National NOW Foundation Times >> Spring 2009  >> Article

NOW Launches Next Generation Media Hall of Shame

By Lisa Bennett, Communications Director

NOW and the NOW Foundation have long recognized that women will not be truly equal until we have full and fair representation in the media. As far back as 1966, NOW's founders addressed the impact of media on women's lives. Ever since then, NOW's leaders and members have fought for media justice for women.

During the 2008 presidential elections, media misogyny reached toxic levels. Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin were the targets of the some of the most extraordinarily sexist (and racist) attacks we've witnessed in a long time. It's long been true, however, that all women who serve in or run for political office (and the women and girls in politicians' families) are subject to gender-based double standards and slurs. Remember the verbal abuse Rush Limbaugh heaped upon Chelsea Clinton when she was only 13 years old? In case you don't, Rush referred to her as the White House "dog" among other egregious offenses.

Insults like this serve to demean and stereotype all women and girls. NOW originally created the Media Hall of Shame to call attention to some of the worst offenders from the 2008 election coverage. We asked visitors to the website to rate these "Hall of Shamers" on our misogyny meter, and the bottom of the barrel were dis-honored at last year's National NOW Conference.

The popularity of the Media Hall of Shame led us to create a 2.0 version that will launch in time for the 2009 conference. This time around, we're featuring outrages that take place both within and beyond the politically-focused news media. We'll be covering content from primetime television, movies, music, advertising, the Internet, kids' TV, video games and more.

NOW often speaks out against a wide range of media violations, and we're now going to compile them in one spot. We may even spotlight a positive example of women-friendly media every once and a while.

And, best of all, we still want to know what you think. In addition to rating each one of our posted offenders, anyone can nominate an offender (or a positive example) to the Hall of Shame, and the most popular or outrageous nominees may get added to the website. Most importantly, women's rights supporters can take action by talking back to the media through the website.

Read more about NOW's work on media issues and check out the next generation of the Media Hall of Shame this summer.