north-rejecting-2009.pdf (113.97 kB)
Rejecting the ‘F-word’: How ‘feminism’ and ‘feminists’ are understood in the newsroom
journal contributionposted on 2009-12-01, 00:00 authored by Louise North
Feminist media scholarship in the past 30 years has focused on the representation of women in the media while an understanding of those who produce the representations has received little attention. In this article I am concerned with how some Australian journalists understand and experience the social/political movement of feminism and its advocates, feminists, as news sources and colleagues. I particularly focus on fleshing out how female journalists and those who identify as feminist discuss, negotiate, compromise and sometimes ‘survive’ a masculine newsroom culture. Moreover, I ask why it is that male and female journalists in my interviews — feminist-identified or not — resist or reject embracing or using the terms ‘feminism’ and ‘feminist’ in the context of the newsroom. A decade ago, Kay Schaffer astutely noted that feminism had become a ‘scare word’ in media discourse. I take this idea a step further by analysing more broadly how some journalists talk about ‘feminism’ and ‘feminists’.