In Anecdotes on April 7, 2011 at 2:21 am

I finished a major research paper the other day for my journalism class, and while researching for it I found a study related to the sexuality of female anchors.  If you watch the news in the U.S. I’m sure you’ve noticed the increase in female anchors, which you’d think would be a positive change, unfortunately journalism is still an extremely gendered profession (meaning credibility and the decision to cover certain stories is determined based on gender). These women are hired for their attractiveness because the networks are attempting to increase viewership. However, the study shows that when men watch the news with attractive women they actually don’t retain any of the information being presented…so basically it’s a waste of time.

The worst part is that because these women are hired, not for their intellect, but for their bodies, they are not always capable of adequately reporting on hard-hitting news: international affairs, politics, war, finances…these topics require an understanding of history, geography at times, context, individuals, and analysis (though with the state of our media today, not even our former veteran anchors take part in what was once considered the norm for journalists), tasks these women are not trained to cover. 

The journalism profession is essential to a working democracy because it is the institution that keeps the government, businesses and people accountable for their actions, informing the public of what goes on around them.  Without this, how is society expected to educate itself and make informed decisions? The answers is simple.  They will not be able to. 

If broadcast news continues to take matter over mind, then we are in major trouble.  The news room isn’t a beauty pageant.  If you want to flaunt your physique, go elsewhere.  Network executives should be ashamed of themselves for demeaning women to physical objects that do nothing but read what they are given.  Even if a female anchor is intelligent and reliable, the network has her dress up in such a way that instead of taking her seriously, viewers are busy staring at her legs or breasts, or maybe her long glossy hair.   When you type in ‘Female Anchors’ into Google search, you find blog posts dedicated to the hottest female anchors…that is what women in communications and media have to deal with.

Here’s an article that also addresses the issue, using Katie Couric, the first female reporter to anchor alone, as a positive example:


Below is the study for further reading if interested:  

Sexual Cues Emanating From the Anchorette Chair: Implications for Perceived Professionalism, Fitness for Beat, and Memory for News, by Maria Elizabeth Grabe http://crx.sagepub.com/content/early/2010/12/13/0093650210384986.abstract?patientinform-links=yes&legid=spcrx;0093650210384986v1


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