Women Underrepresented in Media, Undernoticed

While we don’t believe you absolutely have to be a woman to care about women’s interests, it is inescapably true that women are underrepresented and undernoticed in American media. Concerns arise, for example, when large white men such as Bill Dwight, radio commentator for WHMP, poo-poo the notion that adult enterprises could subject neighbors to harassment. It is unlikely that strangers will approach Mr. Dwight and ask him, “How much do you cost?”

Women’s eNews editor in chief Rita Henley Jensen cites the facts:

Example: A recent look at the Washington Post commentary page, the must-read by our nation’s policy makers, found that women were a mere 1 in 10 of contributors.

Example: A former Glamour editor, Ruth Davis Konigsberg, found that, on average, women write one article for every three by men in the Atlantic, Harper’s, the New York Times Magazine, the New Yorker and Vanity Fair.

Example: The Project for Excellence in Journalism found in 2005 that more than three quarters of all news stories contain male sources, while only a third of stories contain even a single female source. The data were drawn from an examination of 16,800 news stories across 45 news outlets during 20 randomly selected days over nine months. The disparity held true across newspapers, cable, network news and the online world.

Example, and this is my favorite: Researchers have found that only 2.7 percent of sampled news stories focused on women on weekdays and 3 percent focused on women on Sunday.

When voices aren’t heard, it’s easy to conclude that the concerns of the silent people aren’t real, or are only held by a small minority of people. This tactic is employed constantly by our opposition.

See also:

Testimony in Minneapolis: Secondary Effects Around Adult Theaters; Police Suggest that Concerned Citizens Move Away
I would like to speak on behalf of the other people who live in my
residence because we all, to a large degree, feel that we are
invisible, silent people. Our neighborhood is very working class, a lot
of the people don’t have 9:00 to 5:00 jobs. They are working in the
afternoon or afternoon shifts. We are the type of people who like to
have our voices heard. We don’t have political power. We don’t have
money. We are barely making it day to day. When it comes to having
people hear us speak, we don’t feel we are heard…

Catharine MacKinnon: Mass Media Reflexively, Subtly Protect Pornographers
Media reports of victims’ testimony at the time of the hearings
themselves were often cursory, distorted, or nonexistent. Some reports
by journalists covering the Minneapolis hearings were rewritten by
editors to conform the testimony to the story of pornography’s
harmlessness that they wanted told. Of this process, one Minneapolis
reporter assigned to cover those hearings told me, in reference to the
reports she filed, “I have never been so censored in my life.”

Comment on D.A. Clarke: Women Adopting Men’s Bad Habits Is Not the Answer
Have you noticed that certain voices are missing from this debate?
Certain people, victims of sex trafficking are a good example, who may
not have the unrestricted access to the Internet that you do, who are
closely monitored, beaten into submission, and in many cases don’t
speak English? On those rare occasions when a reporter talks with them,
their suffering and despair
are obvious. Do we need to wait for them to implore us in person before
we call attention to their situation, their exploiters, and the role of
porn in making things worse?

Angeles Times: “In California’s Unregulated Porn Film Industry, an
Alarming Number of Performers Are Infected With HIV and Other Sexually
Transmitted Diseases. And Nobody Seems to Care.”

[I]n studios in the San Fernando Valley…actors and actresses were
working on movies. They put in long hours, commonly without meal
breaks. They often worked without clean toilets, toilet paper, soap or
water. More importantly, they were exposed to a host of infectious, and
sometimes fatal, diseases…

But California regulators and political officials don’t believe the
public is worried about protecting the porn stars themselves– despite
the enormous popularity of the films they produce. As David Gurley,
staff attorney for the California Labor Commissioner’s office, says:
“Porn stars–people think they’re not worth the time. The public sees
these people as disposable…”

New York Times: “The Girls Next Door”; Worldwide Sex Trafficking; Role of Porn
Far from being a domain of consenting adults, unconsenting minors are common. Inspired by porn, men are seeking out rougher acts and ever younger, more compliant girls. Men run the trafficking rings, and employ older women to facilitate the indoctrination of the girls. Most girls burn out quickly, generally within 2-4 years. Law enforcement often fails to perceive trafficking as a serious problem, or even participates in the trade, as do elements of the media, which run traffickers’ ads for “models” and “nannies”…

Pasadena Weekly: “Lives for sale”
“They’re always a point of concern,” Pasadena Police Chief Bernard
Melekian told the newspaper. “We follow up on them fairly regularly. I
have always been surprised that the [Pasadena] Weekly underwrites the exploitation
of women to some degree.”

Lovers: Best Young Girls in Town,” “Asian Girl: Pretty Apples,” “Grand
Opening, Young Asian Cuties,” read several ads that appeared recently
in the Weekly…

Ivy Suriyopaf, an attorney with the Asian-American Defense League, said
that if an ad is suspicious, newspapers shouldn’t run it.

“Publications have a choice about whether to run certain ads,” said
Suriyopaf. “If they have any reason to believe that businesses are
conducting illicit activities, they have a social responsibility to
report it to the authorities or, at the very least, not run the
business’ advertisements.”

Belltown Messenger: “Greed, Lust and Ink”

…the only motivation for running escort ads in the first place is
unbridled greed-and these supposedly liberal publications can’t have it
both ways when defending the rights of society’s underdogs in their
editorial content…

The “adult services” sections of the Stranger and Seattle Weekly are no
bargain for those in the sex industry. They bill at four times the rate
of the regular ads and then some.

The Evidence of Relationships Between Adult-Oriented Businesses and Community Crime and Disorder (added 5/27/07)
Chief G.J. Bencale stated that his police
department’s undercover officers completed a covert investigation as
part of their
fact finding effort. Lingerie modeling is basically masturbation for
hire (a criminal
offense). Officer Bedford said they went to lingerie modeling
businesses in the Atlanta and Columbus area. Chief Bencale said they
had an overall increase in sex
crimes including incidents where dancers were raped, as well as an
increase in
drugs, theft, and etc. These businesses attract criminal activity.
Chief Bencale also
stated that some cases involved organized crime.

Arizona Factual Record: In-call Escort Bureaus/Nude Modeling Studios (PDF, explicit language, added 5/27/07)
“And Steve Budge [the owner of Temptations, an escort bureau] explicitly told me there’s–and excuse my language, but he said, “There’s no sucking or fucking, but if you’re going to do hand,” and he says, “and you’re going [to] get caught, I don’t want to know about it. I’m not going [to] know about it.”

And then I asked him, “What do you mean by that?” He said, “A release,” and I said, “What do you mean by a release,” because I didn’t know, and he said that was a hand job…

And when I got hired there, he had indicated that it was a great business, that I could earn as much as $1,000, but primarily it would be on tips, not on the show price…

And he indicated these tips primarily came from releases and that, typically, the customer–the typical fee was $100 per release…
A lot of ladies would refuse to do [a release]. The policy was, you would just tell that person, “I don’t do that,” and at that point, another lady would come in that was willing to do that, and the customer could either say no or yes, but…usually they said yes..

[The owner] knew what was legal, and he knew that the hand releases were illegal, but like as I stated before, he said if anyone ever got caught, he would deny knowing…even though he monitored the room.

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