Jointly launched by The Women’s Media Center and MissRepresentation.org, the Sexy or Sexism? campaign is redefining sexy and identifying sexism. This season, the campaign is bringing to the forefront the prevalent misrepresentation of women in the media. The campaign is monitoring the major television networks and their fall line-ups while providing a platform for honest and open discussion about identifying what really is sexy and what is just downright sexism.
The aim is to hold the media accountable for its depiction of females. In Early November the campaign invited viewers to take part in rating which new shows on television they felt were redefining “sexy” in a positive way and which ones were just plain sexist. Viewers were asked to score shows by applying letter grades (either A, B, C, D, or F, with F being the most sexist); around 1,000 people participated. The results were tallied and coming in with a B average, the show that recieved the highest letter grade for its portrayal of gender was NBC’s Up All Night; while ABC’s Man Up! was marked with the lowest grade of an F.
Rolling in with a B average from the creator and producer of Saturday Night Live was Up All Night, starring Christina Applegate and Will Arnett as new parents Reagan and Chris, dealing with not only the challenges and delights of parenthood for the first time, but also as a not-so-freqently-seen stay-at-home dad and a work-in-the-office mom.
As James Poniewozik of Time Entertainment aptly points out in Up All Night, Modern Family and TV’s Feminism for Men, what Up All Night is doing, and doing well, is writing scripts for a sitcome that just happens to have a stay-at-home dad and a work-in-the-office mom but isn’t primarily about that. In other words, NBC is presenting gender roles in a different light; not by making them the center purpose of the show, but by making them one aspect of two people’s lives.
In opposition to the refreshing take on gender in Up All Night, ABC’s Man Up! falls flat coming in with an F rating from SexyorSexism. But apparently Man Up! didn’t just fail with SexyorSexism, but with its own network! ABC has announced that Man Up! is being taken off the network’s line up. ABC cites poor ratings for the show, but with SexyorSexism urging viewers to write to ABC directly and tell them what they think of Man Up!, one can only hope that ABC executives wake up and decide to not take the sexist road to work!
To see how others shows in this fall’s TV line up were graded visit SexyorSexism.