To commemorate International Women's Day, Media Matters looks back at some of the most striking instances of sexism on Fox News in the last year -- from asserting that women are “less ambitious” than men to hosting a panel of men debating whether a woman's outfit is “appropriate.”
International Women's Day Promotes Goal Of Achieving Gender Equality
International Women's Day 2016 Theme Is “Step It Up For Gender Equality.” According to The Washington Post, this year's U.N.-approved International Women's Day theme is "'Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality,'" which is “a reference to the U.N.'s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,' the goals of which 'seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls'” :
Celebrated on March 8 for more than 100 years, International Women's Day comes with a U.N.-approved theme. This year's is “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality” -- “a reference to the U.N.'s '2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,'” the goals of which “seek to realize the human rights of all and to achieve gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls.”
“We have shattered so many glass ceilings we created a carpet of shards,” U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. “Now we are sweeping away the assumptions and bias of the past so women can advance across new frontiers.”
“The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights,” political activist and renowned feminist Gloria Steinem said in a statement. [The Washington Post, 3/8/16]
Fox News Figures Routinely Make Sexist Statements
Gavin McInnes: Women Earn Less Than Men Because “They're Less Ambitious.” On the May 14 edition of Hannity, frequent Fox guest Gavin McInnes said that “women do earn less in America because they choose to” and because “they're less ambitious” than men:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Watch out what happens when Clinton supporters find out that as senator she actually paid female staffers a lot less than men.
GAVIN MCINNES: Look, there's different ways to look at the data, but the big picture here is women do earn less in America because they choose to. They would rather go to their daughter's piano recital than stay all night at work, working on a, you know, proposal.
TAMARA HOLDER: What?
MCINNES: So they end up earning less. They're less ambitious. And I think this is sort of God's way, this is nature's way of saying women should be at home with the kids. They're happier there. [Fox News, Hannity, 5/14/15]
Stacey Dash Advised Women In Hollywood Experiencing Unequal Pay To “Be A Better Negotiator.” On the November 10 edition of Outnumbered, Fox contributor Stacey Dash asserted that women experiencing pay disparities based on gender should “Be a better negotiator” and figure out their “value” before demanding equal pay for equal work:
STACEY DASH: There needs to be a demand for more aspirational leading female roles. This being said, there also needs to be an understanding of the difference between worth and value. You know, if you become valuable, if you know what your value is, then you're worth more. So that's what you have to figure out.
MELISSA FRANCIS: So you have to demand more, is basically what you're saying?
DASH: Be a better negotiator. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 11/10/15]
Keith Ablow: In Politics, “It's Tougher For A Woman To Work The Crowd” Than It Is For A Man. On the September 9 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox contributor Keith Ablow claimed that in politics, “it's tougher for a woman to work the crowd. ... because rolling up your sleeves, jogging, it doesn't work as well for a female” :
KEITH ABLOW: Here's the thing and I'm not being sexist, it's tougher for a woman to work the crowd. It's a little tougher because rolling up your sleeves, jogging, it doesn't work as well for a female. Sarah Palin probably came as close to that kind of chemistry as we've seen because she was tough but she was pretty and she was funny, she was self-effacing. Not so with Hillary Clinton, who takes herself very seriously indeed, even when she pokes fun at herself, you get a sense that it's contrived, that she's designing to do so. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 9/9/15]
Sandra Smith: Women's World Cup Players Were “Too Emotional” On The Field Compared To Men. On the July 2 edition of Outnumbered, Fox host Sandra Smith said the women playing in the Women's World Cup were “too emotional” on the field. Smith asserted, “I don't think that men would have reacted the same way” to a teammate who accidentally scored an own goal:
SANDRA SMITH: I did not like this reaction from the other players. I don't think that men would have reacted the same way. I think men would have supported each other.
PETE HEGSETH: Sure.
SMITH: You see an error in baseball. The pitcher goes out to the fielder, whoever it was, and you know, fist-pumps or says move on, because you have to get your mind back in the game. It was too emotional, Stacey, of a response. [Fox News, Outnumbered, 9/2/15]
Keith Ablow: Erin Andrews Could Have Made “The Same Amount” Of Money If She “Let Herself Be Seen Naked” Instead Of Filing A Lawsuit Over Unauthorized Video. On the March 8 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox contributor Keith Ablow suggested that journalist Erin Andrews could have made “the same amount” of money as she received in a lawsuit over someone illegally taping her in her hotel room if she “let herself be seen naked for 60 seconds by each spectator who wanted to” see her:
KEITH ABLOW: Steve, here's something to consider. If a very famous woman decided, and I wouldn't advise it, to let herself be seen naked for 60 seconds by each spectator who wanted to in a hotel room, I think she could probably charge 1,500 bucks per 60 seconds. This probably simply makes her whole. If she wanted to spend her life doing that, she can make the same amount in the next 10 years. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/8/16]
Sandra Smith: “Ladies ... It Could Actually Just Be Your Fault” That “You're Not Getting The Respect You Deserve Around The Office.” On the January 7 edition of Fox & Friends, Sandra Smith prefaced a segment on email etiquette by telling women that “it could actually just be your fault” if “you're not getting the respect you deserve around the office” :
SANDRA SMITH (HOST): Ladies, do you ever feel like you're not getting the respect that you deserve around the office? Well, it could actually just be your fault. But we can fix all of this for you with the help of a special expert that we've got here this morning. An answer may be in your emails. Joining me now to discuss this is millennial expert and associate director for WORKS, a career consultancy company, Jill Jacinto. Alright, please do help us. I want to start out with an example of what you might write in your email that could be really bad. For example, “Dear Mr. President, I'm just writing to say that I'm sorry for taking so long to get back to you. I think I have a plan for the strategic direction of the company in the coming year. I'm no expert, but ...” -- it's those qualifiers, right, Jill?
