If you have been thinking that women on Fox News look a bit more garish than on other news networks, you're right. In fact, it's a deliberate network tactic.
In a recent article in The Atlantic, Liza Mundy wrote:
TV news shows have always put a premium on appearance, more so for women than for men. And it’s hardly a revelation that some networks place more pressure on women than do others: C-SPAN has no makeup room at all, just a collection of powder compacts that guests can use if they are so inclined. At MSNBC, Rachel Maddow is known to prefer minimal makeup, while other anchors want more, and the artists oblige with a range of choices, from neutral tones to berry hues. Bloomberg TV tends toward the corporate aesthetic; CNN favors a professional style that makes women and men look crisp, as if they have been ironed. As for Fox, suffice it to say that there is a YouTube montage devoted to leg shots of Fox anchors, who are often outfitted in body-hugging dresses of vibrant red and turquoise, their eyes enhanced by not only liner and shadow but also false lashes. A Fox regular once commented to me that she gets more calls from network management about her hair, clothes, and makeup than about what she says. “I just think of it as a uniform,” she said of her getup.
But here’s the newer development: It’s not just anchors who are pressured to look good while talking, it’s relatively ordinary women, too. For a contingent of female bloggers, ideologues, advocates, pundits, and writers, a Fox gig brings with it an unexpected dilemma. There you are, a renowned expert on nuclear proliferation/immigration policy/the Middle East, obliged to regard yourself in the mirror and ask: Will I really go on national television looking like a cross between Captain Jack Sparrow and a waitress from Hooters?
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Just so’s you know, “fecundity” is NOT really something the folks at FoxNoise would want their female hosts or guests to display. “Fecundity” usually refers to fertility and, when selecting a hooker, the dirty old man FoxNoise relies on for its viewership isn’t going to be impressed with how fecund she’ll be. (One’s use of makeup doesn’t really display intellectual fecundity so we can dispense with that particular usage.)
Hyperbole- gotta love it. Sparrow is actually the Depp role I have the absolute least tolerance for. I can’t even put into words how poorly structured and acted a character he is. But I digress.
Back on the subject, this can be summed up with the “ratings game” confessions Murdoch and Ailes both drop. It’s on the same page as TNA Women and NFL cheerleaders- which ones are more popular? The ones that have little to no makeup outside of their stage paint? Or the ones that are so hussied up that you start to wonder how they aren’t melting under those lights?
We still have the double standard that in order for women to be successful in the media they must look like they walked out of a modeling catalog or the pages of Playboy to please advertisers while the appearance of men are not.
And it was made so.