Reader Survey Results: Winter 2000 Woman-Positive Media

by Lisa Pierson, Publications Intern

In the Winter 2000 issue of the National NOW Times, we asked readers to think about examples of woman-positive content in media. Your responses show that this is a hot topic.

1) List your five favorite television shows of all time (including shows no longer on the air) that portray women in an honest way:

This question elicited the greatest number of responses. You reported that your favorite five shows were:

#1: Cagney and Lacey, #2: ER, tied at #3: Ellen & Golden Girls, tied at #4: Roseanne & The X-Files tied at #5: Designing Women, Judging Amy, Mary Tyler Moore Show & Murphy Brown

The PBS documentary about Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton also received a number of votes. Almost all respondents mentioned that positive programming of women has been-and continues to be-the exception rather than the norm.

"When I tune in I am concerned with the effect of the distorted images on young and underdeveloped minds that have trouble distinguishing quality of reasoning and ideas this fictional world implies." - Sandra McDevitt, New Springfield, OH
"ER - the female characters, like Nurse Hathaway, Elizabeth Corday, Gloria Reuben's character, etc., present a variety of opinions, and their personal lives . . . as well as their professional commitment and ambition represent a broad range of womanhood." - Joriel Foltz, Williamsburg, VA

2) What would you say are the five best movies of all time about women and/or girls?

You all chose the winner in this category by a very large margin! The top five movies reported were:

#1: Thelma & Louise, #2: Fried Green Tomatoes, #3: The Color Purple, #4: Steel Magnolias, tied at #5: How to Make an American Quilt, The Joy Luck Club & Mulan

Many respondents expressed that women are, for the most part, not well represented in Hollywood.

"I can't think of one movie about women/girls that is not fatally flawed in some way and therefore insulting." - Katie Murphy, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
3) List five newspapers or magazines that cover women's issues well:

Almost 25 percent of you placed Ms. as your number one choice for woman-positive magazine. The following list shows your top five newspaper and magazine choices:

#1: Ms. Magazine, #2: National NOW Times, tied at #3: Bitch Magazine & Sojourner,

tied at #4: Bust Magazine, The New York Times & Time Magazine, tied at #5: Mother Jones & Self

4) What two radio programs or stations do a good job of addressing women's concerns?

The current radio climate seemed to trouble respondents most. Many of you commented that the majority of programming is particularly offensive to women. About 45 percent reported that you either do not listen to the radio, or that you know of no stations that promote women and their issues. The two listed received cheers from you as radio networks to tune in to:

#1: National Public Radio & #2: Pacifica Radio

"ABSOLUTELY ZERO! I actually do not even listen to the radio on my way to work any more because I can't stand listening to the sexism and the constant ramblings about female body parts." - Chris, Nashville, TN
5) Name your five favorite pro-woman/girl web sites:

Many respondents have found web pages that are more progressive and woman-positive than traditional media. Perhaps this new technology will be a sign of good things to come. Here is a list of your five favorites:

#1:, #2: (The Feminist Majority), #3: tied at #4: & & #5:

"Childless by Choice ( - it is nice that women who choose a child-free-by-choice lifestyle are finally being affirmed rather than looked down upon." - Allison Hergenrother, Winter Park, FL
Of the people who repsonded through the newspaper (not through the web), a significant number do not use the Internet or even computers-and many seem happy that way!

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