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Does fashion play too much of a role for women journalists?

Posted by: | November 11, 2012 | No Comment |

The presidential election may be over, but it is still not too late to honor the women journalists who made a difference in the coverage of the 2012 campaign.

In September, C-SPAN introduced this video, in which women journalists analyze the 2012 election. The internet is full of posts such as this, ranking the best women journalists of the year.

Those on lists across the internet include:

  • Soledad O’Brien
  • Martha Raddatz
  • Candy Crowley
  • Carol Costello
  • Rachel Maddow

I am so happy that women journalists are getting the recognition they deserve for their coverage of the 2012 election, especially when women journalists are still outnumbered by men. However, reports like those published by More Magazine in October 2012 need to stop. The article featured seven prominent women journalists, and instead of focusing on their reporting, focused on their fashion choices. The article, entitled “Hail to the Sheath: Reporters Wear This Season’s Best Silhouette,” is continuing the trend of women in the media being known for their fashion choices instead of their reporting.

The seven newswomen on these pages are casting an eye on the candidates this election season. But scrutiny is a two-way street: even brilliant writers and reporters have to look good. Here, they wear fall’s best sheath dresses, pairing some style with their substance.

The problem is that these articles, focusing on fashion and looks of the reporters, are far more common than those featuring the actual work of women journalists. Women in the journalism field are too often plagued by talk of looks and fashion. How many reports are there about men journalists and fashion? Not many. Until the media shifts the focus from fashion to content, women will still be left behind in the journalism industry.

In the documentary Miss Representation, Katie Couric often felt self-conscious of what she was wearing. Ann Curry of NBC also felt that she was let go because producers didn’t like her fashion choices.

Photo Courtesy of Guilford Free Library


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