Calling out cable news sexism

A new campaign premieres with an Onion-esque take on how women are treated in the media

Published September 1, 2010 12:08AM (EDT)

You know what's nice? Clicking on a link to watch a video for a new feminist campaign, fully expecting some foreboding music, harsh statistics and yet more support for that "summer of suck" theory -- only to find yourself laughing out loud. (That is especially true when you've been writing about murderous misogyny, STDs and gender stereotypes all damn day.) Well that is exactly what happened to me when I got a press release about the Women's Media Center's new campaign: "Name It. Change It."

The idea is to tackle sexism in the media by doing exactly what the name implies. As an abstract concept, it's fine -- but so too are lots of activist ideas that end up a schlocky mess. Thankfully, though, that isn't the case here. Mix Gloria Steinem's politics with the sensibility of "The Daily Show" (only, perhaps with more female writers and on-air staff) and you get this mock cable news show with two crowing misogynists and one diminished lady correspondent. Keep an eye on the ticker at the bottom of the screen, which supplies similar dialog from actual, real-life media outlets. That's where the video becomes depressing: Very little exaggeration is required, because this is one case where reality writes its own parody.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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