Sunday, 30 October 2011

Representation of women in TV campaign openings

I'm not going to be looking at broader issues about the addresses in the post, but am quite happy to have those discussions in comments.  Just wanted to focus this bit directly on the representation of women aspect.  I'm laying out these brief observations in the order that they have appeared on telly.

Friday night
Outline:  John Key giving a speech, getting applause and then taking questions from the astonishingly well behaved audience.  Whole 20 minutes of this.  Visuals only of audience &; Key in that context, nothing else.  Only people who got to say anything other than Key were the questioners, whose faces you couldn't see.
Representation of women:  Only known National person featured was John Key.  He would have been speaking probably 80%+ of the time.  Of the questioners two were men and four were women.  Guess who asked about the Global Financial Crisis and infrastructue and who asked about education, health and benefits?  Yep, the former for the men, the latter for the women.  The other question was about crime, and framed from a personal safety angle, and thus naturally asked by a woman.  

Outline:  Started with history of Labour, contrasting their achievements in Government since 1938 with National's, highlighting a lot of their key themes such as keeping state assets, looking after the vulnerable, being first in the world at various things.  Next section featured current Labour MPs talking about why they are Labour, how their backgrounds connect with their political values. Final section more policy focused, particularly on the differences between National & Labour, still featuring MPs (including Goff) doing the talking.   
Representation of women:  Voice over was done by a woman.  In the history section mostly Labour men featured.  Lots of archival footage that featured women as well as men, some with voice-overs or speeches which were male voices.  Of the Labour MPs featured there were 7 men (Goff plus his father briefly, O'Connor, Cunliffe, Nash, Robertson, Davis briefly) and 2 women (Sepuloni, Ardern).  Have no idea what proportion of time they all spoke for, but definitely more time for the men than the women.  Subjects covered quite disparate, didn't notice a clear gendered trend around subject matter for Sepuloni and Ardern versus the rest.  E.g. Cunliffe talked about tax, and so did Sepuloni.

Outline:  More traditional opening.  Featured co-leaders walking around Wynyard Quarter (mainly) talking about various policy areas and principles with some examples and vox pops from a variety of people.
Representation of women:  Only Greens featured are the two co-leaders, so that's an equal balance in terms of female/male.  However I did feel that Metiria got more speaking segments than Russel.  For the vox pops which were scattered through-out there were 10 women and 5 men.  Some of these individuals appeared more than once.  It seemed like there were more appearances from women than men, dd anyone actually count? NB:  I'm not intending to address other diversity issues thoroughly with this post, but the ethnic diversity was very clear, and one of the vox pops was in sign language.

Saturday night:
Outline:  Started with Brash talking to camera, then his voice over footage of him talking with small groups of people (one, two or three), then a group of ACT candidates talking around a table (very similar to 2008 iirc). 
Representation of women:  Brash dominated through-out.  With the footage of him with other people it really was almost entirely Brash and other men.  I am pretty sure I only saw one woman actually in conversation with him, although there was one shot with a lot of women seated behind where he and a man were talking together.  When it came to the candidate roundtable there were four men featured (Brash, Seymour, Whittington and Banks) and two women (Isaac and McCabe).  Brash, Seymour and Isaac got the most screen time I thought, McCabe definitely the least, with Banks getting surprisingly little too.

Maori Party
Outline:  Basically a recitation of value statements of the Maori Party, jumping back and forth between different people, including MPs, candidates and vox pop.  Ended with scrolling list of achievements. 
Representation of women:  Pita Sharples and Tariana Turia seemed to get roughly equal time to me, the other candidates featured were four men and one woman.  The cuts between people were very fast and I couldn’t keep up but it looked like it was pretty even between male and female, with the exception of the issue with more male candidates than female. Music featured both male and female voices.
United Future
Outline:  Peter Dunne talking through-out, either to camera or over clear animated footage illustrating his points.  People were represented throughout it by stick-figure types.  
Representation of women:  Only live person was Dunne.  A family was always represented by a man, woman and 2 young children.  In regard to income splitting used a pie chart in which the woman earnt less than the man.  Did have a picture with the woman going out to work (in a skirt suit).  When Dunne talked about their credentials as the "real outdoors party" it only seemed to be men in the outdoors.  Five pictures of old people, only one openly female and she was clearly engaged in childcare.

NZ First
Outline:  Winston talking, then voiceover from Winston over representations of stock footage to match the key problems he mentions.  Brief vox pops speaking to specific past NZF achievements – one middle aged man, one . 
Representation of women:  The vox pops featured one late middle aged man,  3 young women, one young girl, one young man.  The impression I formed of the stock footage was that it was not from NZ, probably from the USA, and thus did reflect some of the gender bias we see in media from there; e.g. most people were slim and white, men were shown doing manual jobs.

The Conservative Party:
Outline:  Colin Craig talking direct to camera through-out.
Representation of women:  None.

Outline:  Woman voiceover.  Kevin Campbell talking through-out, directly to camera alternating with very fast moving footage of street/park scenes.  
Representation of women:  There was definitely a mix of men and women in the footage but hard to discern due to being sped-up.

Outline:  Man and woman in front of fenced off Christchurch CBD. Chch, both talking to camera, with some short bits that were like Powerpoint slides of key points. Mostly talked about proposing a free enterprise zone for Chch.
Representation of women:  Pretty equal balance between the two presenters (both are candidates).  The woman did refer to the response to the Christchurch earthquake now being “a man-made disaster”.

Outline:  Man and woman in first shot, alternate between them for talking, with other half of the screen dedicated to1989 styles graphics illustrating their point about decriminalisation of marijuana.
Representation of women:  Looked roughly equal between the male and female presenters (again, both are candidates) to me.


George said...

Sounds about right. It's interesting how these things represent the parties. National are predictably bad.

It's disappointing that Labour didn't put any other women on. I wonder if that was deliberate - they're behind with male voters and it might be a conscious thing.

Anonymous said...

Just saying

I think you do an important job with this kind of review. In these purportedly 'post-feminist' times, so much evidence of sexism - most evidence - is unmentioned and rendered invisible.

Cara said...

Thank you for this!
It cracked me up when UF made it so the woman was going to work, they must have thought they were being soooo edgy.
Great post :)