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Apr. 8 2010 - 1:41 pm | 353 views | 0 recommendations | 1 comment

Women make great dictators, bad experts

It’s about time female dictators have finally come into their own. It’s too bad women experts are too … something to get NPR airtime equivalent to their male counterparts. On the radio, you have not come a long way, baby.

The NPR Ombudsman (which, by the way, sounds like a top contender for Jobs I Would Least Like to Have) has announced that — horror of horrors! — NPR, which, surely prides itself on being All PC, All the Time, is not giving as much airtime to the ladies as it does to the mens, as far as experts are concerned. Tragic! Earth-shattering! I am not sure how the people who work for NPR are dealing with this truly important issue, but I hope someone in HR is handing out the Lexapro a little more generously these days.

NPR is very sorry about this, to be sure. “I will say upfront that NPR is and has been an industry leader with female correspondents and hosts,” the thanklessly employed Alicia Shepard types with what were probably quivering fingertips. Unforch, when it comes to “commentators and news sources,” NPR prefers those with penises over those with vaginas. Subliminal sexism? Perhaps. But the people at NPR are intent on smashing out sexism the way people in Middle America play Whac-a-Mole. Bloodshed awaits.

Shepard goes on to list a lot of boring numbers and even busts out a fancy multicolored chart that I am not going to paraphrase or summarize or recount here, but suffice to say the ladies who show up to chat on NPR are getting the short end of the stick, or whatever the appropriate terminology would be to use here. “My study may not be scientifically perfect,” Shepard confesses, probably tired from all that chart-making, “but the skew is so lopsided that it demands attention.” Attention, indeed.

Thankfully, Jill Geisler from the Poynter Institute is here to help. She says NPR was naughty, but NPR didn’t mean to be naughty. “I doubt there is a conscious, systemic aversion to selecting women as sources at NPR,” Geisler backpedals on behalf of NPR. “But benign neglect is still neglect and its impact just as harmful to society.” And you thought all that time you spent half-listening to NPR droning on about something happening somewhere else in the world that you only care about a very little amount if at all while you were doing the dishes and wondering what had become of your life was helping you. Well, it wasn’t. It was hurting you.

Praise the Lord, we all know who to blame already. Our favorite fall guy, that which takes the rap for every supposedly sexist step that we take, everyone’s number one punching bag … drum roll, please … the patriarchy! Just when you thought it was safe to listen to the radio again, Shepard declares, “The fact remains that even in the fifth decade after the feminist revolution; men are still largely in charge in government at all levels, in corporations and nearly all other aspects of society.”

This is a very fascinating assertion, and, not surprisingly, not footnoted. I, for one, am not entirely sure where Shepard got her info that “men are still largely in charge in … nearly all other aspects of society.” Were you aware that men control … everything? I mean, I had noticed there were a lot of old white dudes in Congress, but I thought they had left at least something for those of us unfortunate to have been born into the fairer sex. Like shopping. Or homemaking. Or knitting. Maybe men control those, too?

Well, don’t say NPR never taught you anything. Or, you know, at least some guy on NPR never taught you anything.


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  1. collapse expand

    Susannah, do you actually READ your posts? Maybe you could cut out all the wharrgarbling and try to have a point? Or you too cool for all that shit, you’re a self-appointed sexpert or whatever and that’s all you need to be relevant?

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    I'm a freelance journalist, blogger, photographer, and creator of TheWarProject.com. I've written for Newsweek, Details, Harper's Bazaar, The Daily Beast, Radar Online, Variety, Salon, Slate, Wired News, The New York Post, The LA Weekly, The San Francisco Chronicle, The Vancouver Sun, The San Francisco Examiner Magazine, Playboy.com, and many other publications. I've appeared on CNN, Fox News, "Politically Incorrect," and NPR. Currently, I'm working on a novel. My email is susannahbreslin at earthlink dot net.

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