Friday, August 29, 2008

Gender - Benders

I see Jeremy Paxman has been putting the cat amongst the pigeons again. First it's the dumbing down of the BBC, then it's Marks and Spencer underwear, and now he claims there is no place for the middle aged white man working in TV.

On the first point - agree. On the second point - agree. The best underwear I have found is Petroleum [the make not the liquid]. Doesn't fade and keeps the crown jewels safe. [The worst is Calvin Klein btw]

On the third point - well I'm not sure if he was talking about TV in general or the news department. And I'm not sure he's right in either case. It depends on what level he's talking about. The REAL big bosses are still predominantly male. But the commissioners and gatekeepers tend to be female.

Apparently 60% of the TV audience is female. But I've never been a fan of statistics, they tend to say whatever the proponent wants them to. Soaps are the biggest weekly ratings performer in any schedule, and soaps tend to be predominantly female orientated. Ergo I'm not surprised at that statistic. But does that mean that females are given preferential treatment over males when it comes to script editing, producing , development and commissioning jobs? I very much doubt it.

Here's a theory I have just thunk. It won't win me any fans with the PC brigade but hey ho. Men tend to fall into three camps.

The Ruthlessly Ambitious - climbing the corporate ladder or starting businesses for whom the deal is better than [or at least as good as] sex.

The Steady Eddie's - the salts of the earth who want a decent job with enough satisfaction and money to be content and look after their family.

The Wasters - Drink, drugs, violence and meaningless sex.

I reckon the split is about 1o - 85 - 3 [the other 2% want to be writers and so are beyond hope]

With females I reckon the split is more like 5- 93 -1 [only 1% want to be writers because they are way more sensible than males, equally only 5% want to be ruthlessly ambitious for the same reason]

So there you go. Using these irrefutable statistics it is easy to see why executive positions in TV are more favoured by females. Also, as any married man knows, women are both far more self convinced and more comfortable at telling you what you have done is wrong.

But to get serious. I don't think their is any gender conspiracy. Good grief, get a grip Jezza. What I do think is that I don't have a lot of faith in the current network regimes that they actually know their audience. I don't care if they are male or female.

Good drama transcends gender. The paucity of good drama on TV right now isn't a male/female issue . It's about executives of whichever gender being more concerned with media politics than the audience. They are so far up their own arses with talk of multi platforms and digital media and 360 degrees, and the rest of the jargon that they forget what their primary function is, if they ever knew it in the first place.


Anonymous said...

First time commenter but love and regularly read your blog. Veteran TV professional (and yes, saddo wannabe writer!). Think your analysis of career categories acute. Personally think I'm in group C! But is intriguing rise of females. Traditionally always done well in drama (insight? emotional resonance?), but clearly now also other areas you mentioned. Think combination of positive discrimination (which will also happen with minorities) but also rise of lifestyle, makeover etc. And - most important of all - clone hiring. People in TV tend to hire people they feel comfortable with, like themselves. Used be and still is Oxbridge/middle-class, but logic dictates that if more women, they will also hire more women. So the cycle perpetuates.

English Dave said...

Welcome anon, glad you dig it. Yep agree about the clone hiring, it's human nature. I would hire an ageing reprobate with a penchant for good wine.
Anyone know an Oxbridge middle class woman who can front for me?

Anonymous said...

lol x Perhaps one day, the unreconstructed (but sensitive) male wil return. I meet a lot of these powerful women, and that's what they want!!!!

English Dave said...

I want Names anon. Addresses would also be useful for my stalking

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