BBC Woman’s Hour: shitty journalism and transphobic bias – a backed up thread

A backed up Twitter thread, because I regularly delete my tweets (here’s why, and why you should, too).

What a fuckin surprise. Shame on @BBCWomansHour; this shows their bias as clear as day.

Crowsa Luxemburg@quendergeer

Weirdly, @BBCWomansHour has decided to go with this story, which misgenders a woman and calls her “entitled” and a “liar” and implies she’s selfish for transitioning https://twitter.com/BBCWomansHour/status/1082720503641620486 

BBC Woman’s Hour

@BBCWomansHour

“He handed me a letter…It said ‘I’m a woman’.” ‘Michelle’s’ ex-husband transitioned after 16 years of marriage. She spoke to @bbcwomanshour about how it made her feel. Her words are read by an actor as ‘Michelle’ (not her real name) requested anonymity. https://bbc.in/2CXuSMx 

Now, I don’t doubt that we’ll be getting ~Sensibles~ defending the choice BBC Women’s Hour made here because “a story where nothing bad happens isn’t interesting”. This is bullshit, and it reflects a very bigoted and biased agenda at BBCWH. Let’s talk about why.
They chose a story which ties into negative stereotypes about trans women, and used “Michelle” as a proxy to spread these myths, they used “Michelle” as a mouthpiece to repeatedly misgender a trans woman. Misgendering is a transphobic act.
I’m going to charitably go along with Women’s Hour and pretend “Michelle” is actually a real person, rather than someone they made up internally or some bigot op submitting a fake story.
Now, there’s lots of reasons they’d choose “Michelle’s” story over any other story submitted, and all of them reflect badly on @BBCWomansHour. It’s pretty much a pina colada of individual transphobia, institutional transphobia and shitty journalism.
Let’s go back to this story that @BBCWomansHour refused to tell, which its defenders may say “wasn’t that interesting”. Even the most mediocre student journalist could wring an interesting story out of this by asking the right follow-up questions.

Libby 🧜🏳️‍🌈@LibbyLights

So @BBCWomansHour are doing a series on the impact transition has on partners and are asking for submissions. This is mine:

e.g. what did you have to do to communicate better? How did you learn to deal with conflict? Tell me more about that experience of falling in love all over again.

These are just some of the options, had they bothered to do any journalism.

There’s a lot of other interesting stories out there that @BBCWomansHour could have explored regarding partners and transition. e.g. they could have spoken to someone who went through the complicated legal situation of ending a marriage to get legal gender recognition.
But no. @BBCWomansHour made the conscious decision to run a really bigoted story playing into negative stereotypes, because they couldn’t be bothered to run an interesting story. It was a choice they made, and it tells us a lot about the quality of the programme (i.e. it’s bad)
The stories you choose to tell show a lot about you. And what @BBCWomansHourchose to tell shows us they’re biased, transphobic and terrible journalists.
“that bitch ruined my life” is the most boring, tired story ever told. It’s told about women of all stripes and experience, and this is the story @BBCWomansHour chose to tell. It’s not a novel story, it’s just lazy and misogynistic, every damn time.
Yup. The media in general has a strong preference for a lurid, negative story over one with a happy ending, which is often bumped to “and finally”, or magazine shows. Like @BBCWomansHour – the happy story is really more in line with their brand.

Louise Ferreira@frrlou

I would think that the happy story is the more interesting one, because it shows that such a huge change doesn’t have to mean the end of a relationship. It’s a different narrative to the dominant one. Seriously, that’s just basic storytelling.

Ultimately @BBCWomansHour‘s story on trans parners is like if they’d run a feature on working under woman CEOs and decided to pick the story from an employee who said “my boss is an ugly, ball-breaking bitch”

_

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