Accuracy in Media

In Teen Vogue’s latest piece of advocacy journalism, the outlet jumps on the allegations against Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) as proof of misogynistic workplace culture. The article mixes anecdotes and no statistics with unfounded, sweeping claims about the prevalence of sexism against women at work.

“The misogyny of American ‘frat-boy culture’ runs rampant in almost every industry, from film to retail,” it says. “For decades, women have had to work around intrusive displays of masculinity to do their jobs, an exhausting task in a world that often not only turns a blind eye to but also rewards certain kinds of abusive behavior in the workplace.”

That statement is not only unproven but false. The #MeToo movement turned an eagle eye on any perceived mistreatment of women, so much so that it received backlash.

One of the story’s sources pretends like this movement never happened. She says that “bro culture” still enables men to misbehave under the pretense of making a joke.

The piece holds up “a sense of entitlement, shaped by gender, race, and income” as the root of this ostensible evil. Although the author never explicitly specifies a race to be faulted, she all but blames those with the same immutable identity as Congressman Gaetz: white men. She calls women and minorities “collateral damage” of a “frat-boy culture.”

“Hiring people for ‘culture fits’ rather than skill reinforces institutionalized racism and sexism in hiring,” the writer says. She provides no evidence of racism and sexism on such a scale.

The article then asserts that a “misogynistic frat-boy culture” also shapes policy decisions. The only support she provides for her generalization is hearsay about Gaetz’s opinion on one policy.

The author doesn’t stop there. She goes beyond a supposedly anti-women culture and policy arena to attack masculinity at large.

To her credit, she calls out Harvey Weinstein’s sex crimes but lays Weinstein’s sins at the feet of all men. She cites a Florida state representative’s comments about a “boys will be boys” mentality. Without acknowledging that women are a part of society too, the representative says that “society often characterizes hypermasculinity as having sex with multiple women and always getting what one wants.” The state rep goes on to say that “hypermasculinity” combined with wealth and power “is a dangerous combination.”

The strong implication is that men are dangerous.

 

Photo by Gage Skidmore.




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