Amie Parnes

Is the biggest threat to the integrity of North American media the sexiness of its female journalists?

How sexy are they? On a scale of one to 10, how uncomfortable does their sexiness make you? Where do you think a bare shoulder or pouting lip falls on the sexy scale? Why are we even talking about this?

FishbowlDC’s Betsy Rothstein, for one, thinks the issue is significant. Last week, she wrote about how “an unusual trend” is developing among female campaign and White House reporters “of the XX persuasion”: their Twitter avatars are too provocative.

The story also includes three samples of the “sexpot” journalists” avatars. It turns out that Rothstein considers anything run through an Instagram filter risqué.


Rothstein spoke to Brad Phillips, president of Phillips Media Relations, about the “epidemic” of slutty Twitter icons. “More often, women have to fight to be taken seriously,” he said. “I think it’s unfair that women are judged on this. But my concern is, are they doing anything to undermine their credibility?”

No question, it’s harder as a woman to be good at your job while simultaneously having shiny hair. Still, it’s important to make note that cute reporters posting cute self-portraits is neither “unusual” nor a “trend,” though saying that does allow for a trend piece to be born from a total non-issue. Moreover, makeup, bare collarbone, and a wink are far, far from being X-rated. Look, if someone’s playing with her pigtails and sucking on a Ring Pop in her photo, it’s clearly inappropriate. But why is it that Anderson Cooper can do this, but I have to put on a sweater?

Now if we could just get Betsy to cover her shoulders, the war would be won.

Lead image via via 

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About the author

Scaachi Koul was the Production Editor of the Summer 2012 issue of the Ryerson Review of Journalism.

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