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A.J. Bauer is visiting assistant professor of media, culture, and communication at NYU and co-editor of News on the Right. This summer, along with Reece Peck, he wrote weekly recaps of The Loudest Voice, the Showtime limited series biopic of disgraced Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes.
Fox News is about as unlikely a canvas as one can imagine for feminist agitprop.
Cable - Network - Misogynists - Conservatives - Objectification
The cable network founded by misogynists for conservatives, notorious for its on-air sexual objectification of women and off-air sexual harassment, is similarly not a setting that lends itself to political nuance.
Bombshell, directed by Jay Roach (The Campaign, Trumbo) and written by Charles Randolph (The Big Short), impressively threads the needle — complicating Fox stereotypes, while subtly making the case for collective action against workplace sexual harassment.
Full - Disclosure - Bombshell - Film - Teaser
Full disclosure: I was initially a Bombshell skeptic. The film's teaser trailer suggested a sexist catfight narrative, with three Fox Blondes eying one another competitively in an elevator. How could a film by the director of Austin Powers have anything responsible or politically productive to say about #MeToo?
My wariness was also based on having just finished watching The Loudest Voice, Showtime's toxic biographical limited series on the life of Fox founder, chairman, and chief sexual abuser Roger Ailes, which aired in seven parts this summer. As Reece Peck and I chronicled at length, The Loudest Voice suffered from a presentist focus that relegated Ailes' political significance to that of ushering in a Donald Trump presidency. Worse, in foregrounding the perspective and voice of a serial sexual abuser, Loudest Voice unwittingly reproduced Ailes' own misogynist typology of female agency — depicting women as either loyal (Beth Ailes), objects of sexual desire (Laurie Luhn), or resolute victims seeking vengeance (Gretchen Carlson).
Bombshell - Hand - Perspectives - Voices - Women
Bombshell, on the other hand, foregrounds the perspectives and voices of women. Using an up-tempo and...
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