Wynona Ryder Treated Unfairly?

For the most part, I tried to ignore the Wynona Ryder trial. Because of her celebrity status, her shoplifting trial received coverage way out of proportion to what it deserved. But what to make of the results of a poll in which women said Ryder was treated unfairly because she was a woman,

A new the polling company?, inc/WomanTrend poll conducted September 23-25, 2002 of 800 American women across the nation found that 75% believe successful women are more likely to receive negative attention when accused of improper conduct than men who are accused of the same, and 87% say that while women are ridiculed and criticized for doing something bad, or unfavorable, men earn a ?cool? or ?humorous? image from acting in the same form of behavior.

Right, because news coverage of Robert Downey Jr.’s drug problem has been filled with laughs and insinuation that Downey was “cool” for waking up in a drug addled stupor in his neighbor’s house.

WomanTrend CEO Kellyanne Conway inanely added,

Their celebrity status does not exonerate them from being treated as a woman in times of crisis. Seventy-six percent (76%) think Winona Ryder is the most recent case study illustrating this point. Like others, Kathie Lee Gifford, Martha Stewart, Drew Barrymore, Halle Berry and Jennifer Capriati, to name a few, women generally like Winona, and empathize with her, feeling that she is being treated improperly.

Okay, she’s got a point there. Male executives at companies like WorldCom, Enron, and ImClone got a free pass from the media, leaving them to focus exclusively on Martha Stewart.

The reason Ryder and Stewart are front page news is not because they receive special treatment, but precisely because they do not receive any special favors from the media. Instead, celebrity status guarantees obsessive examination of even minor missteps regardless of sex.


Women denounce double standard applied to the sexes by law enforcement, media, public. The Polling Company, September 27, 2002.

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