NBC's The West Wing and Law & Order, CBS' Judging
Amy and UPN's Girlfriends portray women as 'smart, resourceful and in
charge,' while shows such as NBC's Fear Factor, ABC's The Bachelor
and The Drew Carey Show and UPN's WWE Smackdown! show women as objects to be 'ogled, used
and demeaned,' according to the National Organization for Women's third annual
feminist report on prime time television.
While the Washington, D.C.-based organization had many positive things to say
about many shows, it also believes much could be improved on network television
in terms of reflecting real American women.
'The networks clearly feel little responsibility for what they put on the air,
as long as it brings in advertising revenue,' the report said.
'The corporations who manufacture products favor targeting viewers ages 18
through 34, so that's the type of content we all get. It doesn't matter that 64
percent of prime time viewers on an average night are 35 or older.'
NOW hired field analysts to review a night of a network's regularly scheduled
prime time programming, for a total of 107 prime time shows, and then to fill out a
diary about the shows they watched.
The analysts responded to specific criteria, such as gender omposition and
diversity, violence, sexual exploitation and social responsibility. The NOW
Foundation compiled the results, assigning a score to each show and then using
these scores to grade the networks in each of the four categories.
Overall, CBS appeared to be the most responsible network from NOW's point of
view, winning high marks in all categories.
In gender composition, UPN and CBS had the highest scores, while ABC and Fox
had the lowest.
In violence, CBS and The WB Television Network were graded to have the least violence, while Fox and
NBC had the most.
CBS and NBC showed the least amount of sexual exploitation of women, while
UPN and The WB showed the most, according to the report.
Finally, CBS scored the highest on social responsibility,
with the other five networks 'far behind,' NOW said.