Katherine Webb vs. Honey Boo Boo:
Perceptions of Southerners in mass media.
Of course all the hullaballoo over Katherine Webb, Alabama quarterback A.J. McCarron’s girlfriend, is typical national media non-sense.
However, it begs the question – we see cameramen focus all the time on attractive young women during broadcasts of football games… why so much attention on Ms. Webb?
If we have to take a guess it has to do with the portrayal of both women and Southerners in the mass media recently.
We are used to seeing women without underwear flashing photographers with their nether regions to get a mention in People and a higher Google search ranking. Be it Lindsey Lohan or Snooki or the Kardashians, we have gotten used to seeing women degrade themselves for a little media attention.
Likewise, all Southerners are supposed to be slack-jawed, unintelligible yokels who eat squirrels, go noodling, and shoot skeet with golf balls for leisure. We are all fools here on Earth to amuse Northeasterners. Wir sind alle Honey Boo Boo.
So then we see Ms. Webb. What?? A Southern women who is attractive, washes her hair, wears fashionable clothing, and composes herself with dignity?? Impossible!
And better yet… she forgave Brent Musburger for his “deplorable sexist” comments. It was no big deal.
And her “Gift from God” sudden celebrity that all women should kill for?? That didn’t phase her either.
Now we don’t want to put Ms. Webb on a pedestal. Obviously we don’t know much about her personality or personal life – and we really don’t care to. Maybe she’s politically apathetic or shallow fitting the stereotype of Southern women in relation to their “granola” east and west coast compatriots. Or maybe she is cut-throat and ruthlessly ambitious. Maybe she shoots golf balls and eats squirrels. Who cares? That’s up to her and her social circle. Hopefully the media will let her go on with her life.
But – if we had to make a prediction – we bet we will soon see stories exposing Ms. Webb as a Christian (!) and a Republican (!!).
Why? Because a young woman – especially a Southern woman – who comports herself with dignity CANNOT STAND. She threatens the foundations of modern mass media.
Who knows… maybe as we are writing this she is signing a deal for a nekkid photo spread with Maxim. (We certainly hope not! cough.) We don’t want to put the fate of Southern womanhood on her shoulders. Or imply that all women should be models.
Ideally we’d have 70-something-year-old football commentators getting “excited” over young women’s intellectual endeavors rather than their looks. Women who excel in academics, community service, creative activities (art and music), and political leadership should be at least as noteworthy if not more so. But any Southerner who achieves notoriety with dignity deserves credit.
What we do hope is Southerners – men and women – vis-a-vis most portrayals on TV – continue to act with a dignity unbeknownst to most of the U.S. when given the national spotlight.
N.B.: We do like Duck Dynasty and welcome the opportunity to hang out with you guys at some point.