The Satellite Sex by Barbara Freeman

Article excerpt


In a world conditioned to receiving media information in 10-second sound bites, Barbara Freeman's new book, The Satellite Sex, stands out like a magnificent flower flourishing in an otherwise barren landscape.

Freeman, who left radio journalism to teach at Ottawa's Carleton University in 1980, revamped her doctoral thesis on media coverage of the Royal Commission on the Status of Women to produce The Satellite Sex. The Media and Women's Issues in English Canada, 1966-1971.

The book is a stunning achievement. It is a blueprint for the kind of thoughtfulness and clear-headedness that is urgently needed in media coverage of gender issues today. The 347-page book, complete with 60 pages of notes and a 28-page bibliography, is not only extremely well written and illustrated, but is also a testimony to great diligence, thoroughness and accuracy. It is highly accessible to a wide audience.

Freeman identifies two overriding problems with media coverage of the Royal Commission. One was the immediacy with which journalists were expected to cover the Commission and then move on to other things, which "limited any real analytical discussion of the recommendations the commissioners did agree on, or of the women's movement and its evolution, for that matter." The other was the gender tension evident among the reporters themselves. …