In this day and age, it’s becoming increasingly common for female journalists to be scrutinized more than their male counterparts, especially when it comes to their physical appearance.
In an article on the Op-Ed Project, Samantha McCann makes a good point in saying that “If we as professors, journalists, CEOs, and teachers have a responsibility to contribute our expertise to the public forum of ideas, we must be able to do so without fear that our bodies will be subject to attack.”
McCann also references several recent incidents in which female journalists have been attacked via the Internet, just for writing about controversial topics. The main target of the attacks? Their bodies.
Amy Wallace wrote an article for the New York Times that described her personal experience as a female journalist. “This kind of vitriol is not designed to hold reporters accountable for the fairness and accuracy of their work . . . these women find their bodies — not their intellects — under attack,” Wallace says.
But why should a woman’s body be the main topic of scrutiny anyways? Shouldn’t their work as a reporter receive more criticism?
The threat of being attacked discourages countless females—not just journalists—from posting online, whether it’s through Facebook or a blog.
“For years, I’ve been convinced that gendered nastiness and harassment was one factor responsible for the emergence of a blogosphere so disproportionately inhabited by men,” said Kevin Roderick for the LA Observed.
In this article for the American Journalism Review, Sherry Ricchiardi tells her story about covering warzones as a female journalist. In her case, being a woman helped in many situations where being a man would have been detrimental. She also states that though women still have to face sexism from male colleagues on a daily basis, adding more women into the field of journalism helps to break down long-standing stereotypes.
Though scrutiny and attacks haven’t managed to scare away a substantial number of women from journalism yet, we need to work on treating both sexes with equal respect.
Check out the video for some interesting statistics on female journalists and the representation of women in the media!