CNN correspondent speaks about sexism

Brittany Senary

KSU alumna Carol Costello discusses women in the media

CNN news anchor Carrol Costello spoke yesterday to the Akron Press Club at the University of Akron. She talked about sexism in the media, especially during the current Democratic contest between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. HEATHER STAWICKI | DAILY K

Credit: Ron Soltys

Are women buying into sexism when they wear short skirts and call other women bitches?

This is what Kent State graduate and CNN contributor to “The Situation Room”, Carol Costello, asked during her speech, “Buying into Sexism: the State of Women in the Media.”

Costello spoke yesterday at the Martin University Center on the University of Akron’s campus. The Akron Press Club and the women’s studies program at the University of Akron sponsored the event.

Costello said women decide what clothes to wear, women leave their jobs to be full-time mothers and women compete with other women in the workplace. But does this mean they are giving into sexism?

Costello brought the point of sexism home when she asked the audience, “How many people would tell a racist joke to an African-American? And how many people would tell a dumb blonde joke to a woman?”

Costello said women have a higher bar to meet than men because they have to prove themselves more than a male colleague. That is why she said wearing short skirts during TV news broadcasts is buying into sexism. She feels the women on those programs are not seen as real journalists, and that is why they will never move to the top of journalism.

Costello said women need to pave the way for equality, and a lot of women are not fighting hard enough.

“Women have a choice,” Costello said. “In the end, that sexiness isn’t going to keep a woman in that job. You do not see top women in the media like Nancy Grace and Greta Van Susteren dressing sexy.”

Gary Hanson, associate professor of journalism, said Costello was right on the money with her speech.

“If you look at the number of women in the media compared to the number of men, there are still a lot of roadblocks women need to cross,” Hanson said.

Costello left Kent State before receiving her degree because she was offered a job. In 2004, she completed her degree with the help of Hanson.

“She is really interested in Kent because KSU gave her the foundation to start her career,” Hanson said. “She said she had one regret in her life, and that was that she never finished college. To finish, she did not sit in a classroom. She produced teaching modules and it satisfied for her course work.”

Costello’s speech can be seen on Time Warner Cable at 9 p.m. March 13, 7 p.m. March 15 and 4 p.m. March 16 on channels 15 or 22 in Cleveland or Channel 23 in Akron, Canton or Youngstown.

Contact College of Communication and Information reporter Brittany Senary at [email protected].