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What Female Politics Lecturers Do Instead of Thinking: McMillan on Women in the Media

© Peter Zohrab 2013

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You can often tell what a university department is like from the quality of its graduates.  In my Men's Rights activism, I had come across at least two Labour Party graduates of Victoria University of Wellington's Political Science department, Phil Goff and Darren Hughes, before actually acquiring a Graduate Diploma in Arts (Political Science) from that department, so I knew what to expect.  Phil Goff, apart from knowing nothing about Domestic Violence, advocated the fascistly discriminatory and insanely illogical policy of imposing a greater sanction on every male offender than on every female offender just because he thought (wrongly) that male violence against females is, in general, different from, and more frequent than female violence against males!  The point is, of course, that penalties should be tailored to the individual circumstances of each crime.  Punishing every man for what you think some men do is exactly the same as the Nazi German policy in World War II of collectively punishing a whole village if one or more of its inhabitants had done something against the German occupiers.  Darren Hughes is just plain dumb:  Not only did he not know about discrimination against men -- he was so brainwashed by feminist dogma that he thought the whole idea absurd!  In addition, he heckled a member of the public (me) making a submission to Parliament, which is an abuse of power.

So I was not surprised when I saw Kate McMillan's piece on women in the media. Needless to say, it was an attempt to say that women are "symbolically annihilated" by and in the media. She states that "The results of the (Global Media Monitoring Project) are startling and suggest strongly that if the visibility and reporting of women in the news media is (sic) any measure of women's progress towards equality, there is a very long way to go, both in New Zealand and around the world" (p. 303).  However, in an article (actually, a chapter of a book) that was fifteen pages long, she devoted less than one page to a section (which was buried more than half-way through the chapter) entitled "Why gender inequality in the news media matters."  In a proper (i.e. non-feminist) academic article, the first thing you should do is explain why what you are raving on about actually matters, but feminists have such power in universities that the normal rules don't apply to them -- and then they complain that serious academics don't take them seriously!

Since the value (not!) of her chapter stands or falls on what she says in her section on why gender inequality in the news media matters, I will concentrate on analysing that.  McMillan points out that not everyone wants to be in the news, and that there are both good and bad reasons for being in the news -- victims and those held accountable for misdeeds are in the news, as well as those who have had success or good fortune.  That is a good point, but then she goes on to ignore it, assuming that any comparative invisibility is detrimental to women's interests, rather than being to their advantage, or being -- on balance -- neutral.  She does this by making unsubstantiated assumptions and neglecting to statistically separate coverage of victims and perpetrators from coverage of the fortunate and successful -- because the project that she is reporting on does not do so.  In addition, there is the obvious point that there are more male than female decision-makers, and the media cannot be expected to go around interviewing random women, just to make up some some quota!

We could contrast McMillan's brainless approach with the more professional approach of Boyce's "Manufacturing Concern: Worthy and Unworthy Victims: Headline Coverage of Male and Female Victims of Violence in Canadian Daily Newspapers, 1989 to 1992".  Boyce states:

This thesis has examined the amount and type of headline coverage given to the violent victimization of men and women. Using conservative estimates, it suggests women receive 35 to 51 times more headline coverage than men. This is inconsistent with statistics reporting that men and women are victimized at roughly equal rates (traditionally finding that men are victimized more). The vast majority of headlines emphasizing women do not quantify their victimization and do not place it in the context of male victimization. They are qualitative headlines which cover a range of issues from personal stories of victimization to violence as a social problem as, over the four years studied, “violence against women” comes to refer to an ever-widening range of acts. I have suggested that the coverage found in these headlines may be the result of (i) a predisposition in the media, before 1989, to report domestic and sexual violence specifically in terms of women, (ii) the media’s portrayal of the Montreal murders as symbolic of violence against women and (iii) the media’s use of sources which focus on women’s issues.

We can see here why McMillan would not refer to Boyce's research, which she probably had not even heard of.  The same trend of hyping up female victimhood that Boyce found in the media could no doubt be found in academia -- and McMillan's article is a case in point.  There is a huge academic industry devoted to hyping up female victimhood, as a study like Boyce's that looked at the titles of academic research would no doubt discover.  This combined campaign by feminists in the MUC (Media-University Complex) probably results in women achieving more and more political successes at the expense of men -- but that needs to be researched into.  Catch-22: Most universities are controlled by feminists and would not allow such research to take place!


(*Kate McMillan: "Newsflash: 'Men and Women still unequal!': New Zealand and the Global Media Monitoring Project 2005," in McMillan, Leslie and McLeay, Rethinking Women and Politics, Wellington, New Zealand:Victoria University Press, 2009.)


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Peter Douglas Zohrab

Latest Update

15 July 2022