The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release

Mai Shiozaki, 202-628-8669, ext. 116; cell 202-641-1906

NOW Launches Expanded Media Hall of Shame


Judge Sonia Sotomayor. Governor Sarah Palin. SpongeBob SquarePants.
What could these three possibly have in common? The fact is, while
their names frequently turn up in the media, the context isn't always
so nice. Sotomayor's intelligence and temperament are questioned based
on gender and ethnic stereotypes. Palin and her daughter are the butt
of sexist jokes. And the cartoon SpongeBob is used in a commercial that
exploits women in order to sell burgers to kids.

For these reasons and many more, the National Organization for Women is re-launching its popular online Media Hall of Shame.
With the help of NOW members and other website visitors, we will be on
the look-out in the mainstream media for instances of sexism, racism,
sexual exploitation, violence against women and other offenses.
Frequent posts will highlight the latest offenses, giving people a
chance to rate them and urging activists to write to the media outlets
to express their outrage.

The first version of NOW's Media Hall of Shame was born during the
2008 presidential elections, when media misogyny reached toxic levels.
During the primaries, Hillary Clinton was a target of some of the most
extraordinarily sexist attacks NOW witnessed in a long time, and then
the media moved on to Michelle Obama and Sarah Palin.

The popularity of the "Election Edition" of the Media Hall of Shame
led NOW to create its new 2.0 version. This time NOW is featuring
offenses that take place both within and beyond politically-focused
news media. The site will cover content from primetime television,
movies, music, advertising, the Internet, kids TV, video games and

"It's important that we call out these offenders, because their
media platforms give them great influence and power, and their insults
demean and stereotype all women and girls," said NOW President Kim
Gandy. "We expect there to be no shortage of material to analyze, and
there will be no shortage of pundits, hosts, advertisers, and content
developers to dis-honor."

Beginning in 1966, NOW's founders noted the impact that media have
on women's lives and our quest for equality. The organization has
continued to address a wide range of media issues over the past four
decades. Says Gandy: "Women will not be truly equal until they have
full and fair representation in the media. The Media Hall of Shame is
one tactic in our ongoing campaign for media justice for women."

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States. NOW has 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.