Andrea Kiewel likes to show the »Okay« diver sign on her show
Photo: Hannes P Albert / dpa
ZDF presenter Andrea Kiewel stands with her microphone in the audience of the »ZDF TV Garden« and reads from a card the size of an envelope: »The ›Fernsehgarten‹ team has the impression that a lot of positive things are going on in the German singer-songwriter: inside scene.«
For the first part of the sentence, she uses the tips of the thumb and forefinger of her left hand to make an “okay” sign, like that used by divers.
Between »singer-songwriter« and »inside« she pauses and waves her hand wildly as if to draw attention to it.
Then she continues talking, looks to the right, interrupts herself and adds: "Don't make a face, I have to."
Instruction to gender?
Anyone who sees the scene for the first time must assume that Kiewel apologizes for the so-called glottal stop, the pause at the place of the gender symbol.
The excitement on Twitter was correspondingly great.
At the request of the German Press Agency, the ZDF editorial team then announced: "There are definitely no instructions for gendering in the 'ZDF TV Garden'.
It is a matter of personal concern to Andrea Kiewel to address everyone, which is why she used this formulation in connection with ›must‹.«
The ZDF would like to communicate without discrimination, it said: "Editorial staff and moderators decide for themselves which form of address is best suited for the respective format." There are no specifications and regulations.
Across from the "Bild" newspaper, Kiewel confirmed that she had imposed gender on herself: "Nobody, not ZDF and nobody else either, tells me that I have to gender.
I've been using the masculine and feminine plural for a long time because I really want to and it's very important to me.
It is important to me.
And that's what I meant on the live show.
It can happen that in a two-hour live broadcast not every word fits perfectly.
But it is so.
I want it.
I don't have to."
Gendering in TV programs is always a controversial topic, especially on social media.
A few days ago, posts there had caused a lot of conversation because the word "nurse" had been said in the WDR program.
The ARD broadcaster classified this as a slip of the tongue.