Women Voting and the Media
The Five from Fox News
The Media: Can't Live With Them
Women fought to gain the right to vote for almost a century and now the media is discouraging young women from taking advantage of all the work that suffragists managed to complete. A few news stories in 2014 go over why women should not vote, be included in politics or be on juries. These stories ruin years and years worth of hard and difficult times for a lot of women from the suffragist days to today. They encourage young women, not to get involved and know their facts, but to not vote at all. It is as if young women do not have a voice and do not matter in politics, something that suffragist strove to achieve, and won victoriously in 1920.
In October, of the year 2014, two newscasters started an entire conversation that could have possibly taken women back almost 94 years. The Nineteenth Amendment was passed in 1920 and states that; "The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or any Senate on account of sex" (National Archives, 2014). Two of the panelists on Fox News, The Five, named Kimberly Guilfoyle and Greg Gutfeld, made a few comments that sent a strong message towards young women voters and young women who may end up on jury duty due to being registered to vote. This message was basically to not vote, because young women are too inexperienced to vote and serve on juries. Women like Carrie Chapman Catt and Alice Paul would be shocked at the statements made by these people in the media, who are in great positions to encourage young women to get involved in politics, become more informed and get involved in the voting process. Unfortunately, Guilfoyle and Gutfeld are not the only two people in the media who think that young women should not vote. Before 1920, "suffragist had waged fifty-six referenda campaigns and hundreds of assaults on state legislatures, state party conventions, and state constitutional conventions, as well as on Congress" (Woloch, 2006, p. 345), now they are being encouraged by a lot of the media to not vote.
"In a September 28 post challenging Lena Dunham for encouraging young women to vote in an article for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, NRO's Kevin D. Williamson provided his "Five Reasons Why You're Too Dumb To Vote." Calling voting a "shallow gesture of citizenship" which women use to say 'I want'" (Boguhn & Torres, 2014). Williamson basically states that women who listen to Lena Dunham are stupid and should not vote, especially if they are getting their politics from actors and comedians. His entire article is an opinion based article, all about bashing young women voters and Lena Dunham, and even goes so far as to say that women voters like Lena are the reason for the amount of abortions that happen today. Williamson states; "we are a nation of adult children so horrified by the prospect of actual children that we put one in five of them to death for such excellent reasons as the desire to fit nicely into a prom dress" (Williamson, 2014). This is clearly a bash on young women, as is the rest of the article. Williamson is not the only person to have issues with young women voters.
Tucker Carlson also seems to have an issue with the young woman voter, making the statement; "you're targeting people who are watching Say Yes To The Dress? You want your government run by people...who's favorite show is Say Yes To The Dress" (Boguhn & Torres, 2014). This statement was made on the October 2 showing of the Fox News show, Outnumbered. Carlson attacks Republicans in this diatribe for using Democratic tactics to gain the vote from young women. One statement in his entire speech seemed true, but the statement could be applied to young people in general, not just young females, even though he was blasting a Republican ad targeted towards young females; "I don't think as a general matter you should be encouraging people who don't know anything about what they're voting for to vote" (Boguhn & Torres, 2014). Carlson and Williamson have opinions about young females voters that are bad enough, and began to ruin the work of the suffragist movement, then came Guilfoyle and Gutfeld.
"According to Guilfoyle and her co-hosts, females of a certain age just “don’t get it,” which should probably disqualify them from serving on juries, or from exercising a crucial constitutional right they gained less than a century ago" (Kutner, October 22, 2014). Guilfoyle, a woman who is obviously well over the age of forty, basically says that lack of experience is why young women should not vote or serve on a jury. She states this about women serving on juries; "It’s the same reason why young women on juries are not a good idea. They don’t get it. They’re not in that same life experience of paying the bills, doing the mortgage, kids, community, crime, education, healthcare. They’re like healthy and hot and running around without a care in the world" (Kutner, October 22, 2014). Obviously her statement was wrong since rape and molestation are at an all time high, teenage pregnancy is at an all time high, women are ever prevalent in a workforce where they do not make the same as men and college loans are at an all time high where most of the students are women. Young women are paying bills and have too many cares now a days and this reporter chooses to insult them and every suffragist that there ever was. Her co-host, Dana Perino, tries to even out what is said and back track by stating; "There’s a suggestion that Kimberly said young women shouldn’t vote because they’re uninformed. She was talking about, if you’re a prosecutor, and you’re prosecuting a case and you have to pick a jury, you typically do not pick a young woman because she won’t be the person you would want. That’s true across the board" (Kutner, October 24, 2014). Perino's statement is also incorrect as, in a trial, the defense attorney will try to choose people who closely identify with the victim or the accused, which if it were a young woman, would be young women jurors. The prosecuting attorney, or the District Attorney, will always try to choose jurors who are the exact opposite of the defendant, so that there is no sympathy on an automatic basis. This is why both the defense attorney and the prosecuting attorney get to pick jurors, to keep things fair. Catherine Taibi, of the Huffington Post, had this to say about one of the comments that Gutfeld made; "Earlier in the conversation, co-host Greg Gutfeld made the point that "with age comes wisdom" and the "older you get, the more conservative you get." In other words: 'Hey kids! Hold off a little. You don't have to vote just yet. Wait until you're conservative enough old enough'" (Taibi, 2014). These Fox News Hosts tried to destroy everything that women over the years have worked so hard to gain and got criticized for it from numerous media sources.
In the 1920s, "women's suffrage had an immediate impact. Polling places shifted from saloons and barbershops to schools and churches, to accommodate the newly enfranchised. Twenty states passed laws at once to enable women to serve on juries, and some states rushed through protective laws that women reformers had long demanded" (Woloch, 2006, p. 345). There were the naysayers then, people who said allowing women to vote would ruin homes and destroy the state because women would all vote in groups or against their husbands. This did not happen, and in fact, once women won the vote they almost immediately took the suffragists hard work for granted by not being interested in the right once it had been gained. For years women have taken their voting rights less than seriously by not voting at all. While some media outlets are encouraging young women voters, others are telling young women not to vote and to stay out of things that they have no business being in, as if Americans still lived in the days before women gained their rights.
Women fought to gain the right to vote for almost a century and now the media is discouraging young women from taking advantage of all the work that suffragists managed to complete. The media is trying to ruin years and years worth of hard and difficult times for a lot of women from the suffragist days to today. Women are still not seen as equal to men and still do not have the same rights as men do, which they are still trying to fight to gain. Media opinions like these are going to put a serious block in anything that women are trying to do in the future to try to better their lives, as well as negate everything that was done in the past.
The "Fab" Five
Boguhun, A. & Torres, J. (2014). Right-Wing media discourage young women from voting. Media Matters for America. Retrieved from
Kutner, J. (October 24, 2014). Fox News responds to outrage over comments about young women voting and using Tinder. Salon. Retrieved from
Kutner, J. (October 22, 2014). Fox News to young women: Don’t worry about voting, just focus on your Tinder profile. Salon. Retrieved from
National Archives. (2014). 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution: Women's right to vote. Retrieved from
Taibi, C. (2014). Fox News Hosts Tell Young Women Not To Vote, Go Back To Tinder And Match.com. Huffington Post. Retrieved from
Williamson, K.D. (2014). Five reasons why you’re too dumb to vote. National Review Online. Retrieved from
Woloch. N. (2006). Women and the American experience: a concise history 2006 (5th ed). New York: McGraw Hill Higher Education.
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