In 1991, the issue of feminism resurfaced in the mainstream media on a broad scale, from the release of the film Thelma & Louise to the publication of such books as Naomi Wolf‘s The Beauty Myth, Susan Faludi‘s Backlash, and Gloria Steinem‘s The Revolution Within: A Book of Self-Esteem, to the attention given to the issue of sexual harassment in the wake of the Anita Hill/Clarence Thomas hearings. Shortly after the Hill/Thomas hearings brought the issue of sexual harassment into the public eye, the music industry was rocked by the announcement of allegations of sexual harassment involving executives at three major record companies and an attorney at a leading L.A. law firm.
Even the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, established in the mid-‘80s to recognize the contributions of those involved in the music business, has been criticized for overlooking women‘s contributions to the industry. Mary Wilson noted this discrepancy in Supreme Faith when she wrote about the Supremes‘ induction into the Hall of Fame in 1988, and her participation in the all-star jam that traditionally occurs after the ceremonies. Out of the nearly one-hundred performers, songwriters, label executives, and promoters now in the Hall of Fame, the only female inductees to date are Aretha Franklin and Lavern Baker, inducted as performers, Carole King (with Gerry Goffin), inducted as a non-performer, and Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, inducted as ―Forefathers
Though the battle over abortion rights caused women to recognize the underlying fragility of the gains the feminist movement had made, the media focus on other ―women‘s issues‖ further illuminated the struggles women continued to face in society. A November 3, 1991, story in the Los Angeles Times not only discussed the specific allegations mentioned above regarding sexual harassment, it also examined sexual harassment in the record industry as a whole, and revealed the ―put up or shut up‖ bind women who experience harassment are placed in.
As a result, instead of going through the legal system, women working in the industry have been driven to create an informal grapevine to pass on information about companies deemed ―safe havens‖ from sexual harassment and to warn each other about the ―bimbo hounds‖ in different record company departments.
Since then, the increasing threat to women‘s reproductive freedom in the U.S. has mobilized growing number of women to reawaken from a state of ―post-feminist‖ complacency. Attitudes toward a female presence in the workplace showed little signs of change in other areas of the music industry. An article in Billboard in March 2, 1991, noted that though almost half the sales positions in radio were held by women, there were far fewer women working in programming or on-air positions. In the same article, Lisa Lyons, a program director at Dayton, Ohio station WAZU, related a story about the necessity of ―dressing down‖ (a tactic similar to the one Gail Colson had adopted when she was managing director at Charisma Records in the ‗70s) that also sounds depressingly familiar; ―I always make it a point to look like a slob. It‘s a little humiliating and degrading when an artist shakes your MD‘s [music director‘s] hand and asks you to sleep with him.
1. Based on the examples provided in the passage, with which of the following assertions is it most likely that the author would disagree?
A. Working women face few pressures to maintain a physically attractive appearance.
B. Women have often tied the success of the feminist movement to the fight over abortion.
C. Women working in the music industry are subject to similar obstacles as working women in other fields.
D. Women working in the music industry have not achieved status commensurate with their contribution to the art.
E. Women have always been discriminated against by men
2. Each of the following is cited by the author in the passage as evidence of the reawakening of feminism EXCEPT:
A. the release of the film Thelma & Louise.
B. women‘s response to the increasing threat of abortion rights.
C. the induction of the first women into the Hall of Fame.
D. the publication of Naomi Wolf‘s The Beauty Myth.
E. the increased attention given to the issue of sexual harassment
3. Suppose the number of female executives within the music industry has not increased measurably within the past two decades. If this statement is true, what effect would it have on the author‘s argument?
A. It would support the argument that women already hold too many positions at the executive level.
B. It would contradict the argument that men focus on women‘s physical appearance.
C. It would support the argument that the number of females inducted into the Hall of Fame will increase rapidly in the coming years.
D. It would support the argument that women are not moving ahead in sectors such as the music industry.
E. It would neither support nor contradict the author‘s argument