Woman Plus...
  N 3, 2002


I remember how ten years ago I was surprised when the mass media, writing about women, was accused of sexism. And it was not because I didn't agree with my journalist colleagues that women are often treated disrespectfully, scandalously and which is more important - with prejudice. At that time it seemed to me that it were inevitable costs of freedom of speech, which unexpectedly, like manna from heaven, fell on the unprepared minds, that they write about everything in the same way, that the time should pass till we, united by an lofty word "society", separate grain off darnel and come to civilized norms of behavior.

But my innate and injected by Komsomol youth optimism failed me again. The time passes, but we are unlikely to have approached to a civilized society, and we get used to the epidemic of yellow pages in the mass media. It is not that we don't see or, God forbid, amuse ourselves with the creations of know-alls, the crowds of whom fill up the rows of the Party of social cynicism, headed by Alexander Gordon, a TV-journalist, (recently I came to know that there are such upstarts in the fertile field of pluralism). We just cannot gather public force to protest against it; we still persuade ourselves that there are more important problems and that there is no time. There is another suitable excuse - everybody has the freedom of choice and it means that everything is very simple: there is a lot of different TV- radio- and other journalists! If you don't like the newspaper - don't read it, if you don't like the TV-program - just press the button of the TV-set and be proud of yourself, as if you made a contribution to the struggle against vulgarity of the mass media.

But it's quite another matter when you just have nothing to chose… Many people found themselves in a similar situation when they watched a TV-program, or, to be more precise, a talk-show (it was a show, indeed) to a series "Cultural revolution" on the state TV-channel "Culture", with its constant TV-presenter Michail Shvidkoy (for those who don't know, he is our Minister of Culture). The program topic was forceful and categorical: "Only a man can create a masterpiece". (For those, who have missed the program, - though officials of the TV-channel "Culture" made everything in their power and repeated the program twice, so that more people could watch it - we cite some statements of its participants below). And to introduce his "revolutionary" and "cultural" ideas more actively, the Minister repeated more than ten times that he had no doubts in indisputability of this statement. Moreover, a headband, picturing the program topic, written in large letters, was shown more than once, so that neither blind nor deaf people were left apart from this important information. It means that both Minister of Culture and the above mentioned A.Gordon, social cynic, chosen by the Minister as one of the main participants of the program, fearlessly and, I think, free of any charge placed such a "social" advertisement on a state TV-channel (which we finance as tax-payers). And now I ask you: do you agree to pay for it?

Many people didn't prove to be ready and to agree to it, and the discussion of the program took place at the meeting of the Association of female journalists. The ideas of sexism and women discrimination, inadmissible in civilized society, were stated to have been discussed at the program, and women decided to appeal to journalist court of honour - Big Jury of the Russian Journalist Union, and ask it to estimate this event. Besides, the information about the program and the opinions, expressed in it, were submitted for public discussion at the portal "Woman and society" <http://www.owl.ru>. Opinions of some people, who took part in the discussion, we publish in this number. You may also subscribe to the appeal and take part in the discussion through Internet or writing a letter to our editor's office.

It must be high time to talk about journalist's ethics, self censorship and political correctness in the mass media, particularly in matters concerning gender questions. Since while everybody is silent, lie and vulgarity continue attacking us on newspapers' and magazines' pages, through television and numerous electronic mass media means.

Irina Rilnikova,
editor-in-chief of the magazine "Woman Plus…"