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7 Responses

  1. Norma
    Norma January 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm |

    Hunt makes a good argument, although this does seem far outside the scope of the inquiry. Still, I hope this campaign gets attention and taken seriously.

    But could such a public and potentially legal reckoning of media’s role in rape culture or misogyny ever happen in the US?

    It would be hard. You can’t sue over it in the US, and to get a similar kind of congressional inquiry, you’d first have to convince Congress that something was wrong. In the UK there seems to be a much greater awareness that sexist portrayals of women are bad for British women, at least in terms of health (that’s partly the motivation behind the banning of misleading airbrushed ads).

    On watchdogs… Miss Representation is also working a lot on sexism in American media, right?

  2. Matt
    Matt January 6, 2012 at 1:57 pm |

    I’d imagine the more expansive conception of free speech in the U.S. would make it exceedingly difficult to address from a legal perspective.

  3. matlun
    matlun January 6, 2012 at 4:52 pm |

    There is this continuing myth that journalism is objective. Maybe that’s what it aspires to be, but even on a good journalist’s best day, 100% objectivism isn’t possible.

    Is there such a myth? Most people I know have a very low opinion about the general objectivity of journalists.

  4. Anon21
    Anon21 January 6, 2012 at 5:07 pm |

    So, just as a matter of describing the state of the law, I think it’s possible that the FCC could do something about regulating misogynistic speech for the broadcast TV networks and radio if it wanted to. Then again, maybe not. The precedents establishing the FCC’s authority to regulate the content of broadcast television were mostly laid down in a different, less speech-protective legal era, and if the agency geared up to do a lot of new regulating of content, it might find itself with less authority than it had before.

    On the policy merits, I don’t think imposing legal consequences (such as fines or jail time) for offensive speech is a good idea. As you point out, Jessica, there are a lot of talented feminists out there monitoring media portrayals of women and girls and calling entertainment and news providers on misogynistic bullshit. In a better world, we wouldn’t need this deep media watchdog apparatus, because the people who run major media corporations wouldn’t be so eye-deep in misogyny. But I really doubt that the way we get to that better world is by levying fines based on the content of speech.

    On the other hand–investigation, public shaming, governmental condemnation, Congressional investigations–all great, some perhaps necessary before we get to a point where reflexive misogyny is viewed as an “objective” way to report the news.

  5. sarah
    sarah January 6, 2012 at 5:33 pm |

    This issue may get more traction with the Leveson Inquiry than people credit. The UK has been under pressure since the publication of the Bailey Review – a review of the impact of the media’s impact on children and young people through their representation of a plethora of issues, from alcohol and gambling to sexual content and imagery. The review was commission by the Government and conducted by Reg Bailey, the Chief Executive of the Mothers’ Union in the UK. The MU have influence with a significant set of voters in the UK, and regulatory and other bodies are taking it seriously.

    In addition, there is a small but relevant political groundswell in the UK against the representation of women and body image in UK media. Together, these two issues could well mean that the Leveson Inquiry takes a more serious look at these issues than might otherwise be taken.

    Thanks for covering it – London, UK.

  6. Annabelle
    Annabelle January 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm |

    But could such a public and potentially legal reckoning of media’s role in rape culture or misogyny ever happen in the US? Should it?

    I think this would ultimately do more harm than good. Giving the government the authority to fine or censor media over misogynistic content opens the door to all sorts of dangerous policies. What happens when a conservative administration decides that the discussion or portrayal of contraceptive use is damaging to teenagers?

  7. Engelse organisaties inventariseren seksisme in Britse roddelpers « De Zesde Clan

    [...] commissie Leveson, én de samenleving als geheel, kunnen er daarom niet omheen hier gericht aandacht aan te besteden: There is this continuing myth that journalism is objective. [...]

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