Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Jacob Weisberg Can Blow Me

Or he could if I had a penis. The fact that I don’t have a penis pretty much makes me invisible to Jacob Weisburg. Don’t believe me? See for yourself:

George Bush
Super Mario
Hugo Chavez
John Edwards
Pervez Musharraf
John McCain
Rupert Murdoch
Alex Ross
Ben Ratliff
Rick Shapiro
Jerry Seinfeld
Anatoly Dobrynin
William Rogers
Jerry Seinfeld
Larry Craig
William Trevor
Robert Haas
Sydney Spiesel
Errol Morris
Roger Fenton
Owen Wilson
Wes Anderson
Stanley O'Neal
Al Gore
Newt Gingrich
Gordon Lish
Henry James
Mario Vargas Llosa
Philip Roth
Steven Landsburg
James Watson
Cees Nooteboom
Charlie Weis
Manny Ramirez

Condoleezza Rice
Karen Hughes
Hillary Clinton
Emily Yoffe
Jessica Seinfeld
Missy Chase Lapine
Jessica Seinfeld

Those are all the names that appear in the titles for all the articles on Slate, as of Monday night. A couple of articles mentioned women without referencing a specific woman: Help, my wife feels unsexy! Help, my wife still smooches her ex!

So, Slate’s a men’s magazine. I admit that I’m a little shocked, but I guess I’ll put on my big girl panties and deal with it. It’s still a subsidiary of the Washington Post, though, right? WaPo certainly wouldn’t display a bias favoring men as the writers and the subjects of its articles, would it? Have a look for yourself. Scan the front page. Note how many of the photos, the titles, and the bylines are men, and how many are women. Try some of these, too, if you’re curious: Salon, The Atlantic,, Harper’s, Newsweek, New Yorker, TIME, New York Times, MSN, CNN.

At least the NYTimes and TIME make an effort to keep their front pages ungendered, although I'd be surprised if their content reflected the same lack of bias. Of the sample, only had a significant percentage of women as subjects, bylines and images. But don't take my word for it. Cast a critical eye on your favorite publication and see how it measures up.

The Atlantic, one of the worst offenders, had a the following teaser on its front page: The Future of the American Idea: “For The Atlantic’s 150th Anniversary, meditations on America’s future from Tom Wolfe, Eric Schmidt, Tim LaHaye, Christopher Hitchens, Frank Gehry, and many others.”

Because women don’t have any ideas. Or at least not any Big Ideas. It’s no wonder there are so few women mentioned in the history books, when we really have nothing to offer in the worlds of politics, business, finance, technology, science, medicine or sports. Because those are the domain of men. The domain of women? Fashion, cooking, children, and sex. Always sex.

That’s just the internet, though. Surely other forms of media must be better? Like radio. I don’t listen to radio very much these days, but surely women are given a reasonable amount of airtime there? As more than cute sidekicks for sexist dudes, I mean. How about it?

And what about TV? Most of the shows have women, right? In decent, non-sexist roles? And the writers, the network execs—aren't one or two of them women, too?

How do your favorite shows measure up?

>Top TV shows:
The Wire
The Office
Friday Night Lights
Big Love
Battlestar Galactica
Bleak House

Ah, it's depressing, isn't it? I don’t even want to give you this list, now. I'd rather let you go on about your day, thinking that feminism won, that equality is had by all, that women have faces and voices, that they are human beings, just like men. But I’d be remiss to leave it out now: >Top Movies.


So, Jacob, dude—I understand, really I do: it’s not just you. It’s everywhere, and without such efforts as the XX Factor Blog, women would be nowhere, at least as far as the media and as far as history are concerned.

I guess we should be grateful for the little bit of action you throw our way.


Posted .

— — —

May 28, 2008 The NYTimes asks, Are We Too Male and Too White?