Women of the world, take over (the Media)

Posted by Jason Diamond

There is something really off about Joe Scarborough, the host of MSNBC’s early show, Morning Joe.  He’s smug and he clumsily tip toes around his Republican past as it doesn’t quite gel with his current gig as the host of a liberal-slanting talk show.  But what’s worst of all is the dismissive way he treats his co-host, Mika Brzezinski.  After watching Morning Joe nearly every morning for nearly a year, I wait for the moment when Brzezinski smartly counter-argues whatever Scarborough is talking about, and she is almost always inevitably shut down by the former congressman with a “Oh you little woman with your simple opinions,” wave of the hand.  Scarborough basically makes fun of Brzezinski.  He talks down to her, stares at her, and frankly, creeps me out through the television screen.  It is so blatant, that I’m surprised it is still going on.  I’m willing to bet Brzezinski decision to report on real news instead of Paris Hilton doesn’t sit too well with Joe.

I’m not sure if Mika Brzezinski puts up with Joe Scarborough’s misogyny because it’s her job to sit there and take it, but as a viewer, it’s hard to watch.  Mika Brzezinski is an incredibly articulate woman, and Scarborough, frankly, seems like a schmuck.  I watch Morning Joe nearly every day, and I wonder to myself, “Why hasn’t anybody else noticed this?”  And “When will it end?”

The New Yorker article on Facebook C.O.O. Sheryl Sandberg (pictured above) got me thinking about a day, hopefully in the near future, when women are treated as equals, not only in Silicon Valley and the media, but in the workforce as a whole.

I’m not naïve.  White, male privilege isn’t going to just go away overnight.  But I look at Sandberg over at Facebook, and the recent rise of women in top positions at media outlets from Jill Abramson the New York Times and Tina Brown at Newsweek, and I can’t help but think that (wage gap aside, which is a whole longer post than this) women will be running the media by the end of the next decade, and that’s a prospect I like.  Here are a few reasons why this could (and should) happen:

1.     Men in media have become quite pleased with themselves, and the magazines and websites created and curated “for men” really are offering only the lowest hanging fruit.  Meanwhile, smart sites centered on women’s issues like Jezebel, The Hairpin, and Crushable are running circles around them in terms of content and influence.

2.     When I was a kid, I had a hard time wrapping my head around the idea of anti-Semitism, and the fact that for generations before mine, Jews were looked at as the lowest of the low, and given very little opportunity to advance.  Meanwhile, all I heard about were all the Jews that had risen to the top of nearly every industry.  When I couldn’t understand how an entire culture could be kept down for so long, and then rise so quickly, my mother offered me the advice that Jews were “good at banding together.” It almost seems to me that women in the media are beginning to do the same thing, and we’re closing in on an era of either female equality in the media, or female domination of it.  With the world of media and Silicon Valley not being too far apart, I’d be willing to wager that the same goes for the world of tech startups and internet giants alike.

Some of the smartest media people I know are women.  Female editors, writers, and publishers are in abundance, and I get the feeling that the more they mobilize and work together, the sooner we will see those particular worlds becoming female dominated.

And with the current state of things, that might be for the best.