Beating up on women never gets old for Fox

From gripes about Michelle Obama to news of a Miss USA reality show, Fox News has a field day beating up on the ladies.

Published August 28, 2008 9:54AM (EDT)

Wednesday was a tough day for women on Fox News.

It started when, as Media Matters pointed out, reporter Megyn Kelly attacked Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic National Convention, helpfully pointing out (about Obama's quote from Monday night, "The world as it is just won't do"), "If you replace 'world' with 'country', you are back to the same debate, arguably, that you have been having about Michelle Obama's feelings about the country." How to follow up that misogyny? Why, with a double scoop of female bashing.

First up, the tantalizingly titled "'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Inspires Women to Leave Churches." According to Fox, the iconic WB show received a tough rap from "Religion and Women in the West," a British academic study released this past June. The book claims that women are fleeing church en masse thanks to ... positive female role models? Fox reported that Kristin Aune, a sociologist at the University of Denby, sees a direct correlation between dropping church numbers and strong female characters: "Because of its focus on female empowerment, young women are attracted by Wicca, popularized by the TV series 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer.'" "Wicca," you say? As one who was prohibited from watching Buffy as a child, I assumed it had to do with what my mother deemed to be the "sexually scandalous" nature of the show -- maybe it was really her concern for my potential future involvement in witchcraft, scorn for traditional values and shunning of patriarchal religion!

Though the U.K.'s Telegraph offers a, shall we say, more complex presentation of the study, going so far as to suggest that rather than belittle empowered females, Aune is actually lobbying for the church to adapt to the needs of modern women, Fox's take on the situation is just so much more, well, provocative.

And speaking of provocative, Fox keeps the female wrecking ball rolling with its announcement that Donald Trump's rehab darling, Miss USA Tara Connor, is set to host a new MTV reality show, as yet untitled, based on the British rags-to-riches makeover show, "Ladette to Lady." (Also the inspiration for MTV's current "From G's to Gents.") The show will attempt to transform a gaggle of slumming girls into proper young ladies, with Connor at the helm. Though Fox seems skeptical of the former drug-and-alcohol abuser's ability to cultivate a group of young ladies, I'm sure that ... OK, fine, Fox, you win this one.

But really: Buffy as church wrecker? If you replace the word absurd with Fox News ...

By Abby Margulies

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