Lifetime, Lifetime Real Women, We TV, Oxygen, etc., are cable channels (don't know where they're available, but I have seen them in the States and Thailand) that are marketed as "television programming for women."
What do you think of this? Do you think women just want to watch Unsolved Mysteries and TV dramas? What do you think of the assumptions that these channels make as to what constitutes "programming for women?"
What about television for men? Some might say, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, that ESPN and other sports channels are TV for men. But I've been known to watch my fair share of football*, tennis, and skateboarding.
*if you've read my other posts regarding sports, you'd know when I say "football," i'm talking about the game with players wearing shorts kicking around a round black and white ball
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Here in Canada, we have the W Network for women, and Men TV for men. (To see a description of the Men's station, go to the link I posted, and then look on the right side of the page - there's another link.)
As for the issue of sports television being men's television - check out this week's New York Times Magazine about sportscasters being the friends of lonely men.
Men TV is really, really dumb. Seriously, I think they've decided that the average man is Homer Simpson. It's all car crashes, sexy babes and explosions. I never watch W Network, so I'm not in a position to comment on it (except that I know they employ the fabulous sex educator Sue Johannson - so they're cool in that respect).
In a way, it's nice that people are finding television stations where they're more at home (here in Canada we also have PrideVision - a channel devoted to gay and lesbian programming), but in another way, I feel sad that there aren't many common experiences anymore. It seems like in the past, everyone laughed at the same shows, and could talk about it. That's not so anymore, and I wonder if all of this fragmentation is driving people further apart.
Who cares if there's a war on in some country I've never heard of, now that I can watch Most Gruesome Train-Elephant Accidents, on Men TV?
More of me feels that way, I think. This fragmentation only furthers the I-only-care-if-it-affects-me-directly attitude that's slowly permeated my society.
It seems pretty stupid to have separate channels for men and women. Perhaps these sorts of channels are good for addressing men's/women's health issues, but other than that, the programming is heavily based on stereotypes.
Same goes for PrideVision, or BET (black entertainment television). Although I recognize that certain groups want to make their voices heard, I wish mainstream channels would just start being a little more inclusive!
There isn't all that much about me that makes me your stereotypical male, but television sure does its best to shoehorn me into that category.
Ever see some of the riduculous programs on TV and ask yourself, "who on earth watches that crap?" Sorry...I'm your guy. If "World's Scariest Police Chases" is on, I'm riveted. Any episode of "COPS" I come across is liable to hold my attention. And since being in LA means I get my regular programming interrupted every week or so by a live police chase, I'm in hog heaven.
I suppose it's easy to write off my obsession with the aforementioned television programming as being a byproduct of my personal experience. But that's not so easy when I try and justify my compulsive need to watch sports while waving a t-shirt in the air and hollering at every bad call. I can't explain that at all, except to say that I can remember it being that way since sometime around the 1984 World Series. I try to control myself more these days, but the Lakers still get my blood pressure going.
Amidst all that, I still find myself entrenched in mixed feelings about television networks that are geared towards different groups. I'm with Dzuun when he mentions how it contributes to the polarization of our society...while it isn't going to lead to the end of the world, it certainly isn't helping bring us any closer together. We've got special channels for the African-American community, special channels for women, a proposed network for homosexuals based on the one in Canada, etc etc. I'm sure lots of people appreciate that, but it just seems to do more to heighten our differences than anything else.
It's a tough issue, and it exposes my hypocrisy quite a little bit. Because even while I'm writing about how specialty channels divide us, I keep turning my head around to watch the "Discovery Wings" channel which is currently airing a show about fighter jets at war. Go figure.
------------------ "Task Force 46, Light Force 34, Engine and Rescue 66, Battalion 3, Division 2; respond into the Greater Alarm Structure Fire at San Pedro and Jefferson. Reported to be a fire at the First Alert fire extinguisher factory..."
I think I'm the person they invented women's TV for, which is one of the many reasons I do not own a TV.
Home decorating, cheesey "our family was torn apart" TV-movies, pregnancy shows, celebrity profiles, re-runs of ER...
Yeah, baby. Bring it on. Pass the remote and shove over on the couch.
I think it's about what the majority of the intended audience can relate to. While enjoy going to soccer matches, for example, to me it's about The Stadium Experience. Watching it on telly is not interesting to me because I'm not there.
COPS? Eh. I think the domestic violence call outs are more interesting than, say, the car chases -- I am intrested to see how the DV calls are dealt with, but in the car chase, there are really only two scenarios: get arrested, or die in a firey inferno.
In short, I wouldn't want to share a TV with BruinDan, because the power struggle for the remote would be epic
And I very much feel that programming like BET and PrideTV is important, especially right now. Minorities of all kninds have been grossly underrepresented on mainstream TV for a long long time; it's efforts like BET and PrideTV that normalise minorities and push them into mainstream conciousness, and by extension, mainstream programming.
Remember that its only recently that anyone on Prime Time has been gay in any kind of developed role, or that there have been Black families that were not just Huxtable Barbies.
quote:Originally posted by DarlingBri: COPS? Eh. I think the domestic violence call outs are more interesting than, say, the car chases -- I am intrested to see how the DV calls are dealt with, but in the car chase, there are really only two scenarios: get arrested, or die in a firey inferno.
duh. thats the point, silly.
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