Grace, from my Writer’s Seminar posted this in the comments section on the other course blog. I thought it needed to be posted here. Even though it does match my Writer’s Seminar theme of new technologies. In a twisted sort of way.


Gail Collins on The Colbert Report
Review (click on Colbert Nation for clip)


What initially struck me when I saw this clip was the fact that this is one of the rare situations in which you find Stephen Colbert being careful about what he says—at least until he has felt around a little to see Gail Collins’ reactions to preliminary examination of her topic. I just wanted to make a chronological overview of what I thought throughout this video.

So I knew that Virginia Slims were cigarettes, but I actually searched for “Virginia Slim ads” to see exactly what Colbert was talking about and found a whole slough of ads with usually either the phrase, “You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby” or “It’s A Woman Thing”. These cigarettes’ marketing campaign centered completely around the advancement of the women’s movement?!? Where have I been??



Next, I found it a little off-putting when he was like “I assume you want the ‘Ms.’…writing about the women’s movement”. While yes, it is more respectful to call a woman “Ms.”, I found the situation to be a tad awkward, which…I know this is Stephen Colbert we’re talking about, but his guest’s response, “you can call me Gail” as if to say “I do actually have a name…”, was a good one to highlight the fact that there may have been a hint of the “big scary feminist” image placed on her before she took the stage. I think that Collins did end the interview well saying that men and women will win the battle together, which helped to dispel that image of a man-hating feminist.

Moving on though, I’m not sure if Colbert was playing dumb just to bring up the question, but I guess it’s the women’s studies background in me that literally laughed the inquiry about the continued need for a women’s movement. I think that Collins brought up a good point about the fact that part of the reason women’s roles have changed is because modern families often require two wage earners in the household, but women still seem to be held responsible for the care of the children in addition to whatever job she may hold. Colbert cited this reasoning to be a matter of biology – production of breast milk. While his anecdotes were funny, there are clear ways around this such as breast pumps, day care, etc.

I don’t want to sound like I’m bashing Stephen Colbert, because I love his show. However, I do think that he often lacks in how well he depicts the messages his guests wish to send.