JILL JACINTO: Exactly. It's those filler words, it's that lack of confidence you're conveying when you're sending emails like this. You really need to think and reread and know that you are an expert. You have that confidence. You've been hired to do this job for a reason.
SMITH: And so you can actually hold your mouse over the word that's underlined revealing that it's a bad word to use, and it will explain why it's bad. For example, using “sorry” frequently in an email undermines your gravitas and makes you appear unfit for leadership.
JACINTO: Exactly. And women have a tendency to apologize for things that are completely out of our control. So what you want to do, remove that sorry and say, “I know about this situation, I'm taking care it and I'm solving the problem for you.”
SMITH: So for some reason -- and maybe this is men too -- but women are afraid of putting an idea out there and getting shot down and turned down for it, so oftentimes we'll write, “I'm no expert but ... ”
JACINTO: Yeah, writing “you're no expert” essentially sends a red flag to whoever is receiving your email. And they're starting to think, maybe she is not an expert. Maybe I should be passing along this assignment to someone else. When, in fact, you are an expert. You've been hired to do the job. You've been put in this position because of your expertise in this industry. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 1/7/16]
John Stossel: Concerns About The Gender Pay Gap Are “Childishly Stupid.” On the March 12 edition of Fox & Friends, Fox Business host John Stossel asserted that “this women-men pay inequality stuff is so childishly stupid” :
ELISABETH HASSELBECK (HOST): You say instead of looking at fairness, look at justice.
JOHN STOSSEL: Right, justice means equal treatment under the law. And that's what we ought to be talking about. I mean this women-men pay inequality stuff is so childishly stupid. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 3/12/15]
Kennedy To Hillary Clinton: “Stop Complaining About Your Gender.” On the February 16 edition of Outnumbered, Fox host Kennedy told Hillary Clinton to “stop complaining about your gender” and called on her not to focus on issues of sexism:
ANDREA TANTAROS: Well, a group of women in the Senate are speaking out about Hillary Clinton and the sexist standard that they say she faces on the campaign trail. Maryland Democrat Barbara Mikulski told The Hill quote, “Many of we women feel that there is a double standard. What is being said about Hillary is what women heard for centuries. You're too loud, you're too aggressive, you're too pushy, why do you want the vote?” The Hill also interviewed Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat, saying quote, “I think women go through a magnifying glass that men do not. Look at [Donald] Trump, talk about braggadocio, talk about arrogance, talk about shouting, talk about demeaning, talk about insulting, it's all there.” Is that a fair point, Kennedy, that they're making, but does it apply, I would say, to Hillary Clinton in this context?
KENNEDY: It was a fair point in 1978, it really was. I think you're dealing with a postfeminist era. You know, and I have to hand it to a lot of these women, a lot of these career politicians who have been at it for decades, it has been a slog for them. And they've had to break certain ceilings, but you know, at some point it's no longer free to be you and me and we have to live in the here and now. Running for president is tough. It probably is the most painful, brutal examination and thorough that one can subject themselves to. Having said that, stop complaining about your gender. You know, a friend of mine who is a female surgeon, says women have to work twice as hard for the half the credit and I think that makes you better person. If you're working that much harder to break through, then you're probably a better candidate. If you're sitting around and having your surrogates complain for you, why on God's earth would anyone want to elect you for public office? [Fox News, Outnumbered, 2/16/16]
Steve Doocy: “Are Female Comedians Simply Not Hot?” On the July 6 edition of Fox & Friends, host Steve Doocy asked if “female comedians are simply not hot” and devoted an entire segment to discussing the question:
STEVE DOOCY (HOST): According to former Disney CEO Michael Eisner, he is under attack for saying this about women. He said, “The hardest artist to find is a beautiful, funny woman. ... Boy am I going to get in trouble.” He was right about that. “But usually unbelievably beautiful women are not funny.” Is he right? Are female comedians simply not hot? [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 7/6/15]
Fox & Friends Asked A Panel Of Men To Debate Whether Women Should Be Allowed To Wear Leggings. On the October 27, Fox & Friends asked a panel of fathers if they were “comfortable with the women in [their lives] parading around in leggings.” The panel, which included Fox legal analyst Arthur Aidala, Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson, and parent Andrew Sansone, asserted that the women needed “a little more coverage” and urged women to “cover [their] tail[s].” Robertson quipped, “I'd like a photo” of one of the models. Aidala complemented another model's “physique,” saying, “God bless you, you've worked out, you've earned that” :
STEVE DOOCY: Leggings ain't pants. Does she have a point? We have brought in an esteemed panel of fathers right here to see if they would allow their daughters to wear leggings to school. Joining us right now we have Duck Dynasty's Willie Robertson, round of applause for Willie, ladies and gentlemen. Fox News legal analyst Arthur Aidala, and Andrew Sansone is the father of two young girls and he happens to be married to our own Fox News' Julie Banderas. Alright. Let's just start by asking general questions about leggings. Willie, are you comfortable with the women in your life parading in public in leggings?
