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Discovery Channel’s ‘Shark Week’ is racist and sexist

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  • Discovery Channel’s ‘Shark Week’ is racist and sexist

    Yeah, some researchers just discovered that the Discovery Channel's popular annual Shark Week they've been running since 1988, is racist and sexist.

    Part of their reasoning. Too many guys named "Mike" involved with the show.

    Source: ‘Shark Week’ lacks diversity, overrepresents men named Mike, scientists say


    Researchers say Discovery’s programming overwhelmingly featured White men as experts while emphasizing negative messages about sharks

    Lisa Whitenack loved sharks as a kid. She spent rainy days leafing through a guide to sharks in Reader’s Digest. Every summer, she would watch “Shark Week,” Discovery’s annual TV event that spotlights the ocean predator with seven days of dedicated programming.

    But when the scientists appeared on her TV screen, she rarely saw any women she could look up to.

    “Why would I know I could do that?” Whitenack said. “I don’t come from a family of scientists. I didn’t see very many people that looked like me on television.”

    Whitenack, now a biology professor at Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., found her way into shark research anyway. When the pandemic lockdowns came in 2020, she saw an opportunity to study the source of her old misconceptions. Was “Shark Week” feeding audiences the wrong messages about sharks — and who studies them?

    Whitenack led a team of researchers to examine hundreds of “Shark Week” episodes that aired between 1988 and 2020. In a study published last month by the Public Library of Science, their research claims that Discovery’s programming emphasized negative messages about sharks, lacked useful messaging about shark conservation and overwhelmingly featured White men as experts — including several with the same name.

    The programming featured more White experts and commentators named “Mike” than women, said David Shiffman, a conservationist at Arizona State University who was a co-author of the study.
    “When there are hundreds of people of color interested who work in this field, [and] when my field is more than half women, maybe it’s not an accident anymore that they’re only featuring White men,” Shiffman said.

    Discovery did not respond to a request for comment on the study’s findings. The company told NBC Boston that it wouldn’t comment on a study “that has yet to pass any scientific approvals” after a preliminary version was presented 2021. It has since undergone a scientific review, Whitenack said.

    “Shark Week,” a 34-year tradition and consistent ratings draw for Discovery, has faced criticism in the past. Scientists and TV critics blasted the event in 2020 for announcing a roster of TV specials that featured six White men out of eight named experts.

    Whitenack’s study found that the trend persisted throughout almost all of the television event’s history. Over 90 percent of the 229 experts featured in 201 “Shark Week” episodes were White, the study found, and about 78 percent were men.

    Carlee Bohannon, a marine biologist and co-founder of Minorities in Shark Sciences, praised the study for putting numbers to her and her colleagues’ long-standing concerns about diversity in both the media and shark science. When Bohannon founded her organization with three other Black scientists in 2020, it was the first time any of them had met other Black women in their field.
    “We all grew up seeing one type of person on TV,” Bohannon said. “‘Shark Week’ was really the biggest thing, and it was always filled with White men.”

    According to a separate diversity study co-written by Shiffman, more than half of the members of the American Elasmobranch Society, an academic group supporting the study of sharks and other fish, are women, but over 70 percent of the group’s leadership positions have been held by men. Women in marine sciences can also face a misogynistic culture, marine biologist Catherine Macdonald wrote in Scientific American in 2020.

    “‘Shark Week’ further concentrates power (in the form of publicity and media attention) in the hands of white male ‘featured scientists,’ exacerbating academic power imbalances,” Macdonald wrote.
    In the latest study, Whitenack and the other researchers also found that more “Shark Week” episodes included stories of attacks and other fearmongering messaging than positive language describing sharks as “awe-inspiring” or ecologically important, which the study called a missed opportunity.

    “Shark Week” also lacked effective messaging about conservation issues, researchers said. Though Discovery has used the show to promote legislation protecting sharks, “Shark Week” rarely gave viewers actionable information about conservation issues, such as avoiding seafoods caught in ways that also trap and harm sharks, the study claims.

    But Whitenack and Bohannon agreed that the biggest concern was with the program’s lack of diversity and how that might shape young scientists’ perceptions of marine biology and whether they could enter the field.

