I have to leave for Tacoma and the CFI Summit soon, so I’ll just point to an item or two for your reading pleasure, and possible discussion later.
What makes the MRAs particularly insidious is their canny co-optation of social-justice lingo. While Pick Up Artists are perfectly plain that all they care about is using women for sex, MRAs claim to be a movement for positive change, with the stated aim of getting men recognized as an oppressed class—and women, especially but not exclusively feminists, as men’s oppressors. It’s a narrative effective enough to snow the mainstream media: Just this past weekend, The Daily Beast ran a profile of MRAs that painted them as a legitimate movement overshadowed by a few extremists. Trouble is, even the man writer R. Todd Kelly singled out as the great “moderate” hope that other MRAs should emulate—W.F. Price, of the blog “The Spearhead”—is anything but. According to Futrelle, “This is a guy who … blames the epidemic of rape in the armed forces on women, who celebrated one Mothers Day with a vicious transphobic rant, and who once used the tragic death of a woman who’d just graduated from college to argue that ‘after 25, women are just wasting time.’ He published posts on why women’s suffrage is a bad idea. Plus, have you met his commenters?”
If there are plenty of women working as correspondents and reporters, but relatively few female opinion writers and editors, then this indicates a problem in the industry. Women may be blogging more, make up more than 50 per cent of Twitter users, and piling into varieties of journalism, but the biggest newspapers in the United States, Britain and Europe still reserve pages of the most serious political and foreign policy analysis for older men, and unsurprisingly, they’re usually white.
A study by Women in Journalism earlier this year found that across national newspapers, 78 per cent of bylined front page stories were written by men, and of those quoted as experts or sources in lead stories, 84 per cent were men.The Women’s Media Centre in the United States, on conducting similar research reported that during the 2012 presidential election, 75 per cent of front page bylined articles at top newspapers were written by men and that women made up a mere 14 per cent of Sunday TV talk show interviewees, and 29 per cent of “roundtable” guests. Women in Journalism were quick to highlight one of the most worrying aspects of this imbalance: most stories involving women in the four week period surveyed, portrayed them as either victims or celebrities.