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Hullabaloo


Thursday, February 13, 2014

 
Ailes' and Hitchcock's blondes

by digby

I have long thought that Roger Ailes was a lot like Alfred Hitchcock: extremely talented but very, very creepy. They look a bit alike, of course, but also have an obsession with young blond women.

Check this out:


But it isn't just old Roger's personal fetish. It's also about a very specific drama and dynamic:

The best explanation for Fox glam may be the channel’s largely conservative audience. An argument can be made that conservative women are typically less squeamish than progressive ones about embracing what the sociologist Catherine Hakim calls “erotic capital,” otherwise known as using your looks to get ahead. See the gleeful Laura Ingraham/­Ann Coulter school of beauty­ology, which holds that the angrier and better-­coiffed you are, the more attention you will receive. The Republican Party welcomes looks in a woman—Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Nikki Haley—and so does Fox.

“They’re definitely pandering to a male audience,” says Meli Pennington, a makeup artist who runs a blog called Wild Beauty. Also, cable-news viewers tend to be older, so Fox may be specifically catering to the sensibilities of older men, she posits, by making women a little “brighter.” She means this literally. “You think of Hugh Hefner’s girlfriends,” she says: “As he got older, they all get brighter and blonder. Look at Anna Nicole Smith. It’s like the large-print edition of women.”

Media critic Jack Shafer adds that the women you see on Fox are not just winsome, lavishly cosmeticized women, but winsome women paired with older men. He says the network almost appears to be taking a page from the theory of evolutionary psychology, which argues that women are attracted to prosperous (often older) men, and these men are attracted to women whose youth and curves signal fertility. “

The men are kind of frumpy older men,” Sherman agrees, “paired with hyper-feminine women. That kind of kinetic energy between the sexes is one of the reasons Fox is successful. Oftentimes the older male hosts—Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity—in the prime time, at night, are paired with women, debating politics, and the women are generally much younger … It almost goes back to 1940s Hollywood.” For guests, the Hollywood screwball routine can be unnerving. It was for Nell Minow, a critic of inflated CEO pay, who was taken aback when a producer urged her to “attack the masculinity” of her debate partner.
Doesn't that just say it all?

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