“Telegenic” Is Not a Sexist Term

deutsch29: Mercedes Schneider's Blog

On a number of occasions, education historian Diane Ravitch has referred to former CNN anchor and corporate reform advocate Campbell Brown as “telegenic” or “pretty.”

Apparently Brown hates this, and she views such references to her appearance as “sexist.”

It seems she was willing to overlook being referred to as “telegenic” in this November 2014 Observer gush piece. But for others to use the term (i.e., Ravitch): sexist.

However, the term “telegenic” is not sexist.

According to Merriam-Webster, the term “telegenic” first appeared in print in 1939 and is a hybrid of the terms “television” and “photogenic.” It means,

Well-suited to the medium of television; especially:  having an appearance and manner that are markedly attractive to television viewers.

It is not a term reserved for women.

I remember studying about the televised, Kennedy-Nixon debates. Kennedy had a telegenic advantage over Nixon, which is captured in this History.com

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