Media: It’s a Woman’s Nation While Dad’s on His Knees

Wendy Norris

Instead of a thoughtful series on very real gender inequities in wages, unfair gender-rating of health insurance and antiquated employment policies to truly elevate the public debate, it now appears Cosmopolitan is advising the Shriver Team.

In the heat of the national debate on long-delayed health
insurance reform, the landmark Shriver Report on work and family life
has sadly devolved into a voyeuristic peek into our bedrooms.

"Shifting roles change dynamic in bedroom" shouts
Thursday’s lead story on 
MSNBC.com, a media partner in the year-long study of workplace trends
led by California First Lady Maria Shriver and published by the liberal think
tank Center for American Progress.

Instead of a thoughtful series on very real gender
inequities in wages, unfair gender-rating of health insurance and antiquated
employment policies that could truly elevate the public debate it now appears Cosmopolitan is advising the Shriver
Report publicity team.

A fat check is the new heaving bosoms, so they say. There
were no women making big bank that were actually interviewed for the story.

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The piece subtitled "When she earns more, he aims to
please
" is an excruciating exercise in sexuality-fueled relationship
politics that utterly destroys the report’s giddy assertion that the
"battle of the sexes is over."

"Derrick
Hayes’s wife, an oncology nurse, makes twice the money he does in his job as a
juvenile corrections officer in Columbus, Ga.

And
he since she brings home much of the bacon, he wants to make sure he’s offering
her some perks too. He leaves affectionate notes around the house for her and
tries to keep the house tidy. And he wants to make sure he shines in one
special area.

Since
she is "handling certain areas of the relationship" like making most
of the money, he said, “you’ve got to handle your business." By
"business," Hayes means sex. "You’ve got to be creative. You’ve
got to be good!"

Lovely. Good to know the unnamed Mrs. Hayes is getting some
action.

Especially after a hard day’s work in an incredibly
stressful profession where she is likely exposed to dangerous chemotherapy
toxins and radiation — a concern the study devotes an entire section to the
workplace risks in female-dominated occupations.

Even more despicable is Chris Matthews’ tittering "sex
as reward for housework" interview with Shriver on his MSNBC show Hardball and his lecherous insinuations
about her marital relations with husband, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger:

The most infuriating aspect of this media debacle is the Shriver Report is a well-sourced study on gender inequities in the workplace and at home — though its policy prescriptions on telecommuting and family leave policies focus far too heavily on improving circumstances for affluent, white mothers than the more intractable problems facing single women without children, low income women and women of color.

I’m almost relieved that NBC News concludes this banal week-long series on the report Friday. Though I can only imagine we’re in for a searing exposé on the new pickup line for middle-aged women on the prowl for younger men: “Hey, baby, what’s your insurance co-pay?”

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