CNN and Gender Phobia
I got a reminder today of the fact that gender bias and discrimination is alive and well today in the corporate media while watching a story on Prime News about a new product that is selling like crazy called “Mantyhose”, a version of pantyhose for men. The anchors spend an uncomfortable couple minutes mocking any man that would consider wearing the product, the two men on the piece seem completely uncomfortable with themselves during the entire episode, but it’s the woman who made the most sexist and surprising statements.
“Do not do this” she says to the guys, and later says “I would lose all kinds of respect for you.” She then goes on to clarify her thoughts by saying “I would stop sharing an office with you Mike”, while the two guys continue lauging uncomfortably. See the entire sexist CNN video for yourself.
What I found most ironic was that these comments were coming from a woman who herself says she wears pants (which is certainly male attire, no?). This is the kind of conversation we could expect to hear maybe 60 years ago from some male commentators talking about women who want to wear “mens clothes” right? The fact is, that Mantyhose isn’t even a female product, it’s made exclusively for men!
I suppose it comes down to this idea that men feel they have to be on constant guard to defend their masculine identity against any kind of feminization of themselves because being, acting, or owning anythng feminine will result in insult and make them less respectable. Just like the women who were brave enough to wear “pants” in their day despite the sexism and fear – I hope that transgendered people will be able to liberate men (and women as well) from this crazy idea that femininity is below masculinity. It looks like we won’t be getting any help from the mainstream media.
I feel so sorry for any transgendered person who works at CNN. It must be a horrible place to work with this kind of gender phoebia, and old style thinking that seems to pervade the culture there.
Image credit: CNN Video.