Whatever Happened to Melissa Harris-Perry?
by GAIL DINES
Last week, midway through a leisurely Saturday afternoon, I got an email from MSNBC asking me to be on the Melissa Harris Perry Show a week later (July 7th). I was delighted to accept, as MHP is not your usual American journalist. A professor of political science at Tulane University, she is an outspoken African American feminist and a progressive voice in a media landscape dominated by right-wing talking heads. MSNBC is a rare media oasis in the U.S. where one gets to hear some actual critical analysis, so I—mistakenly, it turned out—thought this was going to be one of the few positive experiences I’ve had working with corporate-controlled media. In all honesty, after many years of being on talk shows in the U.S., I have come to expect very little in terms of integrity from the media. Their job is to boost ratings by making stories entertaining and light, and God help anyone who gets in their way.
I spent a long time on the phone with MHP’s producer talking about my research on the harms of porn and the ways women in the industry—especially women of color—are financially exploited and physically and emotionally dehumanized and debased. Given MHP’s feminist politics and her scholarly work on the representation of African American women in U.S. history, I was excited to do a show with an interviewer whom I expected would be engaging and thoughtful, in contrast to the usual adolescent sniggering I get from the male journalist who suddenly finds himself in the awkward position of interviewing a feminist who doesn’t think porn is fun. Read full article here.