Radio: the last bastion of open misogyny
Dating all the way back to my very first post, I'm fairly obsessed with radio and Adam Corrolla in particular. Now Adam isn't on Loveline anymore, he's got his new West Coast morning radio show that took over Howard Stern spot on the dial. I actually downloaded an episode once because Jeff Probst was going to be on and I always find he's inadvertently revealing about himself and the Survivor show. He reveals a lot more about himself than I think he knows.
Valentine's Day wasn't too long ago, and in sort of a coincidence I was also listening to some old Loveline episodes from close to Valentine's Day 2004. Adam Corrolla was just working himself into a lather about women. If you listen to him talk about women in general, but his wife in particular, you do really wonder if he thinks so little of her why'd he ever get married? There's not a single thing about her he has ever found complimentary to say on-the-air. He doesn't really even mention how smoking-hot she is for a guy like him. He says over and over again that all he really wants from women/his wife is for her to have sex with him and then to completely leave him alone. Not even really to talk to him. She's just a body essentially. There's basically no knock against women that Adam doesn't make. That they're stupid. That they only care about unimportant things. That they demand too much of their boyfriends. That women can't really make themselves "look" much better to the opposite sex but men, by earning more money or getting a better job can. That anytime a women does something from painting her nails to buying sexy underware, it's really just for men but usually men-don't-care-about-it so women should just stop. If your are an "ugly" woman it doesn't matter if you are confident or not, you're still unattractive. And while Adam does occassionally talk positively about women having accomplishments like earning degrees, because he judges a woman's value in her sexual attractiveness he kind of makes it all seem like "well why bother, having a J.D. isn't going to land you a man? Sure you can do it for yourself and that's great, but let's be real here, men don't care if you have a bunch of degrees. In fact it's worse for your chances if you do." To Adam there's no concept of women doing things for themselves. Occassionally he says women do things to show off for other women (such as painting one's nails or having a big wedding) which is almost a worse crime than showing off for men about things they don't care about.
When my two oldest friends came to visit me from out of town they pointed out how I had subtly or not-so-subtly started parroting some of Adam's points back to them. I was amazed how much I internalized his logic. Mostly about the male perspective on women and how they view potential mates. I tend to listen to old episodes of the show for about 4-5 hours a day and while I'm fully cognizant about the powerful persuasive effects of radio I just assumed that because I'm highly-educated and fully aware of its power I would be immune. But that kind of constant indocturinization is hard to constantly put a wall up against, especially when its self-inflicted. And that's magic of radio's effect. It really is like the supposed hypodermic needle theory of media effects, it's just not always so immediate.
One of the best put-downs my friend said to me about adam was "why would you want to take gynecological advice from a frat boy?" Good point.
Anyways it occured to me how much Adam isn't really a unique product of radio. Radio really is the last bastion for open misogyny in a way you rarely see in print publications and hardly as openly in television. It's not that TV can't be misogynistic. Oh, it can be. But when TV is misogynistic it's rarely as open has having a host of a program say things like women are as dumb as cows.
In radio there's the really big hosts like Tom Leykis or the appropriately named Mancow, even the aforemention Howard Stern who is far more respectful to male guests than female guests. Way back in 1998 I even worked for a very low-rent morning DJ called Andy Savage. This guy was just a total pig and completely unpleasant off-the-air. The Seattle Weekly even had a cover story where they had Andy's head going through a woman's legs. I remember it being a different looking cover than this one. I thought it was like her breasts were just about to rest on top of his head, but maybe my memory is off.
Anyway my point is why is radio the one special media forum where men get to act like pigs? And why is meaness better tolerated on the radio than in TV? A few people were talking about the difference between Adam Corrolla's radio schtick and his TV schtick in this thread and why his meaness simply works better off-camera. I don't really have an answer yet. But I'm always reminded of the fact that in Rwanda, it was radio broadcasts that were used to stir up the hatred for one's neighbors more than any other method of propaganda. There's something to that to ponder why radio worked its magic so well on human psyches, rather than TV.
Saturday, February 25, 2006
Radio: the last bastion of open misogyny