Monday, February 27, 2006

Radio misogyny II

It's coincidental that after I wrote this post there was an article in the Washington Post's sunday magazine about shock jocks. It's written by a guy, Tyler Currier, but I think he kind of has the shock jock's number when it comes to misogyny and racism. These particular DJs are basically pumped up pretend frat boys but the reality is they're men in their late 30s/early 40s who are married and have kids. I've wondered how Adam Corrolla's wife deal with his statements about her and women and this article mentions a similiar issue with the guys' wives. They're auditioning "Junkettes," think Hooters girls, only probably unpaid, to stand around and do promotions for them. And they're, of course, really classy in handling the situation.

E.B. ogles a passing woman, one of seven who have arrived in skimpy duds at a Fairfax bar. "She's got nice boobies," he mutters.

Then there's this passage about the day following the audition where one of the guy's start talking about his wife on the air. Reporter's words are emphasized.
That night Cakes goes home and tells Amy that he danced with hot young women. He knows it'll be a subject on tomorrow's show. "It's called a preemptive strike," he later explains. "Even though it was nothing, it was innocent, I wanted it out there so that it didn't get blown into something out of proportion."

Still, Amy is livid: "I didn't think it was very funny. Any woman who loves her husband would be jealous if her husband comes home and says he's been at a bar dancing with other women."

As predicted, the next day the other Junkies relive Cakes's onstage bumping and grinding. Cakes tells the others he's in trouble with Amy. You just bought her an $80,000 kitchen, E.B. points out, making her sound like a gold digger.

Amy, who happens to be listening to the show, angrily reaches for the phone to set the record straight. "When I married John he was managing Toys R Us," she remembers saying on the air. "If I was materialistic, I never would have married him in the first place."

The Junkies laugh and tell Amy to take it easy. As E.B. often says: "This is all in a spirit of fun."
You notice a lot of this talk on radio. Think of it as the Tony Soprano-bargin. You get a nice house, vacations, cars, jewelry, whatever and in the meantime you're supposed to turn a blind eye to whatever I'm doing with other women.

I notice one method to radio misogny is to always talk harshly about "women's" foolish behavior, but to be laughingly accepting of men's foolish behavior, as if men's idiosyncrasies are amusing behaviors that are to be gently tolerated while women's idiosyncrasies are merely annoying habits that should be eliminated. You'll see this whenever radio hosts go into "Women do this" routines and notice the tone of voice they use for that description compared to the "Men do this" half which follows up. Also notice how many times a variation on the phrase "women do this" comes up on the show.


Anonymous said...

I may be biased, but I've been listening to them since 1997-ish. I'm also a 25 year old female, (recently married). I like to hope that I am intelligent, I have recently completed a masters degree program while working full time for an Association here in the area.

EB's frequent comment that it's "all in good fun" is just what it is. None of their comments are intended to harm. And as for them playing characters (re: your comment that they are "pumped up pretend frat boys"), I just don't agree that they're faking or that they're as wild and crazy as the article makes them out to be. I've met and worked with these guys, and sure they comment on peoples looks, but they're guys. They're guys' guys. As someone who grew up having mostly guy friends (and very few actual boyfriends), I recognize this as fairly typical.

Their Junkettes (and prerequesite Junkette searches) is a rather smart marketing technique that many companies (from small/local to national/international corporations employ). Sex may not sell in this case, but it will attract attention, and hopefully listeners as well. For girls who want to get into modeling or higher paid promotional jobs, this would be an excellent way for them to learn the ropes and decide whether to do this or move on.

Your last paragraph actually made me laugh a bit, well of *course* they're going to laugh at men's actions...they're MEN. But aside from that they do recognize the idiocy and note it publicly. (E.g. a caller last month called in to say that he was arrested and served 5 days in jail for speeding on the Beltway. When asked, he admitted he was going about 120mpg. They fully berrated him for going faster than most cars go on NASCAR tracks). Sure, that's only one instance, but there are many more. Thats one of the reasons why I enjoy listening to them. They make fun of others, sure, but they're also able to make fun of themselves.

As an intern, they were amazingly respectful of me. If they felt like they had gone overboard, they would check with me and make sure everything was okay. I'm not georgous (like some of their past interns), but they were interested in who I am. They're fun, and they're naturals at what they do because they are what they are...four lifelong friends chatting in a tiny room together. They're just that, and I think they deserve a bit more respect for having the successes that they have had over these past several years. They're not trying to impress you, they're just trying to make a living by talking about things that they would talk about were there no microphones in the room at all. Sure they might bump it up a bit for the mics, but not so much that it makes them different people.

NewsCat said...

Admittedly, I'm not really qualified to make comments about the Junkies because I've never heard a second of their radio program. But what got me about the article I quoted was while they push this "regular guy" (ie single, unattached, guy, irresponsible) attitude in reality most of these guys are really in their late 30s and are married with kids. So, in effect, a far cry from the fratboy persona. I don't believe they "act" the same way around their wife and kids that they do on the air. Such duality is par-for-the-course in radio which is why *I* happen to find it so difficult. Howard Stern got a divorce from his wife precisely because of such duality, because while his on-air personality was "wild and crazy" his off-air personality was becoming a sad-sack. (As much as this can be determined).

Not every morning DJ is a pig in his work-life the way Andy Savage was, but there is almost universal piggishness in most big morning DJs. It really is, as I say, the last media forum where one can be an unadulterated misogynist, reguardless of what their true personal lives are like, misogyny on the radio sells.