WILLIE ROBERTSON: I am.
DOOCY: Because they ain't pants, I've heard.
ROBERTSON: They ain't pants. You know, but my girls, they wear like the longer shirts to cover up the lady parts. You know. It's a combination. But yeah, I think -- yeah, I'm OK with it.
ARTHUR AIDALA: We basically have a rule in the Aidala household overall, between my niece Julianna and Madison and Carly, if it's not worn in the monastery, it's not worn out on the street. In the Aidala house it's very simple. It's easy. You know, it's very easy. It's black and white.
DOOCY: I'm with you on that. Andrew?
ANDREW SANSONE: Our girls are so young that they have, you know, diapers on, and it's fine. It looks kind of cute.
AIDALA: But look into the the future, what's going to happen.
DOOCY: Well, let's put this to the test. We've got the fathers here. We have three young women who are wearing leggings. Kaitlyn come on over and --
AIDALA: Hi, Kaitlyn. Hi.
DOOCY: Kaitlyn, just stop right there. The guys are looking at Kaitlyn right now.
AIDALA: Actually, I'm not looking. For the record, I'm looking away.
DOOCY: She's wearing leggings, and a hooded sweatshirt. Alright, now Willie, you think?
ROBERTSON: I think that's modest, yeah.
DOOCY: You think that -- but, you said earlier you would like to see something covering --
ROBERTSON: Well it's according to the material. See that's a kind of a spandex looking thing, so that's different.
AIDALA: In other words, it's not so tight that you can see a tattoo on her leg.
ROBERTSON: Right. They're not that tight. Yeah.
AIDALA: They're not that tight that you can see a tattoo on her leg.
DOOCY: You don't have tattoos, or is that too personal?
KAITLYN: No, I don't.
DOOCY: OK, just asking.
AIDALA: Wow, we are in some dangerous territory here, folks.
DOOCY: Thank you very much, come right out over here, we will validate your parking. Amanda, come on over here. You see, of the three --
ROBERTSON: See, this is what I was talking about, see.
DOOCY: Something a little longer.
AIDALA: Amanda can actually go to church like that. I mean --
DOOCY: That's monastery wear to you?
AIDALA: Well, it's black. OK, it's black. It's more or less covered. There's not much going on. I think she looks very appropriate.
DOOCY: Of the three models we have, I think this particular ensemble exemplifies what the woman we just ran in the viral video. She said you've got to cover your tail.
AIDALA: Oh, tail is covered.
DOOCY: Thank you, Amanda. Right over there toward Keith. Thank you very much. And our final contestant is Paige. All right.
ROBERTSON: I'd like a photo of her.
AIDALA: See, we all took nitroglycerin pills before she came on the set, just to make sure.
DOOCY: Andrew, what do you think about what Paige is wearing?
SANSONE: She looks great, going to the gym.
DOOCY: What if she's at the mall.
SANSONE: At the mall --
AIDALA: Come on. Step up. Step up. This is your daughter out there, son.
SANSONE: Do I have a lifeline? No?
DOOCY: Yes, call Arthur. Arthur, what do you think?
AIDALA: Yeah, 1-800-ARTHUR. Obviously her physique, God bless you, you've worked out, you've earned that. And there are appropriate places to wear that. But I wouldn't wear that to churchon Sunday.
ROBERTSON: I think -- you throw a t-shirt on, after working out, no problem.
DOOCY: She needs a little more coverage.
ROBERTSON: Just a little more coverage.
DOOCY: Thank you very much. I don't think anybody is in too much trouble.
AIDALA: No, I think we made it. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/27/15]
Jesse Watters: New York City Traffic “Is What Happens When You Let Women Drive.” On the December 14 edition of The O'Reilly Factor, Fox host Jesse Watters spoke with New York City drivers stuck in traffic and said, “This is what happens when you let women drive” :
JESSE WATTERS: This is what happens when you let women drive.
DRIVER: That's not good to say. [Fox News, The O'Reilly Factor, 12/14/15]