How to Get Away With Sexism at MSNBC

I've got a new piece at The Guardian's CifA about their evident policy of policing misogyny only when it's apparent in naked slurs, and how that policy not only teaches their hosts how to Do Misogyny and Get Away With It, but also entrenches the culture in which feminists who object to covert misogyny can be silenced with accusations of seeking out offense.
The effective result of MSNBC's double standard is that, far from discouraging its employees from engaging in misogyny, it actually rewards them for conveying their prejudices by dogwhistle sexism. Ostensibly banning the use of rank slurs, without penalising the sentiments behind them, elides the real and serious problem of gender bias in favour of a policy that essentially reduces to "don't get caught".

The consequence of the PR-sensitive but female-insensitive MSNBC policy, which tolerates misogyny as long as it contains no undeniable slurs, is to ensure that the most insidious brand of women-hatred is broadcast on their network, via plausibly deniable wink-wink implications, objections to which can be dismissed out of hand by labelling critics as "over-reacting" and "hypersensitive", "reading into things" and "looking for stuff to get mad about" – all the usual silencing techniques wielded against feminists who challenge institutional gender bias.

Thus is the "I don't see it, so you're a feminist hysteric" nature of public conversations about misogyny in media perpetuated, as if sexism cannot be objectively assessed. (Spoiler alert: it can.)
Read the whole thing here.

Shakesville is run as a safe space. First-time commenters: Please read Shakesville's Commenting Policy and Feminism 101 Section before commenting. We also do lots of in-thread moderation, so we ask that everyone read the entirety of any thread before commenting, to ensure compliance with any in-thread moderation. Thank you.

blog comments powered by Disqus