Feb 21, 2011

Angry from Manchester

Dear "Start the Week with Andrew Marr" Team,

I've just taken a casual glance down the list of STW podcasts that I've been loyally downloading since November, and was struck by the fact that on no occasion was there more than one woman on the program at a time. The standard lineup seems to be four men (Andrew included) and a solitary female voice.

Which rather puts me in mind of comedy panel shows like Mock The Week and Never Mind the Buzzcocks, also careful never to have too much female talent in any episode. I'm not sure that's the audience niche you guys are working to attract, but given that even Melvyn Bragg has grudgingly come to accept that women constitute more than 20% of the sentient life forms on this planet, one is forced to speculate.

The comedy quizzes' excuse is the venerable and well accepted universal truth that women just aren't funny. They do good work upholding this tradition by making sure not to invite too many funny ones, which stands to reason. I'm less sure what the reasoning behind STW's guest lineup is.
A. Sentient, Lifeform

ETA: There is clearly something in the water. Possibly seeded there by Bidisha's audacious new venture at her blog, where she catalogs and rails against the invisibility of women in the arts; although it would be unfair not to give first credit for getting me interested in this issue to Maura McHugh, a writer who often blogs about her experiences with woman-excluding panels, awards shortlists and writing manuals.

Anyway, my point is that this issue of women being ignored, excluded or marginalised in various media & artistic fora is getting airplay in the feminist blogosphere right now, with today's serendipitous addition being by the redoubtable Cath Elliott. You may want to read her post, it contains actual information and thoughts rather than just a snarky email to R4.

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