Sexism in Journalism

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“I would like to pursue live broadcasting and reporting and I think the only real barrier to this would be that I would have to show physical attractiveness.” Maddie Alpen, 19

With the introduction of social media has come the online harassment, sexist remarks and comments to female journalists and reporters. Social media users have used the media platforms to target female reporters and journalists over their physical appearance rather than their actual news reporting. But, its not just social media that is targeting female reporters over their physical appearance, but also television stations and websites.

Female journalist’s have been subject to the societal pressures of beauty, with television stations and websites opting for the ‘prettier’ female reporters over their ability to report the news. When asked if societal pressures of beauty are effecting journalism, Maddie Alpen responded, “Yes, I feel there is a pressure still for those involved in the practice of journalism. I feel like this especially effects reporters. It is very rare that we see a reporter on a big time television news programme that isn’t attractive.”

Social media also has an opinion on female reporters covering issues that are typically male dominated such as sports journalism. Many female sports journalists have been turned down, simply for the fact that they were female, and that them being female would not resonate well with the audience. Talking to Georgia Stelja, the topic about a potential career in a male dominated career such as sports journalism arose.

Asking if she was worried, Stelja replied “No, I’m very competitive and determined. I don’t care if society believe that males are only allowed to talk and play sport. I’ll do it and do it better.“

Feminist organisations such as the National Organisation for Women have fought to ensure that their is equality in the workforce, however, journalism continues to see a higher ratio of women to men.

Journalism student Matt Kearins feels that sexism in journalism will not fade with this new wave of feminism. “I feel like there is going to be some form of sexism in journalism for quite a while. It’s not because the people in journalism are sexist, it’s because the major public is still sexist.”

He went on to say that, “once the public values a woman’s opinion the same as a man’s then journalism will become more equal because then women will be able to write with the same assumed authority that men have.”

Aspiring sports journalist Garth Burley believes, however, that feminism has already had a large impact on the journalism world. “I think there has been a massive change in the last 5 years in regards to the employment of women. I feel journalism is an industry when the ratio of male to female is fairly even, and therefore i don’t think it will impact this particular industry severely at all.”

Female journalists have faced a series of sexist remarks and hateful comments due to the introduction of social media. Societies pressures on beauty has caused television networks to overlook the ability to report news and focus on how beautiful the reporter is, leaving the world of journalism with a tag. Sexist.

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