The feminist pigeon

September 25, 2015

As a journalism major, I tend to pay attention to the news. It’s usually good practice for someone who intends to be a news writer. Staying up-to-date with current events is crucial, and since I am now living in France, I suppose it’s my duty to watch local French news as well. My host mom turns on the TV every night and watches assorted news stations for a few hours (true dedication). I will often join her and attempt to keep up with the fast-talking anchors and reporters who spit out news at 100 miles a minute–I don’t understand every word, but I manage to get the idea.

Amidst the migrant crisis, stampedes in Mecca and train accidents in Calais, I begin to pay close attention to who reports the news rather than just listening to it. As the news anchor on the Franco-German network “Arte” led viewers through the day’s stories, I realize that one, she is a woman and two, she is pregnant. After years of watching Brian Williams deliver my nightly news, seeing a pregnant anchor on screen was both a bit shocking and intriguing. She is also not alone as a great deal of the reporters on the station are female. The only solo female anchors I had seen on American primetime nightly news networks were Diane Sawyer and more recently Katie Couric, however both have since left those coveted seats behind the anchor desk.

Unfortunately, when I tried to go online and find this woman, the only things that came up in my search were “Top 10 Hottest Women News Anchors around the world” and “Melissa Theuriau – Hottest EVER News Anchor?” I now know that Melissa Theuriau of Métropole 6 was voted the most beautiful woman in the world. I cannot fathom what qualifications the men at “France For Him Magazine” have to confirm this claim, but obviously France still has some gender bias towards women in journalism.

After some more digging, I find Marie Labory. She is the pregnant, lesbian news anchor of a 24-hour HDTV news network broadcasting in both France and Germany. And while the articles concerning Labory’s pregnancy simply wish her well and congratulations (I found no negative feedback), this pregnant Canadian weather anchor was receiving hate mail.

I have to hand it to the French: my host mom’s complete indifference to a pregnant news anchor and her bored dismissal of my questions on the matter are another sign that the French have miraculously come to realize that women indeed become pregnant, and during this stage of life they should have the ability to work and appear in public without being called disgusting. While French female reporters are still subject to objectification, at least they don’t have to be too afraid of becoming pregnant and appearing on the air.

Hopefully America and British Columbia can catch up.

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