As I mentioned in part one of this post, the media is one of the most influential tools in our society. The study presented earlier demonstrated that in the media, the sexualization of women is the norm. However, one thing is to know this information and the other is to actually identify the way in which women are being sexualized. Often times we might be watching a comedy show and find it funny, but we are not realizing the way in which women are being misrepresented.
A show that continuously contributes to stereotypes of women throughout all of its seasons is “Desperate Housewives”. Although the main characters are women, they are portrayed in very streotypical ways. Susan, who recently got divorced has no idea what to do with her life because she has been emotionally dependent on her husband since they were married. Gabrielle is portrayed as a woman who is a gold-digger and men only like her because of her looks. Also, she is given a bad image by her going out with her young gardener. The rest of the housewives in the series are all portrayed in very stereotypical ways. They either fight for a man, or they are involved in some love affair demonstrating that women need a man in their lives in order to be happy.
Another show that contributes to women stereotypes is “Modern Family”. Although the show tries to challenge the notion that a family consists of the married parents and children who live in a house with a white picket fence, it fails to challenge Latina women’s stereotypes. Gloria, who is played by Sofia Vergara is always wearing tight, provacative clothing and she is often emphazies how she did not marry her husband for the money. By her emphasizing that all of the time makes me question whether or not she actually did marry him for his money. This is an example of how the audience engages in women’s stereotypes.
Facebook has also contributed to the misrepresentation of women within the site. A couple of years ago a campaign was launched against Facebook called #FBrape. The campaign was launched because Facebook was allowing alot of content that promoted gender-based violence to be posted on the site. Content such as memes and ads were promoting gender-based violence and this is very problematic because Facebook has over 1 billion users and some of it’s users are very young although they lie about their age. If young children view this type of content on Facebook, they will begin to believe what they are seeing.
Now….let’s take a look at the image above. How is this woman portrayed? She is being pressed against the wall and the man is behind her kissing her neck. She is shown in a submissive position. What does that tell us about women’s sexuality? This ad is sending out the message that women are submissive to men and secretly want to be dominated by men. Based on the expression she has on her face, many may assume that she is enjoying it. However, the name of the perfume is called “Unforgivable Woman”. The name itself is telling the audience that they need to judge the woman in a negative way because apperently she has done something terribly wrong and is unforgivable. These are the types of ads that send out problematic message to it’s audience.
Let’s look at one more ad…
This ad clearly is giving the image that women are animals. This ad is advocating on the elimination of violence towards elephants. Who is representing the elephant? The woman, of course. Why does it have to be a woman who represents the animal and not a man? These are all things that are included in our everyday consumption of the media. I would like to ask for everyone to begin to question and closely analyze the way in which women are portrayed in the media whether it is on television shows, social media, or the commercials we watch online or on television. So next time that you encounter a situation where sexist jokes are being said, watch a show or see an ad that demonstrates sexism, how would your reaction be?