Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Media Weirdness on a Winter's Night

It's supposed to hit 20 below zero tomorrow night, so it's time to turn a cold eye to a few bits o' media weirdness from recent days.

Star Tribune headline: Video Games Can Hook Kids, Study Finds
This dog-bites-man story was on the front page of the Star Tribune. It must have been a slow news day.

Medica ad with large photo of two teen boys looking at an exaggerated body-building magazine. Headline: Improve. It Feels Good.
I hope I'm misunderstanding this ad for Medica, one of our local HMOs. I've read it multiple times, trying to see if there's a twist in the copy that would make it clever or sarcastic. But all I get is that it would be good for these kids to look like the guy on the magazine, who clearly used some type of steroids. If Medica meant to say that looking like this is unhealthy, this ad utterly fails.

Section of copy from a newspaper that uses the phrase in her own right to describe a woman
It was only a month ago that I noted a Star Tribune obit that used the dated, offensive phrase "in her own right." Today's paper used those words when describing Dr. Maxine Heinrich Amplatz. It wasn't the first time sexism played a role in Amplatz's life:

As a young woman, Maxine Amplatz bussed tables to pay for medical school in Texas. She graduated at the top of her class -- only to discover that the powers that be didn't want a woman to be valedictorian.

"Her school offered her a $100 scholarship to give up the valedictory speech," her daughter said. And because finances were tight, "she gladly took the money."
Later, she developed depression after three of her four children were born, and battled it the rest of her life. Looked at by an outsider like me, Amplatz's life seems to be an exemplar from The Feminine Mystique. So having the Strib use the faint-praise phrase "her own right" seems even more inappropriate.


Michael Leddy said...

I've never thought of "own right" as sexist, but that may be because I've never seen it used in a sexist way before (as, I agree, it is here).

Daughter Number Three said...

Michael, I admit I'm probably a little sensitive on this phrase. Do you recall seeing it used to describe a man's achievements? My memory may be selective, but I don't think I ever have.