Last Wednesday was the first day of WGS.111 Gender and Media. We talked about different types of media and examined our own use of media.
I use the internet daily, to check email, read the news, check my facebook, and share videos or articles I think are funny or important. Speaking of, if you haven’t seen these, check them out. Hilarious Amazon reviews of Bic For Her Pens.
I’ve been pretty plugged in since I got a smartphone and can check my email or look things up anytime. I also crochet and bake a lot, so I’m a member of some communities that have free patterns and recipes. I watch tv shows and movies on Netflix pretty regularly too. I don’t listen to the radio much when I’m at school but my mom loves NPR and will call me and tell me about something cool she heard that day. I use Skype to stay connected with my boyfriend and family.
In class, we watched a documentary called Miss Representation. It was about how women are represented in media in the US and how this can affect kids growing up exposed to these messages.
I enjoyed the musical choices in this film. It opened with a montage of women’s bodies being used in ads with the song Help I’m Alive by Metric. The line “If I stumble, they’re going to eat me alive” really resonated with the idea presented in this documentary that women rarely occupy positions of real power and they are heavily scrutinized when they do. There was another Metric song later, Gold Guns Girls, that has a line “All the gold and the guns in the world/ couldn’t get you off” which fit well with that point in the documentary when they were discussing advertising and women in ads.
Overall, this documentary highlighted for me the lack of female presence in positions of power and got me riled up and ready to make changes. I definitely went home and worked on my absentee ballot registration for Texas for this November. To see that women still only comprise 17% of the House of Representatives and the Senate is just baffling to me. If we comprise 51% of the population, how is it that we are still so underrepresented in Congress?
The film presented this as an issue of how the media portrays women in powerful roles. There was a part with Katie Couric that talked about how the media was very interested in what she was wearing, who she was dating, but how that generally wouldn’t happen to her male colleagues. Or how Hilary Clinton was portrayed during her 2008 Presidential campaign: as a ball-breaker (literally, with a joke nutcracker), as a bitch, as too emotional for the office when she cried once at a speaking engagement, as scandalous for revealing some small amount of cleavage, etc. The idea was that women who run for office or choose to enter the public sphere undergo a much harsher level of scrutiny than men. One of the women interviewed quoted Charlotte Whitton in saying “Whatever women do they must do twice as well as men to be thought half as good. Luckily, this is not difficult.”
Seeing all the interviews with powerful women and impassioned girls gave me hope that there can be meaningful change. It seems that with each generation, we have more and more women pursuing the positions of power that can in turn inspire more young people to have a different outlook on gender roles in our society.
I’d definitely recommend this documentary to anyone, as these issues affect us all.
Until next week,