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Women's Portrayal in Media
From our childhood we are exposed to media. When we grow older, we pay attention to media for cues on behavior. Often, television is listed as the main source of information for today's youth . This presents an alarming problem for females. The ways in which they are represented in the media, especially on television, can lead to the continuing oppression of women and the continued belief that they are objects of male satisfaction (this image is especially pervasive in advertising).
There are television shows that are more positive toward women, and there has been progress made. The 1970s especially saw more feminist oriented programming. However, the 1980s saw an immense drop in such shows. Right now it seems that for all the progress made, some images still persist. These images are most often seen in advertising. And these images are some of the most detrimental of all. As people watch media portrayals of women, they develop an idea of how women should be, of what they are. It's not just men that see these images and learn from them; women also interpret the messages as directions on how to behave.
Now media objectify the women in masses as physical objects that can be looked at and acted upon-- and fail to portray women as subjective beings with thoughts, histories, and emotions. Objectification becomes an issue when it is frequent, and when people are commonly presented only as objects and not as subjects as well. When we see an image of a woman who is presented passively, and who demonstrates no other attributes aside from her physical or sexual being, that's objectification. Here are some contemporary examples of women who are commonly (although not always) portrayed as passive objects to be enjoyed exclusively as physical beings:
- The female models in Deal or No Deal, whose function in the show is to look pretty and to remain passive until the moment the host allows them to "open the case"
- Sexualized images of women in music videos
- Pinup posters of sexualized models
- College girls in Girls Gone Wild videos
- Women in pornography
- Waitresses at Hooters.
Its not too late, we can handle the problem with sincere efforts and result oriented measures as I read about a workshop about women's portrayal in Media.
In this workshop which is held by Uks Research Centre, on 17the July 2012 in Islamabad, a group of nearly 25 journalists belonging to print and electronic media a consensus was made at the conclusion of the workshop that;
Media has played a positive role in highlighting the plight of women. However, in many cases, it has been irresponsible and fostered negativity, suggesting that there is a need to sensitise reporters, editors, program directors and media owners. for more click here.
The participants agreed that the media should respect the right to privacy and maintain professional standards while reporting on women issues.