Representations of Women

When deconstructing modern social media, we notice a big difference in the ways that men are represented and the ways in which women are represented. Men are usually put in roles of power and leadership, whereas women are often demeaned through images portraying hypersexualization and submissive roles. This is a topic that has been problematized more recently since women have had more opportunities to voice their opinions than they did maybe one, two or three decades ago. Women have become more inspired to fight the symbolic annihilation that they see in today’s media. The concept of annihilation has been used, not to show an absence of representation, but to express the effects of misrepresentation of women and girls in mass media. It has affected women’s professional and personal lives. It is harder for females to succeed and pursue leadership in a society in which that is hardly seen since men usually hold the positions of leadership. According to missrepresentation.org, only a mere 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, and only 17% of the seats in the House of Representatives are held by women. Feminists argue that flawed media representations shape the viewer’s controlling images in a distorted way. How the viewer conceptualizes a woman’s role in society or how the viewer interacts with women is distorted by these flawed media representations.

MissRepresentation.org, an organization that “exposes how American youth are being sold the concept that women and girls’ value lies in their youth, beauty, and sexuality,” is fighting to make people more aware of this issue and to empower women to challenge the media labels. Women are pressured into striving to be or look like the “flawless” images they see on televisions, computers, and magazines. In news and especially entertainment, female characters are usually more hypersexualized than men. For example, in various television ads, when we see women, they are usually seen as sex objects. We constantly see them in sexual poses using their bodies to sell a product that may not even have to do anything with women or a woman’s body. For example, beer commercials use women to sell their product to their main consumers, men. Why? Will buying this specific brand of beer get you more women? No. They do this to appeal to men and get their attention. In our patriarchal society, it is easier to sexualize women because they are trivialized. Feminists also say that women who “consume this media, over a period of years, ‘internalize’ oppression through giving merit to stereotype.” More statistics from missrepresentation.org showed that “among youth 18 and younger, liposuctions nearly quadrupled between 1997 and 2007 and breast augmentations increased nearly six-fold in the same 10-year period.” Media plays a big role in today’s society, and it ought to be a positive one, not negative.

 

JosephineLg

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One thought on “Representations of Women

  1. This is a very good summary of many of the ways in which media reinforce gender inequality in representations of girls and women. Do you also have specific examples that you could add to those detailed from Miss Representation?

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