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My post about the number of men vs. women in progressive media stirred up a hornetís nest. And thatís a good thing, if it got people thinking. You can discuss the issue at Daily Kos or at Democratic Underground, where Iíve been mightily criticized for my criteria, and even for bringing up this subject at all. See some of the email exchanges, below the list.
Males vs. Females in Progressive Media
Is it possible that twice as many men as women are worthy progressive commentators? If we go by the numbers of those who have a platform, we might be led to that conclusion.
You may quibble about my criteria in the lists below, but you cannot deny that men substantially outnumber women in commentary that should include such issues as putting the sexes on an equal footing. These lists do not, and are not meant to, constitute a scientific study, so please donít write to tell me that you disagree with a particular inclusion or exclusion. Itís just one personís perception. Look at the big picture, and then try to tell me Iím wrong.
Oh, and while Iím at it, may I mention that as far as I know there are only six African Americans on these lists?
Carolyn Kay (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Radio talk show hosts
(On at least one sizeable land-based broadcast station, weekday program at least two hours in length, not a sidekick)
Peter B. Collins
Colbert I. King
(The ones best known among progressives, in my opinion)
Magazine writers and editors
(Includes online magazinesósome of the magazines do not pay their columnists)
James K. Galbraith
Katrina vanden Heuvel
(Progressives who have had a book on a political subject published within the last couple of years)
James Carville and Paul Begala
Jacob Hacker and Paul Pierson
John Judis and Ruy Teixeira
Mark Crispin Miller
Markos Moulitsas Zķniga and Jerome Armstrong
Katrina vanden Heuvel
(In the Technorati Top 100)
Duncan Black (Atrios)
Joshua Micah Marshall
Markos Moulitsas Zķniga
Emails regarding this topic are posted below. Please be aware that the right-wing reasons expressed in these messages are coming from so-called progressives. It's a reflection of how successfully the right wing has influenced thought and discussion in this country.
Message from Paul V:
Caro, for the first time ever I must take exception to your items about the gender of those in the progressive media. There are two components:
1) The expectations that every endeavor in life must be equally represented by every possible human classification.
2) The implication that this intentional, to keep "the other' down or out.
Both are significant liberal ways of "thinking" far too often...
The lists almost made me laugh. First of all, the vast majority of men listed I have never even heard of! Me, a dyed in the wool liberal media wonk. Contrarily, I have at least a passing acquaintance of almost all of the women. What that list also tells me, is that the opportunity for a woman to break into the progressive media as a woman is a hell of a lot easier than for a man! Think about that, "you" have only a few women to compete against, men have a lot more other men. Before you say, "But 'I' am also competing against the men." that would only hold true if "you" were gender blind, and the hiring authorities were. Obviously, neither are.
Life is unfair. Unfair is not the same as unethical or immoral. If there was a law discriminating against women in the field, that is patently legally and ethically wrong. But there isn't...
But what if it isnít intentional? What if itís one of those insidious biases we donít even know we have? If thatís the case, how will we ever get past it, if we donít acknowledge it? We used to call it ďconsciousness raisingĒ in the 60s.
If you object to my criteria, or my inclusions in the list, why donít you make your own list? Iíd be interested to see the result.
All I ask is that I be evaluated on my own merits, but I donít think I am. I have some talent as a writer, and sometimes a unique perspective, but I havenít been able to break down the formidable barriers against getting paid in this business. I donít consider it competing, I just want someone to take me seriously, despite the facts that Iím female, almost 62 years old, live in flyover country, didnít go to an Ivy League college, and am not independently wealthy.
I want to be judged on the strength of my ideas and my ability to express them, but I donít think thatís whatís happening.
It doesnít take a law against something to make it ethically wrong. You know that.
Message from Alan R
Here's why: Women aren't applying for the positions.
It's that simple. No great sexist conspiracy to keep women down here.
In general, women aren't as attracted to careers in politics as men are.
In fact, if you adjust the figures to reflect the ratio of applicants, I believe you'll find that women actually have a BETTER chance of succeeding in political careers than men do. So no affirmative action is necessary.
Don't complain to men. It's not our fault that women aren't interested in politics.
Better chance. Number of applicants. Uh huh. I showed you an actual list. You gave me hunches.
The members of the political message groups I belong to and the readers of MakeThemAccountable are at least 50% women.
Time to think up another hunch.
Message from Shirley J
It must be terrible to be so insecure and have such low self-esteem. All you feminists are alike. You feel so very threatened and intimidated by anything that is male-dominated. Why is that? People like you make me ashamed and embarrassed to be a woman. I couldn't care less if something is dominated by males. How come it bothers you so much? What is the big deal? Who cares? You and your ilk act as if it is always a bad thing for something to be male-dominated. What is really pathetic about you is that you act as if you live in some fantasy world where you expect everything to be equal. People are not equal. They never have been, and they never will be. As much as you hate to admit it, men and women are DIFFERENT! THEY ARE NOT EQUAL! The world has never been equal for everybody and it never will be. Why can't you accept that and stop living in a dream world?...
Well, Shirley, I guess those slaves on the plantations, shucking and jiving and singing their hymns, were having just a great time, too.
Maybe my concern has something to do with needing to eat from time to time. And have a roof over my head. And, God forbid, go to the doctor every now and then. And I want to be able to do that by working for pay in an area where I have a bit of talent and a lot of passion.
What I want is an equal chance, not an equal result.
Yes, that definitely makes me sick in the head.
May 2006 update on book authors:
I canít help but see a certain pattern in recently released progressive books. Do you see it, too?
Sam Seder and Stephen Sherrill
Jerome Armstrong, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga
[They can barely find one woman to even co-author a book. Must not be enough applicants. Click here to read my book proposal, for which I can't find a publisher.óCaro]