7.29.2004

I just saw Outfoxed here at my neighborhood bar, Steinhof, in Park Slope and I was so moved. First, it was such a gorgeous feeling to do something as a community like that--I haven't had that feeling, I don't think, since just after September 11. And god knows the Bush/Cheney regime's cumulative death toll is at least a hundred times higher than the terrorists' toll that day--it felt so great to be witnessing together what we all know is going on in the media and in politics, not just kind of running into it on the television while alone, gaping sadly at the lies and treachery.

Anyway, there were of course like five women on the screen the whole movie--I'd say less than ten percent of the time on screen was held by women. I'm not complaining to the filmmakers here--they did a great job of putting smart, brave former Fox News reporter women up there: I'm sure they reflected the current gender balance in the news business. What I'm trying to say is that this movie made me even more convinced that Cupcake's mission of pointing out the serious lack of women writers in top bylines is crucial.

We have laws that require equal pay for equal work, and we have corporate, governmental, and educational standards that expect equal social, economic, and political treatment of men and women. This has become a standard expectation, though we all know the reality is way behind this.

What I want to see is the expectation on the part of editors (and television news producers, as a matter of fact) that women should make up fifty percent of bylines, fifty percent of top editorial staff, etc.

Am I a lunatic? Call me unreasonable. Call me whatever you want--this would make a huge difference.

Because if you give educated women this power, and if they are not afraid of losing their jobs for speaking their minds, you don't get this Fox News shit all over the place. The "Fox Effect" they described in this film, in which all the other news networks get all right wing to try to get ratings, is not possible if every newsroom is staffed with a gender balance, especially in the top echelons of power.

--Elizabeth
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