Saturday, April 26, 2003

The boys and their toys -- gender and war in Iraq

Although there has been much comment about the jingoistic nationalism, triumphalism and lack of balance in American news coverage in the war in Iraq, little notice has been given to a feature that oozed from just about every story -- the heavily macho undercurrent in much of the journalism. The following excerpt from the Daily Telegraph offers an interesting commentary on this dimension of the shabby reporting characteristic of today's brain dead news troops.


Kate Adie attacks 'macho' Gulf war coverage

By Sarah Womack, Social Affairs Correspondent
(Filed: 19/04/2003)

Kate Adie, the former BBC chief news correspondent,
has criticised the "macho" coverage of the Gulf war,
which she said ignored rape, rarely sought out a
woman's viewpoint and patronised female soldiers.

Miss Adie, who made her reputation as a war
correspondent in the last Gulf war, said the conflict
was a determinedly "Boy's Own area", with tabloid
newspapers in particular retaining an 18th-century
view of women.

"Time and again I have been conscious of a
wholesale concentration on the technical, tactical
aspects of warfare, the anorak syndrome, small
boys' fascination with toys," she told a Royal Society
of Arts debate in Manchester.

"It means that those things which conventionally
interest the male audience are concentrated on, and
women disappear from a landscape in which tanks
are rolling and missiles shooting."

Miss Adie said women who were not soldiers were
frequently depicted as miserable, helpless victims. A
typical camera shot was of elderly women in
shadows sitting forlorn next to ruined houses.

"Women fade into the background of the actual
action but they might have opinions that they wish
to add. But there is noticeable embarrassment if
women intrude into what is conventionally a male
playing field still."

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