    “Diversity in people brings diversity in thought, which ultimately brings innovation,” Bohannon said. “Being able to see someone who looks like you in this field really has an impact.”
    Whitenack said Discoveryhasn’t contacted the research group.

    In 2020, National Geographic developed a partnership with Minorities in Shark Sciences that allowed members of the organization to participate in the network’s competing TV program, “SharkFest,” Bohannon said. Seven scientists of color from the group appeared in this year’s programming.

    Bohannon appeared on “SharkFest” twice to talk about nurse sharks in the Bahamas and how they have adapted to swim in shallow water. It felt like a milestone — one she wishes more of her peers get to experience.

    “Just seeing myself on TV,” Bohannon said, “it was very surreal.”


    Source

    © Copyright Original Source



    Wait. They worry that women interested in sharks won't pursue a career in that field because they don't see enough women during Shark Week -- and yet state that their field is dominated by women.

    Some things you just can't make up.



    I'm always still in trouble again

    "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
    "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
    "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

  • #2
    Atheism is the cult of death, the death of hope. The universe is doomed, you are doomed, the only thing that remains is to await your execution...

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jbnueb2OI4o&t=3s

    Comment


    • #3
      Well duh! Have you ever seen them featuring any Great BLACK Sharks? No!

      Comment


      • #4
        Reminds me a bit of Howard Stern did years ago claiming that the movie Jaws was racist because no black people are ever eaten.
        Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
        But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
        Than a fool in the eyes of God


        From "Fools Gold" by Petra

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post
          Reminds me a bit of Howard Stern did years ago claiming that the movie Jaws was racist because no black people are ever eaten.
          And it isn't like black people don't like the beach.

          I'm always still in trouble again

          "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
          "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
          "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by rogue06 View Post
            And it isn't like black people don't like the beach.
            Stern said that Steven Spielberg was implying that either black people don't know how swim, or that they don't taste very good.
            Some may call me foolish, and some may call me odd
            But I'd rather be a fool in the eyes of man
            Than a fool in the eyes of God


            From "Fools Gold" by Petra

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Mountain Man View Post

              Stern said that Steven Spielberg was implying that either black people don't know how swim, or that they don't taste very good.
              Or they are so dang good at swimming they never get caught by the shark.

              Comment


              • #8
                I am still having trouble believing this is not a Babylon bee or Onion parody.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by RumTumTugger View Post
                  I am still having trouble believing this is not a Babylon bee or Onion parody.
                  It is getting increasingly hard to parody the zaniness that one can find on the left.

                  I'm always still in trouble again

                  "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                  "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                  "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Any show that repeatedly uses the name "Great White" is racist!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I'm surprised that nobody has taken these researchers to task for assuming the genders of the various Mikes.

                      I'm always still in trouble again

                      "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                      "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                      "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Researchers also found that most people who call themselves "Mike" are actually legally named "Michael."

                        Washington Post sure has a lot of space to waste.
                        "You should just assume going forward that if I am ever wrong it is a typo" - Backup
                        "
                        Reality simply does not change based upon consensus or desire." - rogue

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Ronson View Post
                          Researchers also found that most people who call themselves "Mike" are actually legally named "Michael."

                          Washington Post sure has a lot of space to waste.
                          As did the pair of researcher who came up with this. Complaining that women don't enter the field because Shark Week has mostly men on it, yet admitting that the field is actually dominated by women.

                          Want to bet they're just butthurt that they weren't in the programs and this was their way of pressuring the network into including them in future broadcasts?

                          I'm always still in trouble again

                          "You're by far the worst poster on TWeb" and "TWeb's biggest liar" --starlight (the guy who says Stalin was a right-winger)
                          "Overall I would rate the withdrawal from Afghanistan as by far the best thing Biden's done" --Starlight
                          "Of course, human life begins at fertilization that’s not the argument." --Tassman

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            If women and people of colour, like the Asian person who wrote the article in the paper are so concerned, let them go and climb into a shark cage underwater their own selves.


                            Securely anchored to the Rock amid every storm of trial, testing or tribulation.

                            Comment

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