Sexism prevalent on late night television

By Nora Zacharski

Special to The Denisonian

A recent Vanity Fair article was supposed to be a celebration of the new late night talk show hosts, but it has sparked more than a little controversy and caused the Twittersphere to erupt in outrage.

This was due to the article’s accompanying photo, which featured absolutely no women, and only two men of color. This harsh contrast is a wake up call for an America that is supposedly becoming more and more progressive on women’s rights.

In his 2007 Vanity Fair article titled “Why Women Aren’t Funny,” Christopher Hitchens insisted that while society pressures men to be funny, “women have no corresponding need to appeal to men in this way. They already appeal to men, if you catch my drift.”

Tina Fey, former head writer for Saturday Night Live,  in her 2011 book Bossypants said that when people ask her about these statments, she says “Unless one of these men is my boss, which none of them is, it’s irrelevant.”

Despite Fey’s response, Hitchen’s comments point to a growing issue: women in Hollywood are often only given attention if they are attractive.

This is a ridiculous double standard, because men are judged purely  off of their talent.

But, it is not only men who are perpetuating this standard. Liz Merriwhether, creator of the TV show New Girl, upon announcing that Megan Fox was set to star on the upcoming season, said “It’s insane to me that such a gorgeous person can be so funny”

This statement is what is wrong with the thought process of Hollywood. If people stopped judging women off their appearance and just started judging them on their humor, perhaps we would have more women in late night TV.

Thankfully, the Vanity Fair article did acknowledge the problem saying, “How gobsmackingly insane is it that no TV network has had the common sense…..to hand over the reins of an existing late-night comedy program to a female?”

There is hope, though. Two original shows created by women are set to air in 2016. Hopefully through these shows and more like them, the world will come to see how comedy is a platform for everyone of all races, genders and backgrounds, not the (old) boys club that it is today.