Tuesday, December 24, 2013

When Ya Gonna Let Me Get Sober?

Hope no one's been partying too much to be able to read this. (Just kidding.  Bear with me.)

A slew of articles and TV reports warning that women are drinking too much -- way, way too much, so much so that we appear to be teetering on the edge of a public health crisis -- have turned out to be unduly alarmist, according to an analysis by a George Mason University academic that shows how careless reporting, sloppy handling of data and an inability to resist sensationalizing news have poorly served women and those who care about them.

The statistics show that males continue to consume alcohol in larger amounts than women and tend to binge drink more often, but they're not getting the amount of attention for their excesses that women are.

No one is saying that women, particularly young women experimenting with alcohol, aren't ever binge-drinking.  But distorting the data in the course of reporting about the problem delays finding a solution. George Mason's Rebecca Goldin, who wrote the analysis debunking the media reports, says journalists have to be more careful and more thorough when reporting on public health data. "Scare-mongering headlines suggesting that females are suffering worse than males or that the female trajectory is one that will invariably land them in rehab or to death are a misleading use of statistics," Goldin write.

Furthermore, media reports about the so-called increase in binge drinking about women in part blame feminism, with its championing of women's independence, for women's infatuation with the bottle, says Amanda Hess in a piece for Slate.  She was particularly irritated with media reports implying that liberation leads to liquor. "Many of these stories imply that female binge drinking is a problematic side effect of equality for women," she said.

"The fact that we are actually having this conversation shows that men and women are not yet on equal footing where drinking is concerned: When men drink, they don’t also risk calling their civil rights into question," Hess said.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Getting Less Respect in the Sports Pages

Maryland men LOSE to Ohio State in basketball and get covered on Page One of the Washington Post sports section. On the same night, the Maryland women BEAT Ohio State in basketball and get covered on Page 3.  I'm fuming.

Both the men's and women's teams were playing in the ACC-Big 10 Challenge, which set up a series of contests between teams in conferences that usually don't play one another.  And get this: among women's teams, Maryland remains the only team from either conference that is unbeaten in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge.

And for this they got Page 3?

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

New Video Documents Media Sexism During 2013

An example from "How the Media Failed Women in 2013":
an ad for Carl's Jr. hamburgers.
From Jennifer Siebel Newsom's "Miss Representation" project comes a year-in-review video of media treatment of women. "How the Media Failed Women in 2013" is a capsule of misogyny, with examples from sports, advertising, movies, television, and politics.  The four-minute video opens with heartening examples of female role models appropriately showcased by media, then moves into the realms of sexism, sexual innuendo, sexual violence, ageism and an assortment of putdowns of women that range from juvenile to patronizing to threatening.  Sure to prompt discussion when shown in a classroom or corporate setting.