Rampant sexism on CNN

Today’s edition of CNN.com includes this story about the Howard Stern show and its recent troubles. It includes this line about Robin Quivers:

What the hell do Quivers’s age, appearance, and weight have to do with her merits as a radio entertainer? Doing a little digging, I note that Howard Stern is 50 years old, also not looking his age, also fairly trim, but these facts are NOT considered important by the CNN reporter.

Apparently, if you’re a female, how you look is always relevant.

Uh… yeah. In this society, how a woman looks IS relevant.

I’m not saying it’s right (or wrong), it’s just a fact. Even if looks aren’t important to a woman herself, others will still judge her by them.

I read the article, which was more about Ms. Quivers’s triumph over her health problems than about Mr. Stern. In that context, the statement about Robin’s appearance is appropiate. Look at the top of the page, which says it’s an Entertainment story, which means “not news.”

If not for this thread, I never would have read anything about the boring Howard Stern. Howard has his audience, and I’m not part of it.

i guess you are not aware of the fact that overweight women are paid 30% less on average than women of normal weight ?

and i think thats great :slight_smile:

There’s no possible way you’re not going to get stabbed in the butt for that statement, no matter how many smilies you stick on it.
I too have noticed a slight difference in approaching subjects of articles depending on if they are male or female. Women are more likely to have their number of children reported, and much more likely to have their clothing reported. I will note though, that IME this is more likely if the reporter herself is female. I think these are just things that women notice and care about when it comes to other women (generally) more than men.

For instance, I’m so much not into concentrating on kidlets at this stage, or obsessing about personal presentation that it might not occur to me to mention them about anyone, unless they directly related to the main thrust of the article. But women seem to care more. And that’s ok. They don’t have to do things just like me. And if they did, they’d be guys in women suits, and, um, ick.

( no cite )

Actually, the story isn’t about the Howard Stern show and its recent troubles. It’s a personal puff piece about (and interview with) Quivers and her perspective on the Howard Stern show and its recent troubles. The headline says as much. Part of her perspective involves her recent life which, if one were to ask her, would probably include her joy at having taken control of her weight and depression.

If I were reading a personal interview George Lucas I would expect to see some comment about his “indefatigable hairline” and “elfin features.” If I were reading an interview with Harrison Ford I’d expect them to mention that he’s a six-footer and still in pretty good shape for a man of sixty—or more likely, some commentary about the size and value of his house and property (“we were sitting in Ford’s spacious living room of his 40 gazillion acre ranch on Venus”). Why is it sexist when they mention the physical appearance of a woman in a story about her?

Here’s a recent article about Michael Moore

Or Ethan Hawke?

Jerry Falwell?

Rush Limbaugh?

Jerry Lewis?

People are concerned with weight. When celebrities lose or gain weight, people will comment on it – regardless of gender.

Sexist? Nope.

Please ignore the bit up there about “Jerry Falwell.” I have no freaking idea who Scott Fawell is or how that ended up in there. :o

I think I’ll move this to Cafe Society.

And I have lost weight-thank you for noticing. :smiley:

Rampant Paranoia, on Straight Dope.

Because, I mean, an article devoted to her simply cannot comment on her appearance at all, it would be totally out of line.

points and laughs

What I want to know is how does an entertainment reporter making a comment on how nice someone looks for their age qualifies as anything other than a compliment.

Rampant sexisim? Yeah just like my neighbor commented on how much my boy had grown last year. Damn pedophile.

Once upon a time, someone noticed that some women who had extraordinary good looks were (rightly or wrongly) able to “go far” in life basically by trading on such looks, rather than having talent, ambition, using hard work, etc.

Many of these someones considered this unfair, saying that there were unattractive women of great drive, intelligence, talent, and ambition that were simply passed over in favor of the good lookers.

Somehow, this then became twisted around to the idea that we must never ever state in print that a women is attractive, or mention her looks, or whatever. I suppose all women are supposed to wear sackcloth and hornrim glasses.

Rather extreme, in my view.

Like I said, how a woman looks IS relevant in our society. However, I think in some instances extradordinary good looks can work against a woman as well as for her. For instance, if a stauesque, heavy-busted platinum blond woman with sky-blue eyes has ambitions of being an auto mechanic I think her looks will work against her - for some reason, I think folks take female auto mechanics more seriously when they’re flat-chested with mousy brown hair. Maybe it’s just that folks are worried that the blond got her job based mostly on looks and the brunette must have been hired for her skills because it certainly wasn’t looks.

Anyhow, the comment in the Robin Givens article didn’t seem out of place - it was in the context of overcoming some health issues. And she does work in the entertainment world, where looks can be a factor in one’s career.

I just watched an episode of Kim Possible yesterday where a rather attractive female robotics expert (complete with “beauty mark” :wink: ) created a robot man (a rather large robot man). She convinced everyone that the robot was actually the robotics expert, while she was simply his girlfriend, since she found it really difficult to be taken seriously and get work in the field. The robot would get hired and she’d continue her work in it’s shadow. Throughout the episode, a number of characters questioned how the rotund robot-man could have acquired such a beautiful girlfriend, speculating that he was really rich or really funny, or whatnot. In the end, when the truth was revealed, Kim Possible’s scientist father hired her.


It’s not just CNN. American culture is obsessed with female beauty. Look in a mens’ magazine some time – you’ll see pictures of women. Now look in a womens’ magazine – more pictures of women.

When I got home tonight, Mrs. Lucwarm was watching a TV Special on the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

And the kicker: If a man is thin and handsome and pays attention to his appearance, people tend to think he’s gay!!

Hmmm. Sounds like Remington Steel.