Posts Tagged ‘Oprah’

It’s the Looks, Stupid… Not the Skills

Yup.  Here we go again.

Why is it some journalists have a need to describe the physical attributes of a woman they’re quoting, but not those of a man – even when they’re in the same article? 

Maybe we should expect it from men’s magazines.  Or even certain newspapers.  But in O, The Oprah Magazine?

Here are the quotes, found on MSN Relationships today, taken from the article “How to Improve Your Marriage Without Talking About It”.

“The number one myth about relationships is that talking helps. The truth is, more often than not, it makes things worse,” says Love, a tall, lean redhead with a down-home Texas twang and a generous smile. She is cofounder of the Austin Family Institute, and leads workshops around the country when she isn’t making television appearances or cowriting books, including the best-selling Hot Monogamy.

“Talking about feelings, which is soothing to women, makes men physically uncomfortable,” says Stosny, the Maryland-based author of You Don’t Have to Take It Anymore and an expert on male aggression. “There’s literally more blood flow to their muscles. They get fidgety, and women think they’re not listening.”

Barbara Graham, the author of the article, lost her credibility with me with those descriptions.  Patricia Love, an experienced professional, is first described by her looks (although Graham is careful not to comment on whether or not Love is attractive).  Her skills and accomplishments seem almost secondary.  On the other hand, Steven Stosny, Love’s research partner, is described entirely by his qualifications.

I have an undergraduate degree in psychology, have worked for years in the mental health system, and have studied male/female gender differences & communcation styles extensively… and my reasonably learned opinion is that the article – and the theory it describes – is otherwise pretty good.   

It’s too bad Barbara Graham felt a need to put a gratuitous physical description of Patricia Love in her write-up.  I guess now I remember one reason why I stopped reading O, TOM several years ago.

Linda Snyder, M.S.