Wednesday, August 26, 2020

Media: The hatred of women runs deep -- even at NPR, even in print

 Some days it's rather obvious that a lot of people hate women.  Note, we said "people."  It's not just some men that hate women, it's also some women.  

That is, after all, how sexism continues in 2020.  Continues?  Sometimes it seem to thrive.  

For example, it seems to thrive over at NPR.


Maybe because Terry Gross sets such a poor standard?  And maybe because so few people bother to call her out or hold her accountable?

masculinist terry


With Ann, we did.  See 2011's "Terry Gross' new low (Ann, Ava and C.I.)" which charts the year 2010 for Terry -- where her FRESH AIR offered 399 men and only 74 women -- women made up only 18.5% of her guests.

It's Terry's show so that's a woman holding women back.  And, when we counted NATION bylines for 2007, and noted 491 bylines for men and only 149 bylines for women, we were aware -- even before THE NATION e-mailed us to tell us -- that a woman was in charge at the magazine.  So if you're going to call someone a pig because they're sexist, there are numerous women that term can be hurled at.

NPR doesn't think women can think.  We respond: We don't think NPR can think.

NPR MUSIC.  It's got its own little website and it's just covering music.  Shouldn't be too hard to be fair, right?



World Cafe decides to fill some time with live tracks from various concert albums.  They called it their "imaginary festival" and they served up 46 tracks.  This was July 2020, to be clear, not November 1952.  46 tracks?  23 men and 23 women?  Would've been nice.  But, as Kat pointed out, the total was 43 songs sung by men and 3 songs sung by women.  


NPR's rank sexism never goes away, regardless of which area of NPR you're looking at.


We're looking at music.


Specifically, we're looking at the Friday segment of ALL SONGS CONSIDERED where they go over the week's new music releases. 


We looked at the year thus far, January 10th through August 21st.  (There was no January 3rd segment, for anyone wondering.)  Every Friday, during those weeks, NPR offered critics or 'critics' who discussed the week's new releases. 


They have 17 critics they feature.  You already know this doesn't end well but your first clue of an imbalance would be that there are 11 male critics and only 6 female ones.


The men are: Robin Hilton, Felix Contreras, Stephen Thompson, Sam Sanders, Nate Chinen, Gavin Godfrey, John Morrison, Tom Huizenga, Tarik Moody, Lars Gotrich and Bobby Carter.  The women are: Ann Powers, Sidney Madden, Cyrena Touros, Suraya Mohanen, Marissa Lorusso and Lindsey McKenna.  


For thirty-three weeks so far this year, NPR served up those 17 critics in various combos each week.  


The totals?


Men appeared 97 times during that 33 week period while women were only guests 41 times.  


Meaning? Women made up only 29.7% of the guests.  


How do you not notice that?


In years past, we would have allowed for willful blindness.


At this late date?  




This is the result of overt hostility.  This does not just happen.  Nor should it happen at all.  The corporation that is NBC is striving towards diversity but NPR isn't?

Apparently not.  Apparently, it's okay to take the American people's tax dollars and use them to foster sexism.

So many people foster it. Take Michelle Morgan.

She's an 'author' who wrote a book entitled THE GIRL: MARILYN MONROE, THE SEVEN YEAR ITCH, AND THE BIRTH OF AN UNLIKELY FEMINIST.  We cringed when we read it.  We thought about being nice.  Then Rebecca's "michelle morgan's 'the girl'" and Marcia's "The Girl by Michelle Morgan" went up.  They both found the book problematic but noted it covered some new ground so they recommend it.


We don't recommend the book.


We give it a thumbs down because Michelle Morgan does cover new ground -- new ground as in ground she's made up.  Or maybe she's just too stupid to write a book on a topic she herself chose. In the midst of discussing 1954, and pondering whether Marilyn might have wanted to direct, Morgan writes:

Should she have gone down that road eventually, Marilyn would likely have been taken eve less seriously than she was already.  All searches for "female director" and "women film director" in film magazines and newspapers come up with only a handful of results and all were printed before 1943.  Dorothy Arzner was the exception in the otherwise male-dominated industry.  She started as a typist at the Famous Players-Lasky Corporation (later Paramount), but through hard work and determination had managed to become a director.  By 1932, she was working independently, and in 1936 was said to be the only female director in Hollywood.  In 1937, Arzner told the Los Angeles Times that as a lone female director, she must never raise her voice on set or act in what some might consider an unreasonable way.  According to her, society still expected her to be feminine, and swearing was totally out of the question.  By 1938, the Motion Picture Herald told readers that not one female director was under contract to any of the top fifteen producers, and by 1943, Arzner had directed her last movie.

In Great Britain, the situation was not better.  The British Newspaper Archive shows no results for "female film producer" and only two listings for "female film director.'' Both articles are from the 1940s.  Those women who dared to try their luck in the industry were met with sarcasm of disdain by the British Press.  An article in the Dunee Evening Telegraph in 1940 bore the headline "They're Doing A Man's Job" and announced that Mrs. Culley Forde was the only woman associate producer in the entire British movie industry.  She could not enjoy her success alone, of course.  Instead, the newspaper made sure to mention that she was with wife of director Walter Forde. 

