Last week TV3 Ireland announced that it would be rebranding its channels, and, drum roll please ladies, introducing a brand new, female focused channel. Thank God. Me and my vagina were struggling with what to watch!
In a step that neither goes forward nor two steps back, TV3 are successfully ensuring that 2017 will be another year of gendered sh1te. The three new channels; TV3, 3e and be3, will be dedicated to adults (men), adults who want to have fun (men), and women (and children), respectively. Just in case you weren’t too sure whether your genitals or gender identity had an impact on your TV viewing. For a little guide, be3 will be “home to drama and chat and give viewers a second chance to see their favourite soaps.” You and your vagina can send your thanks to TV3, c/o Bill Malone.
Needless to say, there was outrage about this. Once again, women are being further shunted aside and labelled as different. Specific. “Special”. So special that we need our own space to discuss all the important things that us women need to discuss, like that rerun of Corrie or Teletubbies. Y’know, #justgirlythings.
This is just another example of a long line of female specific and/or female created product being isolated and Othered. Women’s beauty products are labelled so, with the price reflecting its consumer. (Sugar and spice, and a very high price). My all female gym here in France is drenched in pink. Literature and articles written by women are deemed exclusively for women, like we speak a language that is incomprehensible to non-female ears. Men’s experiences, words, creations and media are understood to be the universal; something that is understood to everyone, whether experienced or not. What women undergo in life is so thoroughly unique that it is often labelled as something else entirely, and not necessarily in a good way. Could the benefits of the introduction of this new channel be explained to me, please? In female friendly language, of course. Because I don’t understand why women need to have their own channel, that must be shared with children, and not be included with the rest of the grown-ups. Exclusion is a form of bullying, don’tcha know?
Furthermore, the bundling of female and children together for this undoubtedly, pink, glittery and floral shite-show is just insulting and demeaning. It first implies that women are no more intelligent than children, and reduces their content to the same importance as that of Teletubbies and Little Charmers. The young girls watching this new channel will see their childhood, adolescence and adulthood all in one place. They instinctively won’t be drawn to politics, sport, talk shows, current affairs because that’s on the “men’s channels”. They won’t even get the choice. With that being said, be3 will showcase two WHOLE news segments during the day. What a lovely gift, a token amount of news an current affairs. These little girls will begin watching TV on be3, they will witness the “older girls” staying with this channel (should it even last that long for there to “older girls”), and know that this is all for them in life.
And what is that, you ask? The TV guide for the new channel has not yet been explicitly released, although it has been said that it will feature the soap reruns (of course), and dramas. They do seem to have a grasp of the working of the female mind (yawn), and have taken the first step to provide us with ample content and resources to gossip over our cups of tea in between complaining about the youngest who wouldn’t get to sleep and the fact that Himself is off to the Euros next week.
It seems to me that the uniting of adult female and children TV shows also points to practicality; both would be viewing the television at the same time, meaning that of course the women would be home taking care of the children. It is only further indicating that to be woman is to be mother is to be taking care of child, in a time in Ireland when it is so crucial to dismantle the false dichotomy between being female and motherhood.
It astounds me that the people (men) behind this change cannot see how damaging it is. I also wonder what the women, if there are any, behind the scenes think of this. Was it them who were so sick of watching the news or listening to people debate or watching a football match that they demanded something just for them?
I highly doubt it. This smells of Lynx and sexism.
If there was ever a worse time to dedicate TV channels to genders, it’s now. If there was ever a time when we needed inclusionary, open and non-stereotyping media, it’s now. But what we do have for now, is channel for us solely gals and our kiddies, pink n’all, and a channel for everyone else. The rest of the world. Let us know how you get on out there, because us women are once again shunted off into the corner.
What a way to finish off this shocker of a year, TV3, by further defining gender roles in Irish households for the foreseeable future. Good on ya, ya good thing.