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As usual for Sunday morning I have the Today show on droning in the background, providing visual and audible pink noise. I happened to look up during their story on the impact of sequestration when they mentioned Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville AL. I used to work with folks there so it caught my ear.

As I looked up they moved from a shot of folks working on helicopters and missile launchers to a young woman standing in the workshop stating "the sequestration will definitely hit my family." The clip of the woman was about 2 seconds long, the last second had a caption. And I couldn't believe what I saw. So through the magic of TiVo I was able to see what some production assistant thought would just fly by.  What was made me rewind the TiVo was the way they identified this young woman. "Anna, Heavy Makeup Engineer."

Image capture of Today Show caption on image of engineer at Redstone Arsenal shown during sequestration effects story 3 March 2013.
Sexist caption on image of government worker.
Assuming that some producer actually did their job and got the young woman's actual job title, then she is an engineer, she worked hard, received a technical degree, works in an industry dominated by troglodyte men. So how is she treated by a show that has more female talent than male? just as poorly (probably more poorly) as the guys in the shop. And then people wonder why there aren't more women in technical fields.

Beyond the sexist labeling of this young woman, there is the implied putdown of government workers. The guys in the production room laughing "Har, har, she's a government engineer? I bet she engineers her makeup! Har, har." because we all know that government employees are just a bunch of incompetent fools that don't know how to run a titling program for NBC!


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