Luncheons for March, 2014

“Backwards and In High Heels” – Sexism In Media Coverage of Wendy Davis

Monday, March 24th, 2014

Date: Monday, March 24, 2014

Time: 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Location: Austin Bar Association

816 Congress Avenue, Suite 700

Program: “Backwards and In High Heels” – Sexism In Media Coverage of Wendy Davis

You’ve read sexist stories on Wendy Davis, and you’ve probably read about some of the media criticism and self-examination that those stories have generated. The Dallas Morning News story by Wayne Slater began the controversy, and the Robert Draper cover story in the New York Times Magazine received criticism from the paper’s own public editor. But those are just two examples.

Why is this happening? Why do competent, experienced male reporters ask female candidates questions that they would never think to ask male candidates? Is it because those reporters grew up in a time of pervasive sexual stereotyping, and that background is just too engrained for them even to recognize it, much less resist it? Or do they have a defensible justification, given current, flawed social values? What’s the cure or fix? (Should the male reporters be “fixed”?) What standards should reporters follow before they ask such questions or run such stories? Is reporting by female reporters on these issues significantly different?

Below are links to the Slater and Draper articles and several critical commentaries on those articles. These are important questions—certainly now, for Wendy’s race, but also for the future prospects of female candidates, including Hillary Clinton. We have a wonderful panel to discuss these issues, and no doubt engage in a spirited exchange:

Wayne Slater – Wayne wrote the initial, high-profile article on Wendy Davis, linked below, which probably has become more controversial than he expected. He has generously agreed to share with the Forum his perspective on what he did and why.

Ed Espinoza – Ed is Executive Director of Progress Texas, and a communications expert with national credentials. He served as regular analyst for CNN’s “Fair Game” segment in 2012, focusing on the presidential race. He also served as Western States Director for the Democratic National Committee.

Andrea Grimes – Andrea is Senior Political Reporter for RH Reality Check, covering reproductive justice issues. She’s written for Dallas Observer, D magazine, Austin Chronicle, and many other media outlets.

Jessica Luther – Jessica has written for The Atlantic, Salon, Texas Observer, and many other media. Particularly relevant to this program, Jessica wrote a column for The Guardian, Painting Wendy Davis As A Bad Mother Is Political Sexism At Its Worst.

This program will be entertaining and important. Please join us.

Door Prizes:

1.   Texas Republican Party, How To Clone Wacko Birds For Fun and …

2.   Greg Abbott, Why Ted Nugent and I Think Women, Minorities, and Immigrants Are #&@^%!!!

3.   David Dewhurst, I Coulda Had Class, I Coulda Been A Contender, I Coulda Been Somebody …

“New (now Old) Reservation Policy Alert” – Please note our new policy on canceling reservations.  As a result of recent last-minute cancellations and no-shows, we will have to start charging for persons who make a reservation but do not attend.  The Forum still has to pay for those lunches, and at times we’ve had to absorb over $150 in costs for non-attendees who made reservations.  We now offer the option to pay online in advance for your lunch.  If you cancel at least 24 hours before the meeting, there will be no charge.  We apologize for any inconvenience and we appreciate your cooperation.
Cost:  lunch is $15.00 for members, $20.00 for non-members.

Purchase Tickets Here

Parking: 816 Congress Avenue/IBC Bank parking garage.  Enter the parking garage on 9th Street, between Colorado and Congress.  Bring your ticket to the receptionist on the 7th floor and you will be given a coupon to use to exit the garage at no charge.

Reservation required: To reserve your seat, email or or call Chuck Herring or Judy Erben at 320-0665.  Please tell us if you intend to bring a non-member guest and if you have any special dietary concerns.  PLEASE MAKE RESERVATIONS BY 5:00 P.M. ON FRIDAY, MARCH 21, 2014.

About the Forum: The Forum meets monthly for lunch to hear Democratic speakers.  Membership is $120/yr.  Non-members may attend, but members have priority and receive discount prices for lunches