The media is the most useful tool to shape and influence people to believe certain things, purchase certain products, and learn certain facts. However, the media is used in a way that damages our culture by teaching women that appearance is equivalent to what they are worth and it teaches men that they should only pay attention to a woman’s appearance.
As I watched “Miss Representation” which can be accessed on Netflix. I learned about the shocking statistics about the effect that the media has on women and young girls. According to the film, women spend more on beauty products and procedures to make themselves look more beautiful than on their own education. It makes me angry to know that women are taught they beauty is the most important thing, since they are very young through toys such as Barbie’s and having little girls enter beauty pageants. Seriously, beauty pageants? A child should be able to enjoy their childhood and not have to be pressured to wear tons of makeup to coverup an already flawless face.
Self-objectification has become a national issue in this country and according to the film, self-objectification has severe consequences. These severe consequences include; depression, eating disorders, lower confidence, lower ambition, lower cognitive functions, and lower GPA’s. So now, let’s take a moment and analyze this information. Women are unable to reach high leadership positions because high self-objectifying women have low confidence, and low ambition which results in nothing pushing them to attempting to achieve higher goals. Instead of the media encouraging women to get an education, set and reach goals, and create change for women, it is doing the complete opposite. Women who are high self-objectifiers have this mindset that their voices are not heard and since their confidence is lowered they do not believe that education can get them anywhere which results in their low GPA’s. So, how can we expect for young women to become the next leaders of our country, if they are being raised to believe that they are not good enough?
The media is composed of mostly all stereotypes which is what we unfortunately teaching the younger generations. The men are always the tough ones who rescue women from their troubles that apparently they got themselves into. The women are usually super upset because they are trying to find the love of their lives and till now they have not found them. Also, often times two women are fighting over the love of a man. If a woman is given what is considered a powerful role such as policewoman, FBI agent, or CEO, she always has a bitchy personality and often dressed in a provocative way. By showing these images we are teaching younger generations what women are “supposed” to look like working in these positions.
Studies have been conducted to determine how women are represented in the media in different countries around the globe. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media conducted a study that examines gender bias in 11 countries around the globe. The study’s results indicated that only 30.9% of speaking characters are female, and that sexualization is the standard for female characters. Also, teen females and young adult females are just as likely to be sexualized. Female characters make up only 22.5% of the global film workforce, while male characters make up 77.5%. The study had several other results and can be accessed by clicking here. Overall, through these results we can see the large gender gap that there is between men and women in the media. Women who are involved in the media are sexualized while men hold positions of power that mantain them with the image of being better and superior. It makes me feel very disappointed to learn that women continue to be treated this way after all of the years of feminist activism. However, now that we have learned this information, it is time to take a moment and think about ways in which we can challenge this inequality.
Stay tuned for Women’s Misrepresentation in the Media Part 2