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March 5, 2008

Fox News Celebrates Women's History Month

...with some good old fashioned sexism and positively retro notions of femininity and gender roles.

From Fox & Friends, an exchange that followed a discussion about Hillary Clinton wearing pantsuits, because apparently women wearing pants is still news in 2008:

If you can't watch the video, here's the gist--co-anchor Brian Kilmeade asks Ainsley Earhardt if she's ever worn a pantsuit, and she replies that she has, but "Here at Fox, we like to be feminine. So we don't wear the pants." (We don't wear the pants. Interesting word choice.) She then asks if Kilmeade would like them to wear pants, because "we can do that if you'd like us to" amid wolf whistles from the crew. Kilmeade goes on to make a complete ass of himself saying things like "if I was to run for office, I'd run on the pro-skirt platform" and "I am firmly behind the skirts" until co-anchor Gretchen Carlson mercifully tells him to shut up.

(Just as a side note, when I went to the Fox & Friends section of the Fox News website to double check something while writing this, the banner ad at the top of the page was for the NYC Condom. Heh.)

Perhaps in their spare time the women of Fox News also enjoy riding horses side saddle and knitting doilies for their hope chests.

So if any of you women out there happen to be wearing pants today, congratulations, you're a radical feminist revolutionary. Don't let all that transgressive power go to your head.

Watching this clip repeatedly to write about it made my head hurt, so to make myself feel better I thought I'd talk a little about journalist Nellie Bly. Bly, whose real name was Elizabeth Cochrane, got her start in journalism at the age of 20 when she wrote an anonymous letter to a Pittsburgh newspaper responding to a sexist editorial. The managing editor of the paper was so impressed by the letter that he asked her to come forward and offered her a job.

Nellie Bly was a pioneer in investigative reporting and took on several undercover assignments in the days when female newspaper writers were usually confined to topics like fashion and gardening. She worked in a sweatshop, traveled to Mexico to report on the Mexican government as well as daily life and issues faced by the people there (which led to her being threatened with arrest by the Mexican government and having to leave the country), faked insanity so that she could write a piece on asylums for the New York World (which brought her a great deal of notoriety and also led to a grand jury investigation and an improvement in the level of care in New York's asylums).

Bly's most famous assignment is probably her trip around the world. She proposed the idea to her editor that she try to imitate the fictional character in Jules Verne's book Around the World in Eighty Days. Her editor was concerned about the idea of letting a woman travel the world on her own, but she eventually convinced him, and she left for her trip on November 14th, 1889 and returned home seventy-two days, six hours, eleven minutes and fourteen seconds after her departure. She set a world record, attracted a ton of attention, and her writings about her adventures around the world gave the New York World a huge circulation boost. Not bad for a female journalist in 1889, we'd say. Oh, and she brought exactly one dress and one bag with her on the trip, so she probably wouldn't be considered feminine enough for a job at Fox News.

From Around the World in Seventy Two Days, Nellie describes the process of pitching the idea to her editor (this excerpt is taken from the great book Modern American Women: A Documentary History :

I approached my editor rather timidly on the subject. I was afraid that he would think the idea too wild and visionary...

To my dismay he told me that in the office they had thought of this same idea before, and the intention was to send a man. However he offered me the consolation that he would favor my going, and then we went to talk with the business manager about it.

"It is impossible for you to do it," was the terrible verdict. "In the first place you are a woman and would need a protector, and even if it were possible for you to travel alone you would need to carry so much baggage that it would detain you in making rapid changes. Besides you speak nothing but English, so there is no use talking about it; no one but a man can do this."

"Very well," I said angrily, "Start the man and I'll start the same day for some other newspaper and beat him."

"I believe you would," he said slowly. I would not say this had any influence on their decision, but I do know that before we parted I was made happy by the promise that if any one was commissioned to make that trip, I should be that one...

Suck on that, Brian Kilmeade.

1 comment:

Art said...

Yawn. It is sad to see feminists in this day and age. well i suggest you check out,http://counterfem.blogspot.com/

While i not always agree with them, your site is just idiotic bashing of guys. I just feel lesbians coming out of you. GO Feminists!...Fuck yourself s.