Journalism 101 for sexist writing

Today’s lesson in ‘How not to write a news story’ comes from MX: “Women fear lewd bosses”.

One in three women have endured some form of sexual harassment in the workplace with most lewd remarks being made by the boss.

Thirty-two per cent of those who responded to a UK poll said they had been the subject of an inappropriate remark, with one in four saying that it came from their immediate manager.

According to the unnamed journo who wrote this rubbish, being scared of your boss because he sexually harasses you is a silly female emotion. The headline should be “Lewd bosses harassing employees” or “Lewd bosses breaking the law”. And the first sentence should be something like “Some bosses are breaking the law by sexually harassing employees and making them feel the lewd remarks are their fault”.

Here’s the rest of the story:

It also revealed 16 per cent of Britain’s workers dread work because of lecherous colleagues. Almost one in five said they had been forced to fend off the advances of a colleague and one in 20 had quit a job over it.

Will Burrows, head of employment law for LawOptions.co.uk, which carried out the study, said: “A massive part of our lives is spent at work, but it can be extremely difficult if you have to face lewd remarks.

“It’s even more worrying to think so many are putting up with this from their boss.

“Employees are there to do a job and it’s wrong that those around you can make you feel uncomfortable while you are trying to get on with what you are paid to do.”

The study of 2300 workers both male and female found 12 per cent were upset by the remarks, 17 per cent felt angry, and 7 per cent lost confidence. Five per cent were made to feel the remarks were their fault.

Fourteen per cent were dreading their office Christmas parties in case they were cornered.

The study also showed that one in 20 had asked their boss or colleague to stop making the remarks, but 12 per cent of those said it made the situation worse.

Sexual harassment is illegal in the UK – as it should be – so really, what we have here is a bunch of managers who are breaking the law and getting away with it. That’s the story, not “women fear lewd bosses”.

2 responses to “Journalism 101 for sexist writing

  1. The burden that gets placed on women to be the saints while the men are just products of their biology never ceases to amaze me. Very entertaining and valid points in your posts. Thank you!

    • Thanks! Men should be pissed off when they’re portrayed as simple creatures who can’t control themselves. And by presenting sexual harassment as something women have to put up with – as this story does – rather than something illegal, it stops people taking it seriously.

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