The Masculine Machismo of Media: Where Are The Ladies?

photo credit: Karen Kruse Photography

Lifestyle Editor Amanda Hess wrote a piece for GOOD, entitled “Boys Will Hire Boys: The Media Is Male and Getting Maler.” She cites research which suggests there are far too few females in broadcast media, journalism and the film industry. [For example, the past two years watched females in local radio decrease from 29 percent to 22 percent, and women in off-camera entertainment TV roles plummet from 20 percent to only 4 percent in a year’s span.] Men still have a tight-fisted grip on influence in newsrooms and studios. Relatively few women are in positions of ownership, leadership and significant decision-making roles.  Prodding the hornet’s nest, Hess asks the ever-vital question, why.

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We could use this to springboard into a deep pool of discussion regarding the history of women’s rights, feminism, gender inequality in all sorts of applications, the roles of men and women, media portrayal of females, and much more. However, let’s focus for a moment on the implications of influence.

One of Hess’ statements jumped out, dramatically contrasted against the rest:

“Women make up 73 percent of journalism and mass communication graduates.”

That is a huge piece of the communications pie.

A few questions come to mind. Could this male domination of media positions be only the result of gender inequality in the workplace? Are men trying to keep women out of authoritative roles?

Maybe there are even more layers; are females too demeaned in media representation to rise to the level of their male counterparts? Does the portrayal of newsrooms, studios and film sets conjure thoughts of settings too hostile for much feminine presence? Does the very structure of the media industry detract or disgust the female population? Do simply fewer women desire careers in communications? Or is there still a lingering, unspoken fear among male leadership of relinquishing influence to females?

Do women lack qualifications for such positions? Are there things the male can do which a female cannot, in regards to mass communications? Are men better communicators?

“It requires us to confront an uncomfortable truth: If we are all truly hiring the best person for the job, it means that we think that men are better.”

What do you think?

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