Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Women in power are only for our enjoyment?

The Associate Press reports that Dan Rather made sexist remarks about his replacement: Katie Couric. Apparently, he believes the news – since her arrival – has been “dumbed down,” and that her appearance has “tarted up,” CBS’ Evening News.

She is the first female anchor to hold this important nightly news position, and just like comments made about the possibility of a female president, it is not surprising to hear hateful words about a woman in power. Stereotypes abound in these positions, as those who are afraid of a strong lady quickly say that because someone has ovaries they automatically equate to an emotional train wreck, and who can do nothing more than spice up the broadcast through cleavage, lipstick and heels.

And in fact, there are hundreds upon hundreds of comments on the Internet regarding the Couric’s legs. Many say that because she chooses to wear short skirts, her now-famous legs are reason for objectification. Usually, the “talking head” syndrome takes place in TV news anchor world, where viewers only see the persons chest, shoulders and head, but Couric added another element, which I think is fine because why the heck does it matter what she wears if she is using her skills and intellect to hold a conversation with world leaders? Her ability to tell the news should be all that matters, yet instead of commenting on her skills, her reporting style, etc, people constantly pull the clothing/looks card when it comes to women in these public positions.

And of course, had she decided to forgo the skirts and wear more masculine suits, she would have still been the subject of appearance discussions, only this time saying she is too butch or not sexy enough to weigh in on the news, rather than intellectual ones.

Stephen Colbert did a great bit on this topic; only he focused on Hillary Rodham Clinton: