CUTE LITTLE GIRLS….Virginia Postrel ? now with permalinks! ? doesn’t like the way the news channels are treating Jessica Lynch:
Reporters on Fox News Channel and MSNBC are displaying an exceedingly annoying habit of referring to Pfc. Jessica Lynch as just “Jessica” in news stories, the better to tug the viewers’ paternal/maternal heartstrings. But Jessica Lynch is not the little girl who fell down the well. She is a U.S. soldier serving in harm’s way. If you’re old enough to be a POW, you’re old enough to be referred to as “Private Lynch.” Even if you’re female.
This has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time in an entirely different area: tennis. Despite tennis’ status as the ur-feminist sport (remember Billy Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs in 1973?), TV announcers routinely refer to the men as Sampras, Agassi, Hewitt, etc., while the women are Lindsey, Serena, Venus, and Anna.
No, this doesn’t happen all the time, and yes, certain players (mostly ones with hard-to-pronounce first names) seem to be exceptions, but it happens often enough. If it were just the Williams sisters that suffered from this, you could almost understand. After all, they’re so damn good that they play each other all the time, and you can hardly call a Serena vs. Venus match by referring to both of them as Williams. But you can sure do it when one of them is playing Jennifer Capriati.
Tennis announcing on TV isn’t one of the most pressing problems of the feminist cause, but it’s a place to start. And “Private Lynch” would be a good next step.