Even though I wasn’t a supporter of Sarah Palin, she was recently hired at Fox News, and I feel I need to warn her. After all, she’s a brunette who often wears glasses–a breed targeted for extinction in Foxworld.
There’s something creepy going on at Fox News, and it’s not just the skewed way they choose to report the news. When a woman gets a job on the “fair and balanced” news network, she gets “Foxified.” No matter how she looks or how old she is when she signs her contract, these female contributors transform, appearing on our screens strangely clone-like, blonde and so heavily made up they all look around 40.
Greta Van Susteren famously made the cover of People after she scored her own show on the network and got “Foxified,” sporting much lighter hair and tighter skin.
When I used to produce talk radio programs for the ABC affiliate in the Bay Area, and the host had a legal issue he wanted to discuss, I often booked a brilliant and beautiful law professor as an expert: Lis Weihl. After 9/11, she was hired by Fox News. The next time I saw her on TV, I only recognized her by her name in the byline.
Fox News is a modern day Stepford factory for accomplished women. By turning professors and authors into porn star doppelgangers, the network effectively communicates what women say is not as important how they appear.
The older, winkled, balding male stars of the news channel obviously have different physical requirements to get a job on TV. Maybe Palin earns some of those privileges, because she’s already famous with her own loyal following. We’ll have to wait and see if her hair and glasses survive Fox News President Roger Ailes, himself not the most svelte, glossy headed guy in town.
Update: I’m not attacking these women for getting jobs; I’m pointing out the sexist requirements for men versus women on TV. Furthermore, being “Foxified” doesn’t translate to being attractive or beautiful. As a commenter pointed out, it has to do with becoming a “femmebot.” The blonde dye jobs and overly made up faces on Fox News women are indicative of a culture dominated by Caucasians and capitalism, keeping women in line and rewarding them when they conform to the rules, upholding the power structure as is–often a reflexive but still clever way to keep women in their place.