Friday, June 17, 2016

Changes In Attitudes

 Nothing remains quite the same.
-Jimmy Buffett,  Changes In Latitudes, Changes In Attitudes

Last night when the NBC Nightly News did their report on the assassination of British Member of Parliament Jo Cox by a crazed killer, they began this way:

"There are shock waves in the U.K. and across the world after a rising star member of of Parliament, a young mother of two, was brutally ambushed and killed after meeting with constituents."

"A young mother of two." When it comes to sexism it's the little things that are telling. For NBC News the important thing was not her name but the fact that she was a mother. Do you think if male MP or US Senator had been murdered NBC would put the fact that he was a father of two in the opening paragraph?

This may seem like a trivial detail to you but it brought back memories of when news stories about African-Americans were always written this way, "John Doe, Negro,.." or "Jane Doe, Colored,..." making a person's skin color the defining part of him or her. By putting "a young mother of two" in their opening paragraph NBC is implying that Jo Cox being a mother is the defining part of both her and all women just as skin color was the defining part of all African-Americans back in the dark ages before the first Civil Rights Movement.

Jo Cox was killed because of her work and because she was a member of Parliament, which in itself was a remarkable accomplishment (Right now, there are only 190 women in Parliament out of 659 members). Jo Cox was a Member of Parliament who happened to also be a mother, Jo Cox was not a Mother who also happened to be a Member of Parliament. When our society finally understands the difference between these views of women we will be closer to the gender equality women are due as human beings and American citizens. 

NBC News report here.


Blue Witch said...

191 of our MPs are now female.

Actually, that's now 190 I suppose...

While our news did use the 'mother of two' line it certainy wasn't in the opening paragraph, and they'd have used 'father of two' in the same way, I'm sure.

la peregrina said...

The news here as uses the "father of two" line too but not in the first paragraph of a story about the death of a politician. And thanks for the info about women MPs I will correct the number. I got my number from the Google so I am not surprised it was wrong.