

People should be angry that our media so often fails to report the track records of female politicians, and place them on a level playing field with male opponents. A platform, for those in the media who don’t know, is a list of issues a politician runs her or his candidacy on; it is not a type of shoe that reporters should be comparing with stiletto heels.

When vitriolic and disparaging comments about women become normalized in our national political dialogue, they harm us culturally. They create deep wounds in women and girls and have a chilling effect on those considering a run for office.

Sam Bennett, president of the Women’s Campaign Forum, put it well during an interview with C-Span’s The Washington Journal: “We have to come out in outrage when comments like this are made—irrespective of the party, irrespective of the situation—because what we have to do… is de-normalize these types of comments. No candidate—male or female—deserves to be on national television being referred to in a sexually explicit way.”

Despite the abuse, more and more brave women are stepping up every year to run for office and endure the media gauntlet. Politics shouldn’t be easy and women should be prepared to defend themselves, but they should be defending their platform, their positions and their views, not their gender, appearance or sexuality.

Ball is refusing to let the negative attention derail her campaign, saying: “We are young women. And we are dedicated to serving this country. And we will run for office. And we will win.”

Name it. Change it.

A new campaign called “Name it Change it” is out to stop sexism in its tracks! You too can participate – see the Web site for details:

Name it Change it

Watch the video “

Here’s a description of the campaign:

Widespread sexism in the media is one of the top problems facing women. A highly toxic media environment persists for women candidates, often negatively affecting their campaigns. The ever-changing media landscape creates an unmonitored echo chamber, often allowing damaging comments to exist without accountability.

We must erase the pervasiveness of sexism against all women candidates — irrespective of political party or level of office — across all media platforms in order to position women to achieve equality in public office. We will not stand by as pundits, radio hosts, bloggers, and journalists damage women’s political futures with misogynistic remarks. When you attack one woman, you attack all women.

Here’s an article in the Washington Post about it: Women’s groups target sexism in campaigns

And here’s a letter to the editor about the article (note the misogynist comments on it):  Group references sometimes overlook the absence of women