News Has No Gender | Redbrick | University of Birmingham

News Has No Gender

Comment Writer Elin Kaemmer-Bailey critcises the 'female' sections in popular newspapers

The notion of a ‘female’ section of a newspaper is, to a non-gendered-newspaper-reading woman like me, totally baffling. I was not sure what to expect. I had no awareness that current affairs were gendered, that some news belonged to men and others to women. Does Redbrick fail to effectively harness a female audience by baffling women and other small-minded species with our gender-neutral news?

I began to envision a ‘Redbrick Women’ section. Perhaps it would feature blazing headlines, ‘NHS failing to tackle significant safety risks’, in pink word art or a pretty handwriting font. (Lucida is a personal favourite and much more suitable for a woman’s delicate eyes, after all.) Articles would discuss whether eating Yorkies can cause infertility, how to avoid inhaling testosterone in the workplace and ten highstreet products to help you achieve the perfect anaemic allure.

I had been sat here all this time, claiming to be a woman yet having the audacity to read news written for men

This is, of course, a load of downright b*llocks but unfortunately, the reality is not far off. The Telegraph has features on: ‘Why I hid my pregnancy from my 36,000 Instagram followers', ‘How to throw the perfect autumn garden party’ and ‘The messy divorce scandal tearing apart the Luxembourg royal family’. So, The Telegraph has decided that pregnancy, parties and divorce are the real nitty, gritty, newsworthy topics that any wholesome, well-educated woman should be concerned with. I suddenly felt disgusted at myself. I had been sat here all this time, claiming to be a woman yet having the audacity to read news written for men and ignorantly believing that garden parties happen in summer?!

To any women out there reading this, you are misled.

Redbrick Comment rarely reports on domesticity, fashion, beauty, fertility or any other genuine womanly concerns. You must immediately burn this paper, consult your doctor for estrogen supplements and refer to the female section of any decent paper to get you back the track to true femininity. All jokes aside, these female sections are arguably a dangerous force in perpetrating the wildly outdated stereotype that a woman’s business is beauty and society. Fashion and beauty are addressed in these columns in the form of editorials and news reports, creating the impression that they are the most important, newsworthy subjects that women should be concerned with. On the flipside, the ‘Men’s’ section of The Telegraph featured ‘How Paras were made battle-ready for the Falklands War’, 'Everest reduced me to tears: Sir Chris Bonington on his life in mountaineering’ and ‘Jockeys and weight loss: the dark truth about the Sport of Kings’. Adventure, sport and violence: the holy trinity for all the real men out there. Perhaps it really is a man’s world, or perhaps The Telegraph is stuck fast in the Victorian era.

The Guardian boasted a diverse range of features on politics, commerce, news and art all bearing relevance to women and women’s issues

In spite of every feminist fibre in my body rejecting the concept in disgust, I was pleasantly surprised by certain ‘Women’s’ sections. In particular, The Guardian boasted a diverse range of features on politics, commerce, news and art all bearing relevance to women and women’s issues, drawn from both historical and contemporary societies. Although the notion of exclusively ‘female issues’ still seems a rather sticky marginalisation to me, The Guardian’s ‘Women’ section is a fantastic illustration of a gender-specific media platform being used to positively promote women’s opinions. Let’s hope that the next step is to draw these exclusive ‘female’ issues and opinions into the mainstream channel of current affairs and newsworthy discourse.

2017 seems about time.



Published

9th November 2017 at 9:00 am



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Jon S



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