The Gendered Politics of a Global Recession: a news media analysis
Kim Akass is a Senior Research Fellow and lecturer in Cultural and Contextual Studies (Film/TV) at the University of Hertfordshire. She has published widely on US TV, is a co-founding editor of Critical Studies in Television and is co-editor (with Janet McCabe) of The Reading Contemporary TV series for I.B. Tauris. She is currently working on a book about mothers in the media for I.B. Tauris and is webmistress of CSTonline.
With an eye on the global recession and as recent austerity measures really begin to bite, the UK's leading campaigner for gender equality, The Fawcett Society, has argued that it is women that stand to suffer the most. The latest report from the Office of National Statistics spells out the miserable truth: cuts to local services in England and Wales have resulted in women's jobs accounting for some '66.4% of the total drop in employment in councils'. On the other side of the Atlantic the economic downturn has been widely reported to have turned a differently gendered course and, according to the North American media, has 'taken a disproportionate toll on male employment'. This article will argue that both the North American and British press are witnessing another backlash against feminism much like that described by Susan Faludi in 1992 and further that this style of media reporting is being used to obfuscate more pressing issues such as the impact of austerity measures upon those living on the poverty line – black and working class families.