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It’s All About That Bass: Women’s voices on radio

By Melody House, University of Strathclyde

Women, particularly when they are public figures, are often strongly criticised for the way they speak and sound. From Margaret Thatcher, who has been described as transforming her voice from that of a ‘shrill housewife’ to a more refined Prime Minister, to Hillary Clinton, voice is yet another gendered way in which women are judged. During the 2016 US Presidential Elections, so much attention was focused on Clinton’s ‘screechy’ voice that it inspired The Atlantic to release a video titled, ‘The Science Behind Hating Hillary’s Voice’. This was accompanied by numerous articles, news shows, and think pieces, all concerned with why Clinton’s voice was so annoying. But she’s not the only one. Increasingly, professional women are seeking out voice coaches in order to ‘correct’ their speech. The most common adjustment is to lower their pitch.

From Guilt Trips to Cat Fights: Gender stereotypes in Brexit news

By Melody House, University of Strathclyde

It is no secret that media reporting around women is problematic. From ‘page 3 girls’ to racist and sexist articles about the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, British media has a history of belittling, stereotypical writing on women. This is especially true when women occupy roles that traditionally ‘belong’ to someone else. It’s part of why we see the bad press surrounding Markle, as well as the sexist and often demeaning reporting of women in conventionally ‘male’ professions.

As such, when Gender Equal Media Scotland (GEMS) tasked me with monitoring news around Brexit, I was intrigued to see what I would find. GEMS asked me to monitor the news around Brexit for three days (14-16 January 2019), and present my findings in a series of blogs. My first blog focused on the statistical representation of women in the Brexit media. Here, I will focus on both the good and bad journalistic practice I came across in those three days.

Where Are The Women? Media analysis of gender representation in Brexit news

By Melody House, University of Strathclyde

It’s the portmanteau that strikes fear, loathing, and dismay in those who hear it: Brexit. With the leave date now potentially extended to October, it is clear that the only certainty with Brexit is uncertainty. As such, it is and has been – and will continue to be - a major topic of discussion in the news.

Gender Equal Media Scotland tasked me with monitoring news around Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement vote that took place on the 15th of January this year. As such, I chose to focus on the day before, the day of, and the day after the ‘meaningful vote’ (14-16 January), as these saw a large number of news stories dedicated to analysing and debating Brexit. I focused on Scottish news media, and looked at three different types: television, radio, and, print. I recorded two television shows (BBC’s Reporting Scotland, and, STV’s Scotland Tonight); two radio shows (BBC’s Good Morning Scotland, and, BBC’s Newsdrive); and seven newspapers (The National, The Scotsman, The Scottish Sun, Scottish Daily Mail, Daily Record, The Herald, and, The Press & Journal). In the end, I recorded 288 news stories across the three media, and a further 94 letters-to-the-editor in the newspapers.

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