The gender gap in the media
Why is it that when you are a female, your seen to be lower ranking in society?
Some women work hard to break the stereotype but it comes with consequences, such as not being seen as feminine for being a successful business manager.
But why is this the case?
There are many reasons for this misrepresentation of women, mainly the media is to blame in my opinion; it has biggest influence on people’s lives, no matter the medium, it helps us to form opinions on issues.
I dislike the way women are represented in the media, we look helpless, submissive and Photoshop pretty; but why? To sell products. This objectifies women negatively.
Our male counterparts on the other hand look daring, dominant and strong; why don’t we? Because the media said so? Fair? I think not.
The website ‘fbomb’ launched a short video outlining the misrepresentation of women in the media, it stated that ‘50% of ads in women’s magazines portrayed women as objects’ … Does this affect how we feel about ourselves?
I feel downgraded, I am not an object but a human being, I don’t want to be ‘sold’ or ‘told what to do’.
I was born a female, why does this make me predisposed to be the underdog to men in society, meaning I’m less likely to have as good of a job, paid as well or respected as much; all because I was born female. Fair? I think not.
Due to being misrepresented in the media, as women we feel as though our power comes from our beauty, our bodies, our youth and our sexuality not our potential to become a leader, a MP, an entrepreneur or a CEO.
Girlguiding 2012 Girls Attitudes Survey found that 68% of girls feel that women are judged on their appearance more than their ability.
I would suggest that this is because we are constantly bombarded with the ‘perfect girl’ images from such a young age right across the media, from ads on television where we seductively sell anything, to Photoshoped pictures of cover girls in magazines and more recently the pressure to seek out if your pretty if or not by submitting ‘selfie’ photos for Instagram online beauty pageants.
Whilst I don’t feel the pressure directly to look good for other people, I still wear make-up and clothes that flatter my body shape… Is this because the media has told me in order to fulfil the role of girl this is an essential? or is it because I want to look better myself?
Both answers suggest that I have been indirectly influenced by the media on the decisions I have made.
As a Girlguide Advocate! youth panel member at one of our most recent meetings we got to study magazines and music videos to see just how big the gender gap is in the media: males wear suits, and stand head up, shoulders back while women wear very revealing clothes, and lie in awkward shapes to look seductive. In music videos women are often dancing, sexually round a male singer… I’m concerned about the message this sends to young girls, and it related back to the previous statement about how women are judged more on their appearance than their ability.
How do we then get the media to represent girls truthfully? I think with enough campaigns like the Dove: Body Confidence campaign where they show an ordinary looking woman being transformed in fast motion by makeup, lighting and, most significantly, airbrushing, into someone who bears little resemblance to her actual appearance. I think this is a must for every woman to watch: women could be represented the way they deserve.
Making girls aware that beauty isn’t everything is my main personal goal, for now. I think I can achieve this by delivering Peer Education sessions on ‘The media’ and ‘Self-Esteem’ locally.