Feministing got a request a few days ago to go on a morning show and talk about a new website that offers women a chance to find a “sugar daddy” (I don’t want to give the site any traffic, so I won’t link to it here). I called the producer back to chat over the logistics and encountered an ugly reminder of just how much most television producers buy into and continually shape sexist narratives.
The producer, a woman, informed me that the first segment would feature a self-proclaimed “gold digger.” They were hoping I would come on the second segment and talk about how bad it is that this woman is making this choice and how it is a real step backwards for women’s empowerment. Here’s the dialogue (roughly) that followed:
Me: I’d actually like to offer a systemic analysis. Women are disproportionately affected by economic downturn, and beyond that, women still make 76 cents to the man’s dollar.
Her: Really? Do you have data to back that up? I’d get laughed out of the office if I made that argument.
Me: There’s a lot of data to back this up; it’s not, like, my little theory. I could send you some very easily. Also, it might be good to bring in some analysis about objectification and the ways in which young women are taught to see their bodies as their most potent source of power. It sort of makes sense for a woman like this to resort to this website when you consider all the societal factors involved.
Her: Okay, well we were hoping for a feisty debate kind of…
Me: Oh, I can be very feisty about these issues.
Her: Okay, I’ll call you back at 2pm.
Never called. Never wrote. In my fantasy, this producer lady googled some of my claims, marched into her supervisor’s office, and quit because she realized she had been underpaid for years. In my sober life, I realize they probably did a really shitty segment blaming the “gold digger” for her ridiculous behavior.