lizzieladie: (feminism)
[personal profile] lizzieladie
So, Jezebel criticized The Daily Show for both not putting enough women on screen and for being a toxic working environment for women. Slate fired back, accusing Jezebel of being inaccurate, and of profiting from that inaccuracy in a way that is similar to the women's magazines Jezebel has tried to provide an alternative to. The women who work at The Daily Show have released a letter defending the Daily Show's gender practices on all fronts.

I think they're all wrong,

The Daily Show: It's an important issue that women (and especially women of color) are underrepresented in comedy in general, and in particular among the Daily Show's writers and correspondents. If you're going to talk the liberal talk about women's rights it helps when not only willing to hire women, but to give them face time on your show. The ratio of female to male guests was also disturbing (12:63 at the time the Jezebel article was published, and not even mentioned in the article itself, but in its comments), and both of those are things that the Daily Show should probably think about and address in future.

Jezebel: I think that the Jezebel article seriously misrepresented the working situation at the Daily Show. It downplayed the comments from people like Samantha Bee, who thinks TDS is an awesome not only for women but for parents to work (the second especially ought to be celebrated by feminists) and did not, as far as I could tell, bother to contact any other current female employees on the show. The article left me surprised that there are as many women working in roles other than acting and writing on the show as there actually are (women constitute forty percent of the total staff, many of whom are producers), and played up sexist comments by Craig Kilborn that would hopefully have little impact on the tone of the show more than ten years after his departure - a departure that was marked by heavy staff turnover and a new creative direction.

Furthermore, the Jezebel article completely ignored Olivia Munn's race, and the fact that in recent years the show seems to have been making effort to include both more people of color and more women. Going by the Wikipedia chart of correspondents who've been on the show for three or more years, Wyatt and Aassif are the first non white males to be regulars, and there have only been four female regulars in the show's run, all of whom have been white. Part of the reason for that low number is Samantha Bee's unusually long seven year stint on the show. I think that we should be giving the Daily Show a lot of credit for making a serious effort to hire more women and people of color in the last couple of years (both as correspondents and writers), not complaining because the woman of color they did hire once posed on the cover of Maxim. In an ideal world, a woman who was Asian, over forty, and fat would be an equal competitor with Munn for a Daily Show correspondent's spot, but in that ideal world there's also no guarantee that Munn wouldn't be funnier, a point that the author of the Jezebel article seems to have missed. I don't think we've seen enough of Munn yet to judge whether she's a good fit for TDS or not - I've only seen two segments that she's done and only one of them was funny.

I think the many inaccuracies in the Jezebel article have led the women who work the Daily Show to do something unfortunate in their defense of the show. Instead of dealing with figures like the astounding ratio of female and male guests, and the low number of female correspondents, they write "The idea that [Jon] would risk compromising his show's quality by hiring or firing someone based on anything but ability, or by booking guests based on anything but subject matter, is simply ludicrous." Because the initial Jezebel article was sloppy and over the top in its depiction of TDS, the show has been able to respond to the fairly ludicrous charge that guests are intentionally booking based on gender now, rather than to the suggestion that they might want to make an effort to think about gender more and book more women in the future.

Slate: While Jezebel's for-profit set up is as problematic as every for profit set-up of any media outlet ever (The Daily Show and Slate included), no the product that they are selling women is not nearly as insidious as the product that most women's magazines sell to women. I'm not familiar with Jezebel in general, but the Slate article mostly specifically attacked The Daily Show article, which I did read. I'll take a product that encourages women to get upset about issues like the ones discusses in the TDS article above one that tells women to worry about what men think about them any day. Obviously neither one is particularly good, but imho, one is much, much worse than the other. Jezebel should get its shit together and not do poor or even fake reporting (that would be TDS's job), but even their pretend reporting has a much more positive message than the crap in many women's magazines.

In other news, I need to start doing more squee posts to get some happy in here. The Doctor Who Season finale anyone?!

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lizzieladie

July 2012

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