Vanity Fair has a piece in its October issue looking at Maria Bartiromo and Erin Burnett (cue drooling and panting by geeky econ boys). While I’m glad there is an article about women reporters who actually know something about their subjects (rather than being Fox newsreaders), the tone of the article is rather insulting even as it tries to dispell the myth of the bitchfight. If it were two attractive men, would we have the term “money honey” (which I know Bartiromo has now claimed for the branding) or “street sweetie”? Would there EVER be an entire article discussing who is the “Queen B” and making the whole damn thing seem like a stupid high school catfight? God forbid these just happen to be two intelligent people reporting the news. Yes, all news personalities have to be attractive or they wouldn’t be on tv, but male anchors are not subjected to this kind of inane overlay to stories about them. It is perhaps acknowledged briefly that they are “distinguished” or “handsome” and the article moves on. Nobody assumes that two men are backbiting or threatened by one another – perhaps because nobody questions that there can be several prominent men reporting business whereas women have to fight for the one designated female financial reporter slot? Hmmm…

Example:

With sultry blue eyes, sharp, almost perfect features, dimples, and a lazy, bedroomy smile, Burnett not only was knowledgeable about financial issues but had a knack for translating them into plain English, and in contrast to Maria, who was more singularly focused on corporate news, Burnett was interested in broader policy issues—education, health care, how to pay for the repair of America’s crumbling infrastructure. She had a casual, breezy on-air persona. She was also a bit irreverent—and spontaneous. 

Seriously, a “lazy, bedroomy smile”? Are you f-ing kidding me? The rest of that quote is fine – it talks about her style of reporting, her interests, also known as her qualifications for the job. Don’t even get me started on the photo that is half-way down the page:

Again, Burnett is a savvy woman who knows how to promote herself and she is playing off of it. But male reporters don’t have to go there, no photo shoot would even propose to have a man pose like that. She agreed to it, but why was she even asked?

Frankly, I think Bartiromo says it best in the article (and note the total LACK of cattiness):

“I think it’s a disservice to us as women and as businesspeople, by the way, to compare what you’re seeing from a handful of situations to women who are really trying to make it in business. You could look at CNBC and see women who are beautiful and smart and they’re not showing all this skin: Becky Quick, Erin Burnett, Michelle Caruso-Cabrera—[all] beautiful successful women doing great,” she says. “It’s more than prancing around the Stock Exchange with little dresses on. We’re covering business and it doesn’t matter what you look like if you don’t know your stuff. If you don’t have the goods, you will not last.” 

And from Burnett at the end of the article:

“I think that when people see strong, successful women, they love to imagine that there is a rivalry,” says Burnett. “Maybe it’s because there are not as many women. And maybe, I don’t know,” she says, rolling her eyes, “it’s a male-fantasy thing.”

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