Female candidates face media 'misogyny,' campaign says

Instances of sexism during the 2010 campaigns have included an ad by a conservative group calling Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) a "crybaby" and a "princess," a calendar featuring "Babes of the DNC" by the conservative publication Human Events and an article on Spike.com listing Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) among the "top cutest feminists," according to the "Name It. Change It" campaign.  


The campaign is the product of three different interest groups, the Women's Campaign Forum, Political Parity and the Women's Media Center. The campaign's aim is to fight back when the media does not treat female candidates fairly.

"Together, we will work to end sexist and misogynistic coverage of women candidates by all members of the press—from bloggers to radio hosts to television pundits," the groups says. 

"We will not stand by as pundits, radio hosts, bloggers, and journalists damage women's political futures with misogynistic remarks. When you attack one woman, you attack all women," it says. 

Sam Bennett, who as chief executive of the Women's Campaign Forum is helping to lead the campaign, ran for mayor of Allentown, Pa. in 2001 and for Congress in 2008. She feels she experienced sexism in her two unsuccessful races. 

"During my very first stump speech (in front of a room of men), I was interrupted by the chair of that meeting who said, 'Sam, I want to ask a question all the men in this room have been dying to ask you: Just what are your measurements?'" she wrote in a Huffington Post piece. 

The campaign criticizes the treatment of women candidates as well as women anchors who are interrupted by their male counterparts. It has a video spoofing the behavior on its site. 

"When we come back we are going to be looking at [the woman candidate's] face and counting the wrinkles on it one by one," the actor playing the anchor says. "If that's the face of experience, I think that's going to scare a lot of voters. We'll be right back after [the woman anchor] takes a cry break."