Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Quota Queen's on her head

Quota Queen. Gloria Steinem popularized the term Queen Bee to the point that it's in frequent use (as well as misuse) but Quota Queen?

A Quota Queen is a woman who's installed to provide cover for an organization that practices sexism. The Quota Queen exists so that the organization can point to her and say, "See, we support women's issues and women. She works for us."

The Quota Queen smiles brightly and no one's supposed to ask any pesky questions.

Meet Janine Jackson of FAIR, CounterSpin and Extra! -- the ultimate Quota Queen. She exists solely to cover for FAIR's inability to hire or promote women.

Quota Queen Janine Jackson read off a news 'critique' she found pithy on a CounterSpin episode broadcast June 19th: "One of the reasons some people think media sexism is largely a thing of the past is that they only look for certain kinds -- like demeaning treatment of women politicians. Not that that can't be found, but that overlooks the garden variety bias that can frankly permeate other kinds of coverage. Take, for instance, The Los Angeles Times, who as part of their coverage of a Comic-Con convention in San Diego, published a 'guide for girls' about the event. As noted by blogger Charlie Jane Anders, the feature starts out by assuring readers that, contrary to what you might think, the series of science fiction panels and events 'is not just for nerdy guys anymore. And it's not all just about the influx of squealing Twilight girls, either.' Yes, gee, in 2009, it is true that girls, too, are interested in this entire genre of entertainment, and, no, their interest isn't limited to squealing. But the piece goes on to emphasize which male stars will be at the convention for girls to admire, noting for example that 'Women will be rushing the stage, offering to do star Jake Gyllenhaal's laundry on those washboard abs that he acquired for the film Prince of Persia, since he spends much of it fighting, shirtless or both.' Okay, we get it. Or as Anders sums up: 'So girls, don't be intimidated by Comic-Con -- you can do Jake Gyllenhaal's laundry!' Silly? Sure. Also insulting. Ah, dumb stereotypes -- how can we miss them if they won't go away?"

As we noted last week, Quota Queen Janine was only suddenly stumbling upon sexism because so-called watchdog FAIR -- in all its forms -- hadn't called out David Letterman's rape 'joke,' didn't plan on calling it out and Janine was on the defensive. So she read her bad item. [How many times can you use "that" in one sentence? Janine can use the word four times in one sentence: "Not that that can't be found, but that overlooks the garden variety bias that can frankly permeate other kinds of coverage." Take "that," Janine.]

As telling as what she said was, what she didn't say was even more so. . . .


The above is a teaser for next week's edition. Ava and C.I. wrote the above and they are steering the Independence Day edition (published next Sunday, July 5th, not Fourth) and it's going to be something to read.

Not just the paragraphs above, which we asked them to dash off due to the number of e-mails coming in wondering about the edition (, but many other features. They've got the edition pretty much mapped out. You won't want to miss it.
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