Tuesday, April 1, 2008

News for Women: Dieting Secrets, Make-up Tips and Other Info Relevant to Your World!

AS THE DEMASSIFICATION of the media continues, niche media becomes increasingly more prevalent. In recent years, there has been a massive push toward attracting female viewers. I call it the other "Oprah effect."

The View launched in 1997. Fox29 began a 5:00 PM newscast last year targeting women. And six months ago, the Today Show added a fourth hour to their morning program. It's dedicated to women.

"It is an hour dominated by extreme weight-loss stories, ambush makeovers and recipes for carrot cake so good that it will make a man propose," according to a story in Sunday's Washington Post.

The article continues: By the time the fourth hour hits the airwaves at 10 a.m., the content not only becomes so diluted that it is readily understandable by a 10-year-old, it also harks back to another era -- a time when, say, the idea of a woman being a serious contender for the White House was unthinkable.

Which evokes the question: By pandering to women, are you insulting their intelligence? Aren't you assuming that all women are vapid, superficial and, well, stupid?

Should the audience be considered when journalists are deciding what news should be presented and how it should be provided?

13 comments:

Melissa Marsili said...

I think the article in the Washington Post is trying to make it seem like women don't get their news from anywhere else. Who is to say that women aren't watching the other 3 hours of the newscast? Is women watching a segment about fashion or dieting really that different than men watching Mike and Mike in the morning on ESPN? I think it's articles like the one mentioned in the Washington Post that send women back so many years.

Anna Berezowska said...

I agree with Melissa. Besides sometimes the "woman focused" segments can be educational and don't necessarily have to be only about make-up and whatnot.

Marissa said...

In response to the previous comment, women-based newscasts are meaningful and educational. Even if there are segments about make-up and dieting, it does not belittle a woman's intelligence, it adresses a problem that almost every woman faces. Men and women inevitably have different confidence issues and different concerns.

Ariela Rose said...

I agree with the other comments. Just because women are watching the "women focused" segments of news shows does not mean they are not watching other news stations. Not to mention the fact that most women are also getting news and intelligent information from newspapers, magazines, books etc. Men and women have different needs and a focus on weight loss and make overs isn't pointing out that women are shallow and stupid it's simply just a display of a few of the many things women are interested in.

Geo said...

Granted, women get their primary news elsewhere.

But these programs, according to the Washington Post story, try to attract a female audience by highlighting topics they believe will attract a female audience. And those items tend to be things like hairstyling secrets and "how to know if your man is cheating" segments.

Can't you attract a female audience by showcasing stories about women in power positions, like CEO's, university presidents, entrepreneurs, community leaders, activists, etc?

Can't these shows that are geared toward women actually be used to empower women? Shouldn't they?

Back in the day, Ms. magazine championed the great things women achieved.

These days, women's magazines tell you how to get tight abs in ten days.

- George (the teacher who encourages women - and everyone else - to aspire to greater things)

Anonymous said...

i agree with everyone so far that thinks this is a bit absurd. That Wash Post story is quite demeaning, as well as the claims that women only tune into the view and oprah. I feel like this is an example of networks trying to target "niche" (or however you spell that word) markets, but a very poor attempt at such. I agree with "Geo" that these shows should profile women in power, and doing other inspiring things because thats really how it is. most girls i know in college absorb more knowledge then us guys do, so they are the ones that are gonna be more qualified for jobs when we get out here.
guido.

Monika said...

I think they could also include information like, how to help prepare children for college, maybe a who's who in powerful /up and coming women locally, and other information about local womans issues.
They tend to try to feed the same type of information to women to be on the safe side.
For example, Food, weight, men, which we do enjoy, but it seems no station seems willing to up the anti and broaden the horizons.
They should widen their idea of a story and include things that single successful business women would care to see also.

Kayte Ljungquist said...

I do not agree with it. I wouldn't watch an hour of that. I watch the "regular" news like anyone else. Why do I need an extra hour just because I'm a women

Melissa said...

I think that programs like this, and other shows meant for entertainment, like Rachael Ray, Oprah, Ellen, etc. are mostly targeted at domestic life, and yes, how to bake the perfect apple pie. Chances are, these women are housewives, stay at home mom's, etc. But then again...to suggest that it's just women is just as bad as the programs stereotyping women. I know a guy who likes watching RR, and I'm sure stay at home Dads get their fix of Ellen.

But in order for some of these segments to run, they need financial support and sponsors such as the company behind the perfect highlights. It's better than Cosmo, at least, that runs the same articles again and again, but that's entertainment for some, and the world we live in.

There are a lot of "female focused" media outlets out there. But some of them are worth putting up with the fluff. Barack Obama was on Ellen, and I'm sure a lot of people had a chance to get to know him when they usually wouldn't pay attention. O Magazine has articles based on psychology theories, (written by men), and really good book recommendations.

To see women voicing their opinions is great. Whether it be about global warming or weight loss, it's nice to see that we're slowly moving towards a world that puts it ALL out there, for us to pick and choose for ourselves. Who knows- maybe a male talk show about hair loss and how to make the best nachos is next.

veronika said...

Ok, so us women might not agree that all we want to see is the perfect recipe for carrot cake and hair styling tips. In fact, we do indeed watch the other 3 hours of the news, and seek to better ourselves by looking at other prevalent women in history, rather than the seeking success through ambush makeovers.

BUT, there is a reason why there is any hour dedicated to this stuff. Women care, and I think that all of these little things (diet, makeovers, so on) only add to the success of an overall woman. Today's woman is successful in more than one category. Not only does a woman have to be a powerful business woman today, but she also has to be able to draw her man in with her carrot cake, or whatever. So in a sense, this segment was created because a good deal of women are interested, and that's ok, but that is not to say that we only focus on these things day to day. But in a nutshell, I really do think that this was created to draw women in. It makes perfect sense.

Anonymous said...

monica sellecchia

I dont believe that when these women host their shows and give advice and discuss issues that women face that they are belittling women. I think their catering to an audience of women of all kind whether it be mothers, grandmothers, businesswomen, etc. Women have been reading magazines directed to them for so long and now they can just get the info on TV. Sometimes these shows can be a bit overbearing and quite monotonous, however, they still get viewers and the show must go on. On these shows it's important to speak about women as being strong and successful and not focus on the old descriptions of subservient and weak. Women watch these shows, so if they didnt agree with what was being shown than they wouldn't watch, therefore, they must not be bothered by it.

Geo said...

Is feminism dead? Have we completely accepted the roles assigned to us because of our gender? Luring men in with carrot cake is acceptable? I hope that man has a high paying job so he can support the family.

- George (the tragically confused teacher)

K. Meyers said...

Most of the news or stories posted just for women are very misleading. First off, fad diets are bad for you. Eating just one thing or a small combination of things starves your body of essential nutrients; you will end up packing on weight cause your body will be in a state of shock. I think that news stories directed towards female readers is a great idea, as long as they give quality information and not fad crap.
Also, who cares what Oprah reads; the only thing she most likely reads is a teleprompter.