Women In The Media

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. terject, does she have the same power that a man would have in her same position. Although there were no offensive headlines to announce Cathleen Blacks appointment to presidency, I came across an interview in which she was referred to as a top-ranking woman executive in magazine publishing (Outlook Magazine). Black responded to this question, I would rather not be known as the top-ranking woman anything. Id rather be seen as an effective and strategic leader of a large organization, the same way one would describe a male executive (Outlook Magazine).Although this was the perfect response to the question in my opinion, it reconfirms the fact that even women in extremely powerful positions are treated differently than men holding similar positions. I, personally, have never heard a man referred to as a top-ranking man executive. He is simply a top-ranking executive – sex need not be mentioned I suppose.

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Geraldine Laybourne is definitely a name worth mentioning in the same sentence as powerful women in the media. Laybourne started out as an elementary school teacher, took what she learned, and reconfigured childrens television as we (and our children) knew it.Hired by the cable network Nickelodeon in 1980 as program manager, Laybourne received 8 promotions in the next thirteen years. In 1984, Nickelodeons ratings were second to last. Laybourne raised them to a tie for second place in only one year. Once dubbed the green vegetable network(forbes.

com) because kids hated it so much, Nickelodeon is now the number one network for kids today. Like the other women discussed, Laybourne brought a new, female perspective to the station.Laybourne talks about her days at Nickelodeon and says, When we changed the face of childrens television for Nickelodeon, we did it by putting up what the stereotypes were and what broadcasters told us you had to do, and then we debunked them (fortune.com).

And she did exactly that. Laybourne did something that no one before had thought to do with childrens programming ask the children what they wanted. Laybournes female perspective added to success at Nickelodeon in another way.

She was able to work as a team with other employees. In every quote, Laybourne refers to the success at Nickelodeon with a we not an I.The current COO of Nickelodeon, Jeff Dunn, says, Gerry Laybourne is to Nick what Henry Luce was to Time or Ray Krow was to McDonalds (fortune.com). While there is no doubt that she holds power in the media for her success at Nickelodeon, it is now that Geraldine Laybourne is beginning to be the target of criticism for her attempt to do the same for women that she did for children. Laybourne has broken off from childrens television to create a new cable network/Internet network for women. Her power in media is evidenced by the fact that she has obtained backing from names such as Oprah Winfrey, Marcy Carsey, Tom Werner, Vulcan Ventures, and Bob Pittman. Her aim with her new venture, Oxygen Media, is to incorporate a womans cable network with several different Internet sites.

She is hoping to make television more interactive by taking real life problems and stories from real life women off the Internet, and putting them onto the television. One of Laybournes mottos is to aim high and she is doing just that with the hopes of putting Oxygen into 27 million homes by the end of 2002. Currently, Oxygen is in approximately 10 million home nationwide (TheStandard.com). Despite her power, Geraldine Laybourne has met criticism that, in my opinion, she would not encounter as a man.

An article referring to Oxygens advertising during the Superbowl was titled, ADVERTISING: Girls Play with the Big Boys (TheStandard.com).Another article outlining the movement of Oxygen Media was titled, Oxygen: Lipstick and Recipes or a Media Revolution? (cnet.com). The most crucial evidence that Geraldine Laybourne is a woman power player in the media and not simply a power player is the fact that Oxygen Media is being compared to other womens networks such as Ivillage.com and Lifetime television. The most important aspect of Oxygen Media is that it is attempting to reach viewers through cable and the Internet. Ivillage.

com is only on the Internet. Lifetime television is a womans network strictly on cable.It would make more sense to compare Oxygen Media to MSNBC. However, since it deals with women, it must be compared to other sites and networks dealing with women. Despite her innovative ideas and huge success, interviewers cannot come up with anything more interesting to ask Geraldine Laybourne than, How would your life be different if you were a male? (womenswire.

com). I have never witnessed an interview where a man was asked how his life might be different had he been born female. Ironically, the exact same question was asked of Judy McGrath, President of MTV. All of her success and accomplishments could have been discussed. Instead, the interviewer asks how life would be different if she were a man.Her response to this irrelevant question bears repeating, however, because she responds, I probably would have gotten a job at Rolling Stone and would be pissed off I wasnt at MTV.

Because I was a woman, I got into an industry that was considered B+, but I got to get in early and take over (womenswire.com). It is almost as if powerful women have the answer to this question memorized because it is constantly asked in some form or another.

There is no denying that women in the media hold positions of power they probably would not have held thirty years ago. In a way weve come a long way, baby.However, headlines referring to a ten year film production veteran as a model, articles insinuating that women can only compete with one anther, no matter how vague the comparison, and questions focusing on the woman instead of the person must be eliminated completely if women are to become true power players in the media. Bibliography Bibliography Bart, Peter. findarticle.com. Theres something about Sherry, November 8, 1999. fortune.

com. Gerry Laybourne, Us vs.Them, October 28, 1996. gmu.edu Greenstein, Jennifer. TheStandard.com. Oxygen Takes A Breather, June 7, 2000.

guardianunlimited.com. We must have naked breasts in this movie.hearstcorp.com Ledbetter, James.

TheStandard.com. Men Are From Mars, Women are from AOL, September 18, 1998. Macavinta, Courtney. cnet.

com.Oxygen: Lipstick and recipes or a media revolution? October, 25, 1999. Outlook Magazine. Spreading the Word, August, 3, 1997. Post, Tom. forbes.com.

Gerry-built TV, February, 22, 1999.Sapers, Jonathan. womenswire.com Movies and Cinema Essays.