Women in Media

Monday, May 12, 2014

It may seem weird to hear but women are both greatly misrepresented and under represented in all forms of media.

Though there are women in TV, movies, and magazines they represent a small percentage compared to the 50% they make up in the real world.

For example, when it comes to movies only 12% - 15% of the top grossing ones are female-centric.

Not only are women lacking in front of the camera - they are few and far between behind the camera as well (only 16%). And don't even get started on females in the video game industry.

What is the point of getting more women in prominent media positions?

The lack of women as role models, super heroes, and bosses give young girls few things to aspire to. Add to that the fact that women bare more of their skin more of the time, girls get the impression that in order to be somebody - you have to be sexy. The lack of diversity seen among actors, models, and celebrities also contribute to eating disorders, low self esteem, and body hate. The thoughts "Why don't I look like them? What can I do to be skinnier like them?" are toxic and creep into the subconscious, making girls as young as 10 feel inferior enough to try a diet.

Needless to say that is NOT okay.

But the lack of women in different roles doesn't just hurt other women, it hurts boys and the men they will grow up to be.

By viewing women in hyper-sexualized ways over and over and over again men get the impression that women are objects. This can lead to men treating women in real life the same way they have watched men treat women on TV. The idea that women are asking for sex, are a prize to be won, or live solely to satisfy a man's urges are not only highly exaggerated but wrong.

Which brings me to the lack of females behind the scenes. Many TV shows and movies about women are written and directed by men. Now, there is nothing wrong with men writing or directing female-centric movies but don't you think that maybe, just maybe, a woman would know a bit more about the experience?

Advertisers love to say that women-centric stories just don't make enough money the way male stories do. That is just a lazy excuse.

Which Cate Blanchett called them out on at the Oscars.

There are movies and shows with female leads that have made big money (The Hunger Games comes to mind). But there needs to be more. The "fact" that guys might not like it is not a good reason to blow it off. Even if it is true now, the more men are exposed to different, multi-dimensional views of women, the better people (both men and women) will understand the lives we live, the struggles we have, and the things we love.

The idea that women are people and have stories to tell may seem obvious but in today's major media their stories can be hard to find. It's about time we start seeing more females in more diverse roles and in bigger parts, not only for women but for men as well because the more everybody sees things from a women's perspective the better they'll understand that they have a voice.

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