A piece in the Sketch from 1946 is even worse.  Entitled "We Take Our Hat To Miss Jill Craigie," the newspaper celebrated Craigie's stats as the only female film director in England. 



Betty Box.


It's a name Michelle Morgan ignores or never learned of in her 'research.'


From 1945 to 1970, Betty Box produced (associate produced, executive produced, etc) over 50 films -- these films include the popular DOCTOR movie series. the popular 1959 remake of THE 39 STEPS, MIRANDA and the notorious bomb THE IRON PETTICOAT which teamed up Bob Hope with Katharine Hepburn.

Elinor Glyn would be another British female producer (she produced three films).  More to the point, listed or not in the sources or 'sources' Morgan checked, Elinor Glyn directed two films -- 1930's KNOWING MEN and 1930's THE PRICE OF THINGS.


And what's a producer?  Mary Field, for example, was the executive producer for RANK's CHILDREN'S FILM DIVISION from 1944 to 1950.  Or, back in the US, what about Joan Crawford? She didn't wait for films to come to her.  She found Edna Sherry's novel SUDDEN FEAR and took it to Joseph Kaufman, she was executive producer (uncredited but that was her status, check IMDB), she hired Lenore Coffee to write the script, she hired Charles Lang for cinematography and Gloria Grahme for the second female lead and she auditioned many actors (and tried to audition Marlon Brando who turned her down via his agent stating that he wasn't interested in making any mother-and-son pictures). That was 1952.  And Katharine Hepburn?  She also didn't grab the credit but was a producer on the films PHILADELPHIA STORY and WOMAN OF THE YEAR.  Bette Davis produced 1946's A STOLEN LIFE.


But if we're talking the year 1954 and an actress directing, where the hell is Ida Lupino's name?  Ida did that.  Her directing career began in 1949 when the director of NOT WANTED had a heart attack.  She was already a producer on that film and a co-writer and she became the director. NEVER FEAR, also in 1949, was the first film she was credited onscreen for directing -- and she also co-produced and co-wrote.  In 1950, she directed (and co-wrote and co-produced) OUTRAGE. Among her other films would be 1953's film noir classic THE HITCH-HIKER.  In 1953, she directed THE BIGAMIST -- and she co-starred in the film (with Joan Fontaine) -- years before Warren Beatty, Barbra Streisand or Kevin Costner were directing themselves. Ida Lupino's film directing career would end on the career high note of THE TROUBLE WITH ANGLES -- a moneymaking classic that's still aired and streamed today.  She also directed TV shows but Michelle Morgan avoids TV.


This allows her to ignore Paula Weinstein's mother.  Paula produces films today (A DRY WHITE SEASON, ANALYZE THIS, MONSTER-IN-LAW, etc).  Her mother Hannah Weinstein created and produced THE ADVENTURES OF ROBIN HOOD, a TV series that ran from 1955 to 1959.  Before 1960 dawned, she had produced four other TV shows.  


TV was in its golden age and its infancy -- maybe that's why Morgan ignored it.  But why did she ignore the theater?  The book's all about Marilyn's move to New York, her studying at The Actors Studio, her preparing scenes, her marriage to playwright Arthur Miller.  Why is the the theater not a place to discuss women behind the scenes?


Cheryl Crawford co-founded The Actors Studio.  In 1951, she directed NIGHT MUSIC on Broadway.  In 1938, she got her first Broadway producer's credit and the plays she produced included PORGY AND BESS, ONE TOUCH OF VENUS, BRIGADOON, THE ROSE TATTOO, PAINT YOUR WAGON, SWEET BIRD OF YOUTH . . .  


Or what of Irene Selznick?  In 1954, Marilyn went east, leaving Hollywood.  Irene, the daughter of MGM boss Louis B. Mayer and the wife of film producer David O. Selznick, left that life behind to go east in 1947 where she would become a Broadway producer (credits include A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE and BELL, BOOK AND CANDLE as well THE CHALK GARDEN which garnered Irene a Tony nomination).  




Again, we could go on and on.


But we're not writing a book.  Michelle Morgan thought she was writing a book so why did she render all these women -- and many more we don't have the time to list -- invisible?


More to the point, Morgan wants to make the argument that Monroe was a feminist not on Marilyn's many trailblazing accomplishments but on this or that confidence Marilyn shared with a woman.  Why this British actress defended Marilyn and that one did this and . . .


British actress?  It only reminded us that Joan Collins isn't in the book.  She should be.  Why?

That interview appeared on TV, watched by millions.  The video later posted online and has over three million views.  That's not the first time Joan Collins has shared the story of being new in Hollywood, attending a party at Gene Kelly's home and encountering Marilyn Monroe, already a star, who warned her about the men who would harass women and try to destroy their careers.  


You're writing a book arguing that Marilyn Monroe is a feminist and you don't even include that monumental moment?  That's sisterhood.  How do you ignore it?

You don't like women, that's how.  You either know about it but you don't really care and that equals you don't like women.  Or you don't know about it because you don't think women are important enough -- certainly not women who existed before you were born -- to actually do the research required to write the book you described -- described but never actually produced.

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