Fox's local news stations can't stop asking people to ‘sound off’ on women's bodies


Fox News isn’t exactly known to be a haven for women. The conservative network has spent the summer embroiled in a sexual discrimination scandal that toppled its mogul chairman, and viral videos of its sexist coverage frequently make their way around the internets. That, and the network has a longstanding reputation for unapologetically featuring sexist panels and guests.

In case you’ve missed the latter, consider the following: Last month, during the Rio Olympics, the network brought in two men to debate whether women athletes should wear makeup, with one asking, “Would you put money behind a gal that won the gold medal that looks like a washed out rag?” In July, it asked viewers whether a Jeopardy! champion with a distinct voice was “the most annoying Jeopardy! contestant ever.” And last fall, it lined up a bunch of women in leggings before asking a panel of men to assess whether women should be allowed to wear the form-fitting pants to school or are they too sexy?

But it’s not just Fox’s national coverage that’s demeaning toward women. The network’s local stations and affiliates often take a less-than-feminist stance, too. Last week, Fox 32 Chicago, a station owned and operated by the network, questioned whether an Atlanta school teacher’s outfit was inappropriate for her 4th grade class—before encouraging its Facebook followers to “sound off” on her look, asking, “Is she dressed appropriately or is this too racy for the classroom?” Of course, asking a bunch of strangers to weigh in on a woman’s outfit is what’s inappropriate—and simply posing this question legitimizes the criticisms levied against her.

While other networks’ local stations regularly ask viewers to weigh in on stories, too—and occasionally on women—Fox’s spawn seem particularly fixated on “debating” what women should and shouldn’t be doing with their bodies and lives. And so, after last week’s cringe-worthy post, I decided to explore how the other local Fox stations treat women. Here, I’ve gathered seven particularly egregious examples from the past year. Read at your own peril.

Chicago’s Fox 32 judged Chelsea Clinton for missing her daughter’s first day of preschool

In a now-deleted Facebook post, Fox 32 (yes, them again) recently posted a story about Chelsea Clinton missing her two-year-old daughter’s “first day of school” (erm, preschool) because she was busy campaigning for her mom. Clinton’s husband dropped the little one off instead—but that didn’t stop the station from encouraging its audience to “sound off” on her absence, asking, “Should Chelsea Clinton have been there on her daughter’s first day? Or is it acceptable for one parent to drop the child off?”

Not surprisingly, people were pretty pissed. We all know this wouldn’t have been a “debate” if Chelsea had dropped the child off without her husband.

Dayton’s Fox 45 debated whether or not this woman’s outfit was too risque to fly

Earlier this year, Fox 45, an affiliate in Dayton, Ohio, urged its audience to “sound off” on a young woman who wore short shorts on an airplane, asking, “Do you think her outfit’s inappropriate?” Sigh.

Phoenix’s Fox 10 debated whether a woman was living her best life

This story is beyond ridiculous. Earlier this year, Fox 10, which is owned and operated by Fox News, asked its audience whether a young woman was making smart life choices—again urging its followers to “sound off” on her actions.

The post didn’t go over well. One commenter asked, “Fox why do you feel the need to exploit this woman? It’s her life, she isn’t harming anyone, so let her live.” Another said, “I think as a society we need to be less judgmental! It is her life we are not entitled to an opinion.”

Indiana’s Fox 28 debated whether women should be allowed to sport ‘active wear’ in public

Back in July, Fox 28 asked its audience to “sound off” on whether women should be allowed to wear workout clothes in public or at work. Pretty sure women can make these decisions on their own, thanks!

Washington D.C.’s Fox 5 debated whether women’s bodies are offensive

Last month, Fox 5, which is owned and operated by Fox News, posted a story about women in Times Square New York who pose with tourists wearing nothing but body paint—before asking its audience if this was “ART OR OFFENSIVE?” adding, “for $10 to $20, tourists in Times Square can take photos with nearly-naked women.” Gasp! The horror of the female body!

Phoenix’s Fox 10 debated whether a teenage girl was too sexy for school

In another wonderful “sound off,” Fox 10 encouraged its audience to dissect whether a high school student’s outfit was “inappropriate.” News flash: Asking a bunch of strangers to judge a teen girl is the most inappropriate thing about this story.

Finally, Washington D.C.’s Fox 5 debated whether it’s okay to punch a woman in the face

Yes, this really happened. Last year, Fox 5 posted a story about Florida State quarterback De’Andre Johnson, who was dismissed from his team after video footage appeared to show him punching a woman in a bar—and, yes, asked its audience to “sound off” on whether Johnson was in the wrong.

Taryn Hillin is Fusion’s love and sex writer, with a large focus on the science of relationships. She also loves dogs, Bourbon barrel-aged beers and popcorn — not necessarily in that order.

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