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    representations of men

    Someone I know recently posted a statistic (from a PhD study by an unnamed researcher at the University of Western Sydney) that claimed that "[m]en were predominately reported or portrayed in mass media as villains, aggressors, perverts and philanderers, with more than 75 per cent of all mass media representations of men and male identities showing men in one of these four ways."

    I counter-claimed that this could be empirically disproven by a casual glance at a newspaper, but it did get me wondering about the numbers. So I took a look at the front page of the New York Times website this morning. Here are links taken from that page that contain explicit reference to specific, individual men:

    • [Thomas] Friedman: Moderates Exist

    • [Ross] Douthat: Could defeat in court help Obama win? (2 men)

    • [Mark] Bittman: Ads Aim at Kids

    • Room for Debate: Is Paul Ryan Budget Viable?

    • Guide: Challenges to Obama’s Health Care Law

    • 2 Israeli Leaders [Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak] Make the Iran Issue Their Own (2 men)

    • Tibetan Exiles Rally Around Delhi Self-Immolator [Jamphel Yeshi]

    • Strength and Weakness in Campaign of Ron Paul

    • Diner’s Journal: Don Draper and the Delicate Art of Restaurant Renovation

    • Tebow, a Careful Evangelical

    • JetBlue to Review Procedures After Pilot Meltdown: CEO [Dave Barger]

    • US. Sen. [Scott] Brown Gets New National Guard Assignment

    • [Mark] Zuckerberg in China, Let The Rumors Begin

    • Assad Accepts Cease-Fire; Opponents Are Skeptical

    • Passengers Restrain Captain [Clayton Osbon] After Crisis on JetBlue Flight

    • Hilton Kramer, Art Critic and Champion of Tradition in Culture Wars, Dies at 84

    • Gingrich Is Cutting Staff to Shift Focus to Convention

    • Group Led by Magic Johnson Wins Auction to Buy Dodgers for $2.15 Billion

    • Climate Prophet [Mohamed Nasheed] in Hot Water

    • Eric Lowen, Half of a Singing-Writing Duo, Dies at 60

    • Bert Sugar, Boxing Writer and Commentator, Is Dead at 75

    • ArtsBeat: Ask the 'Hunger Games' Director [Gary Ross] Your Questions

    • Books of The Times: The Tracks of an Author’s, and a Reader’s, Tears [Reader= Dwight Garner]

    • Books of The Times: Gentleman Who Finds Terrorism Amusing [Lionel Shriver]

    • THE FIFTH DOWN: Scouting the Draft: Mississippi State's Fletcher Cox

    • INDIA INK: India's Minister for Sanitation [Jairam Ramesh] Promises End to Open Defecation in a Decade

    • Obama vs. [John] Boehner: Who Killed the Debt Deal?

    • The Ethicist [Randy Cohen]: Calling All Carnivores

    • LATITUDE: Jesus for Jews

    • Theater Review: Volleys of Words From a Writer of No Brevity [David Foster Wallace]

    Eliminating the duplicate Obamas, I count 31 men here: politicians, writers, athletes, businessmen, filmmakers, religious leaders. Two are notable "philanderers" (Don Draper, Newt Gingrich) although neither of these articles "report[s] or portray[s]" these men as a philanderer. I'll act in a spirit of generosity and count Draper, but not Gingrich.

    Similarly, a few of these people could be considered "aggressors" depending on your outlook (Gingrich? Ron Paul? Emud Barak?) but, again, none of the articles focus explicitly on their "aggressor" nature, so my count there is zero.

    The JetBlue pilot behaved "erratically," not necessarily "aggressively," but again, in the spirit of fairness, I'll count him as a "villain."

    Whoever covers the "pervert" beat at the NYT must have had the day off, cause I don't see any here.

    Total count: 2, or 6.4% of 31.

    For contrast, by the way, here are links taken from that page that contain explicit reference to specific, individual women:

    • Joan Nathan's Matzo Balls

    • Killing of Iraqi Woman [Shaima Alawadi] Shakes Community

    • Books of The Times: The Tracks of an Author’s, and a Reader’s, Tears [Author=Cheryl Strayed]

    • T Magazine: Look of The Moment | January Jones

    Four women! One cook, one actress (noted here for her "look"), one victim of violence, and—thank God—one author, who shares space in her headline with a (male) reader. So, if you're going to talk to me about disparities in gender representation, let's start the conversation here.

    I will conclude by noting that there are a few big articles about the Supreme Court, which if I counted them as being articles about three women and six men would up the count of women in today's NYT to seven, up the count of men to thirty-seven, and reduce the percentile of men portrayed as "'villains, aggressors, perverts [or] philanderers" to 5.4%.

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    Wednesday, March 28, 2012
    8:47 AM


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