April 2018

Monday, September 10, 2012

Look at the log in your own eye, Seattle Times.

The Seattle Times editorial board wants to talk about education this month. I applaud their focus, but they really should talk to their photo editors, especially their sports editor, before talking to the rest of us.

I've been following photographs of men vs. photographs of women in The Times for the past couple of weeks. I started tracking gender in the paper one day in late August when I noticed that there were more photos of women in the obituary section than in the rest of the paper combined.

The Times consistently prints about four times as many photos of men than of women, if you exclude the obituaries. The Sports section exacerbates the paper's ratio. Many days, there is not even one photograph of a woman in the sports section.

In today's sports section, for example, there are ten photographs of men playing football (four of them quite large; most of them action shots). There's one rather large picture of a coach looking at a football player with some measure of disgust, and there's another headhshot of a football coach doing nothing, as far as the picture shows. 

Add to the football photos two pictures of male baseball players and one photo of a male cyclist.

That's thirteen photos of men in today's Sports section.

Today, there are two female photos, both of Serena Williams who just won the US Open. Both are small and, though she's a phenomenal athlete, both are photos of her celebrating her win with a little cheer instead of photos of her playing her sport.

Okay, maybe I've made my point, but what does this have to do with education?

This summer my twelve year-old nephew, who lives in Connecticut and delights in his New York Yankees, mocked my dedication to the Seattle Storm: "Yeah, well you cheer for a team no one's ever heard of."

My nephew has already learned that men's sports are more important than women's sports because men are more celebrated in the media. Though his sister at nine years old is a strong athlete, the media, even in what it calls the news, has been an advertiser for men's sports, convincing him that women's sports are not as significant.

It's time The Times studied its own role in education.

1 comment:

  1. You tell 'em, Mary!! There are other bad habits that still surface in their writing--and all journalistic writing--as well. For instance, when was the last time you saw a male politician being described like this: "Mr. Romney, wearing a three-piece charcoal grey Armani suit and Gucci shoes"?


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