Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Post-Feminist News Baby

Troy Patterson tells us that this is an apt description of Megyn Kelly on Fox. Read for yourselves:

On Tuesday, for reasons unknown, one of her colleagues presented us with a photo of Kelly wearing a strapless dress, tan lines glowing, at some black-tie function, and she heaved a deep laugh when he said, "I just think you look fabulous in that dress you're not wearing in this photograph, Megyn." On Wednesday, when she thanked spy novelist Alex Berenson for coming in for an interview, he submitted that any red-blooded American male would rush to bask in her glow, and she said, "Honesty—so refreshing!" Then she recommended that her female viewers give the men in their lives a Berenson book for Valentine's Day: "You could deliver it in a saucy little outfit, combine everything all in one." Secure enough in her intelligence to be comfortably upfront about working her sex appeal, Megyn Kelly qualifies as a post-feminist news babe. Don't laugh me out of room for saying so; the case is tighter than Anderson Cooper's T-shirt.

Let's set aside the fact that all the women working on Fox look like animated Barbie dolls while the men vary in ugliness and portliness and so on. Let's set aside the question how it got that way (not naturally), and let's set aside the whole question of Fox news and their biases of all kinds.

Instead, let's ask a very simple question: What IS post-feminism?

I have asked that question before on this blog, so long ago that the search-key doesn't bring it up (dratted Blogger). But it is an important question, because it is often made to serve two purposes: Somehow feminism won and now we can return to all the old pre-feminist practices! Yes, it's perfectly OK to pick women for television on the basis of their boobs, as long as they speak lawyerly! So it's also perfectly OK to kick them out once their boobs start to sag. It's perfectly OK to demand botox for thirty-year old television performers, as long as they are female.

Troy's piece also tells me that television news are intended for heterosexual men. Hence the idea that Megyn's sex appeal should be generously available and the idea that women should not complain about it. Rather the reverse, as Megyn teaches other women how to present their boobs most appetizingly.