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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The things people tell a woman journalist

As a journalist and a woman, I've had a fair-share of my eyebrow-raising moments during the course of my career. Here are some of the things people have told/asked me:

  1. Why did you take up journalism? You could have done something else. (At a job interview.)
  2. You are too intelligent to be a journalist. (Was told after a successful job interview.)
  3. Are you in it for the glamour? (A Page 3 socialite asked)
  4. Journalism is not a profession for women. There are all kinds of people you have to meet – politicians, criminals, etc and then you may have to cover a war/blast/kidnapping. What will happen to you? (A co-passenger in a train)
  5. Only good-looking women are selected to work for television channels. (A male colleague)
  6. Men are for Politics, Crime, Sports, Business and Civic beats. Women do Lifestyle, Fashion, Films and Art and Culture. (A PR man once remarked)
  7. His Highness (the High Commissioner of an African country) wants to meet you. (Got a call from the Highness's office)
  8. People who write features are not journalists. (A male reporter)
  9. How can you work on a Sunday? (A guy from the media's marketing division asked. Of course, he was selling the paper's ad space)
  10. All journalists are chain smokers or heavy drinkers. (An old interviewee once said)
  11. Let's meet over dinner/drinks at some special place. (The head of a church in Mumbai)
  12. Women journalists always end up in unhappy marriages. (A male colleague remarked)
  13. Film journalists behave like filmstars. They have their own set of affairs. (PR man)
  14. Sub-editors are journalists? How? (A student)
  15. I am single and ready to mingle. (A biker I interviewed)
  16. We should be scared and be careful about what we talk in front of you. (A Peruvian mining official)
  17. When do we go on a date? (A marketing guy from the office)
  18. If your English is good, your Hindi must be really bad. Why else would you be working in an English daily? (When I interviewed for a job at a Hindi TV channel)
  19. It's a good profession for girls, only. Once you are married, then you need to settle down and do something else. (A retired Air Force officer)
  20. There is a lot more money than I had imagined. I thought journalists were paid peanuts. (A businessman who met a journalist on flight where they discussed, among other things, pay packages)
  21. It's an activity, not an occupation. (A casual remark by the HR head of a firm in Vadodara)
  22. Only a journalist can write in a train. (A fellow-passenger)
  23. How did YOU get in there? (A senior male journalist at a Gujarati paper asked when he discovered I was working as a documentation consultant at UNICEF)
Have people made some comments about you and your profession? Do write in.


Kiran Bhatia said...

you took up arts... why, did you not pass your 12 boards in one go???
home science! you will be taught how to be a perfect housemaker, wnt you???

Maya said...

Nice. Do you want to know all the things they tell to a camerawoman?
1. Hello (thinking I am the journalist although I am carrying an 8 kg camera with tripod and backbag)... and where is your cameraman?
2. Isn't this a bit heavy for you? You must be very strong, doing a lot of exercice?
3. Are you a camera"man" or how do I say that?
4. What does your husband say if you travel so much and are always around other men?
5. I have never seen a woman as a cameraman before. etc

Monica said...

hv been asked d 1st Q at every job interview...guess it applies 2 every profession

Nishita Mehta said...

Excellent read.
In fact, why a journalist already? I'm facing similar questions right now only:
1. Do you have the courage of Barkha Dutt to go on wars?
2. Journalism, you are going to land up facilitating a lot of politicians , you are ready for it?
and the list is long but very unpleasant to listen.

Nishita Mehta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

I am sure every woman can relate to this in whatsoever occupation she might be in. Amazing article ma'am