Newsnight, gender bias and The Mail

I can’t say I regularly watch Newsnight. It’s good to keep up with current affairs, but it tends to be filled with people like me – white middle class guys telling you why what they think is right. It’s ironic then that Friday’s Newsnight (which you can watch here) was slated for having a bias against men on the panel on multinationals avoiding tax. Richard Murphy has claimed that sexual discrimination led to him not being on the panel, with Ellie Mae O’Hagan taking his place instead. Unsurprisingly the Mail approach this cynically, and instead of looking at O’Hagan’s contribution, they look at Poppy Dinsey, who is on the panel as she is running a small business. The Mail rages about how Dinsey “features daily shots of her in outfits including plunging tops, bikinis, and, once, a Playboy bunny costume”. The Mail unsurprisingly seems to think women can’t be attractive and a panellist. You can read O’Hagan’s statement on the whole affair here, which include my favourite last line ever:

And my sign off is an epithet to the Daily Mail: fuck you.

I’m wary that I’m getting sucked into supplying links to the Daily Mail website here, which sucks and also shows that I’m not clever enough to oppose the Mail strategy of putting and incendiary article out there and wait for people to click on it and get annoyed. But Kate Reardon has called for the term “feminism” to be ditched as it’s got negative connotations. Whether this is a legitimate argument can be debated, but it would be easier to defend if the last line wasn’t such a sweeping generalisation (“Of course, sophisticated,  successful branding often relies on being quite manipulative –  but hey, that’s one of the tools that comes as standard in any female arsenal”) and the headline wasn’t so ridiculous (“Ditch the dungarees, it’s time feminism slipped into something sexy”).

On a nicer note – this is quite a cool article in the Huffington Post about how the US Department of State is  trying to make it easier for both women and men to balance their careers with their families. I’ve previously blogged on Anne Marie Slaughter’s comments and how I didn’t think this was a gender issue, but it’s also good to see the department taking a similar stance. As the article says, data points include “how the workforce is changing, including how the eager men are, as well as women, to spend more time with their children and how eager young women are to advance their careers”. Good stuff!

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2 thoughts on “Newsnight, gender bias and The Mail

  1. Slutocrat says:

    Great post. “It’s time feminism slipped into something sexy” – facepalm.

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