Sexism


Elizabeth Cady Stanton on gender parity from 1874:

The talk about women being so much above men, celestial, ethereal, and all that, is sentimental nonsense. … The real woman is not up in the clouds nor among the stars, but down here upon earth by the side of man. She is on the same material plane with man, striving and working to support  herself.

Basically says it all. Via Popular History.

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A new Oxygen network show (“Brooklyn 11223“) is focusing on people of Italian descent living in Bay Ridge, the waterfront district of southwest Brooklyn. Too bad the neighborhood is increasingly made up of a mix of immigrant communities, including Chinese and Egyptians.  Watch the trailer below:

I’ve already written about “Russian Dolls,” Lifetime network’s short-lived show about Russians in Brooklyn’s Brighton Beach. I’m not surprised that just as Brighton locals protested the Lifetime show, Bay Ridge locals (joined by local councilmembers and politicians) are protesting this new Oxygen release for degrading women and portraying their community in a negative light (the show’s tagline is all about “betrayal”).

Producers are calling Bay Ridge a “small, close-knit community” in the same way that “Russian Dolls” producers called Brighton Beach a “mysterious” and “highly protective community.” I called their bluff  in my review of the show.

It seems that TV producers keep trying to recycle the same cliched tropes in the hopes of reaching Jersey Shore or Real Housewives levels of success and fame. How far can you go on shoddy production, weak story lines, forced drama, and a fetishizing of a neighborhood that is nothing like the show’s depiction? Let’s see how long this one lasts…

Russian Dolls Promo Image from Lifetime Network

If the guilty pleasure in watching reality TV shows is derived from the voyeuristic clips of outrageous, hair-pulling catfights and the chance to glimpse the homes and lifestyles of the rich and not-so-famous, then Russian Dolls won’t satisfy even the basest TV-watching desires.

From my review in the newest Bitch magazine. Read the rest below, or buy the print or digital edition here!

After I wrote the review, the Lifetime network ran a marathon of all the remaining episodes in season one. It is still unclear whether the show has been cancelled or if it will return for a second season. My review should make it pretty clear which option I prefer.

I’ve written about gender inequity in the literary and journalistic industry a few times over at LitDrift.

I’ve said that women are grossly underrepresented on the mastheads of major literary magazines and journalistic outlets and win contests and recognition way less than men. This is no surprise but it’s helpful to point out and remind people so that those in positions of power can make more thoughtful decisions about hiring and recruitment.

Two updates on this issue:

  1. Finally, some editors have responded to the facts about the lack of women in their publications. I think the editor of The New Republic, Jonathan Chait, had some interesting thoughts about why women may be less involved in opinion journalism.
  2. A friend of mine and a talented artist/cartoonist Susie Cagle reminds us that this disparity exists in the cartooning world. Read her thoughtful post here.

Clearly this is not an isolated issue, and also affects people of color. I just like to be the voice of persistent outrage. So I’ll just keep on ranting over here.

Side note: in my MFA program (creative nonfiction), the vast majority of students are women (upwards of 80%). I’m very curious to see if despite this, the people who go on to get jobs and book deals don’t reflect this…