This week I stumbled upon a documentary called Miss Representation, and it completely opened my eyes to issues that I always knew were there. Long story short the way women are represented in media is totally f*** up. Media representation is explained like this, “The media use language, visuals, codes, and conventions to tell us stories about who we are and how we are supposed to behave and not behave. They provide us with representations—narratives that represent us as individuals, as me members of society and as global citizens.” Whether we like to believe it or not, media controls a lot of the way that we think. Too bad the media thinks of women in such a poor light.
I always had such a fascination with media ever since I was a child, I enjoyed watching television or a movie more than playing outside with the rest of the kids in the neighborhood. As I got older my interest with media only developed. With my interest it came very apparent to me that women’s representation in media was seriously disappointing. Not only was there a severe lack of diversity in race, age, and body type but there was always an apparent theme of a woman chasing a man, and getting that man was all that mattered. You can find these examples in any Disney movie ever made. We are taught at a very young age that how we look matters more than how we think, and that is disgusting to me. Girls as young as 10 years old have eating disorders, 78% of 13 year old girls are unhappy with their bodies, and in college that number skyrockets to a whopping 91%, in my opinion media is to blame for this.
I grew up idolizing strong and powerful women who in a man’s world made a name for themselves. Women like Tina Fey, who was told several times that she wouldn’t succeed in the entertainment world because she just wasn’t ‘hot enough,’ who despite all that is one of the most successful writers, producers, actors, and creators in comedy. Or Shonda Rhimes who has not one but THREE television shows on ABC right now all with the protagonist being a successful women, two of them being African American. The sad part is these women are the minority in the entertainment industry.
A study done by ABC in 2008 shows that, “only 8 percent of directors, 13.6 percent of writers and 19.1 percent of producers were female” (ABC.com). That’s disgraceful. How do we expect women to get shown as powerful, strong, smart human beings in films if we have men creating and writing these roles? We need more women to write and create stories about women. This seriously needs to change. Society needs to change.
Or how about the simple fact that even though a gender equality bill was passed in 1963 by John F. Kennedy, women are still being paid only 78 cents to every man’s dollar, FOR DOING THE SAME EXACT JOB. But society isn’t going to change for the simple fact that white, rich, older men are running the government, and control all media. These rich white males will never understand what it’s like to not get paid the same amount as their coworker just because of their gender. These rich white fools will never have to deal with being overly sexualized or ever be looked at as an object of sex, rather than a human being. They won’t have to deal with these things that an everyday women in America face simply because they were fortunate enough to be born as a white rich males, who newsflash only make up 5% of the American population.
So where do we go from here? I’m honestly not sure. I think talking about the issue itself helps, I think educating more people on these issues will definitely create a positive change, and I think having more women in media will seriously transform the way the world works. Women aren’t sexual objects who lives revolve around a guy, we are smart and capable human beings whose value shouldn’t be based on what we wear, how we look, or who we’re screwing. Change needs to happen and it needs to happen now.