Wednesday, March 08, 2006
Blogging Against Sexism
Jarrod: What are you doing?
Kristen: Sitting down to engage in my favorite activity--finding more instances of sexism in the Red and Black
Jarrod: You know, there are some who say if you look hard enough you'll find anything*

My friend Jarrod was pointing out one of the precautions of our job--over reading texts. As a communication student who studies feminist messages, I often struggle with the intended and implied meaning of discourse. Do I really see what I think I see in this message? However, I can't help but think I'm not the only one who notices the ridiculousness that is the Red and Black.

I am continuously surprised by the lack of quality in the University of Georgia's paper. UGA is a big school. It is a school with a great mass communication and speech communication department. However, the leaves A LOT to be desired. Whether it is its tendency to privilege football over "real world" issues or its obsession with female bodies, it sends a message that UGA students are incapable of ingesting "real" news. As the talking head of the student body, it sends the message that all men at UGA are objectifying buffoons and the women are eager to be objectified.

Let me highlight my favorite example and publicly take a stand AGAINST THE CONTINUING SEXISM in the Red and Black.

Brumby Hall, an all-female high-rise dorm, is located at the top of the hill on the west side of the University of Georgia. In all actuality, an all female dorm is not really that novel. So, I assumed when I saw the headline Those Brumby Girls Got Back that the women must be doing something unique. I actually thought--was the dorm evacuated? Did they need to move back into their dorm? Imagine my surprise when I actually read the article which was devoted to praising the “Brumby Calves” or the “Brumby Thighs" of the women who walk the hill daily on their way back to the dorm. We also read riveting interviews with men who claim, “If I lived closer to Brumby, I would definitely sit on the hill and scope out the girls. I love it when a girl has a little extra junk in her trunk.” The article does two things (a) objectifies women themselves and (b) permits a public space for MEN to do it as well. (it also reaffirms heteronormativity in an explicit and damaging way but this is blog against sexism day so I won't go there).

The big question is--how is this news? I am somewhat understanding when it comes to the immense coverage of the football team. It is no secret that SEC football is a huge part of UGA's culture. However, if objectifying women is a part of UGA's culture, I think I'll be part of the out group. I suppose my analysis could be an example of "over reading." However, I prefer to think that if this example of sexism isn't obvious to everyone, we are all under reading. I hope articles like this are offensive to the general public--not just feminist scholars.

* it should be noted that Jarrod in no way is sexist. He was just giving me a hard time.
** Check out other bloggers against sexism:
Bethany, Quaker Dave, Shakespeare's Sister, OurWord


Blogger quakerdave said...

Question: Has UGA had any Title IX disputes in the athletic department? Have any men's sports been cut "because of the money that has to go to those [darn old] girls' teams"?

I had an argument with a [male] colleague about this. He started stammering when I pointed out that most men's, say, wrestling programs could be paid for with about 1/3 of what most male football or basketball coaches make, that women's sports take, like, NOTHING from men's programs.

Just asking. Mainly because GWB wants Title IX thrown out.

Blogger kristen said...

I don't think there have been any Title IX disputes. Most female sports don't conflict with football AND our gymnaistics, basketball and softball teams are VERY SUCCESSFUL. I went to a "gymdawgs" meet last weekend and it was amazing. A student section complete with cheerleaders and mascots. For all my complaints about UGA, female athletes are really supported here.

I cringe when I hear complaining about title IX though. It works. It increases female athletic participation. Even *if* it takes away from some men's programs, I say BRING IT ON. I would rather see young women playing sports and being powerful than I would see young boys being taught to wrestle. But luckily in our world woman AND men can play sports!

Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be fair, it seems as though the paper stereotypes men as well.

I would bet it doesn't occur as often, but I don't know because I don't read the paper that often. I noticed a similar theme with Kansas' student paper. The articles lack substantial content and focus on issues that I never would have thought would be in a student newspaper. Apparently, there aren't enough important issues on campus to replace an article on "Sex in a bunk bed." Maybe this represents a larger problem in a decline in journalists' responsibility.


Blogger kristen said...

Is your PhD program not keeping you busy enough? Gotta waste time looking at the Red and Black?

I appreciate your insight. I would agree that the REd and Black does not treat either sex in a favorable way. However, the culture in general is a lot more male friendly.

I could have used other the way rape is represented, letters to the editors, etc....but alas my program keeps me busy! ;)

but you're right...student papers and journalism in general is lacking.

On a side note--my friend had a student who did not know that Dick Cheney shot someone. HOW IS THIS NOT AT LEAST BLIPPED IN THE STUDENT PAPER? She said she "reads the news" but "missed that story." WOW. WOW. And we are supposed to train these people to enter the real world?


Blogger Reel Fanatic said...

As a former Red and Black employee (albeit 10 years ago), I think your comments are probably valid ... as for the quality of journalism in the paper, please remember that it is independent of the great journalism school .. it's just students, plus publisher Harry Montevideo ... If the J-school were to get more actively involved it would probably be a better product.

Post a Comment

<< Home