I would like to preface this post by stating that I am not a feminist. I am all for equal rights and representation for men and women, but I am not a “girl power” type of person. That being said, yesterday my professor showed us a trailer that has been blowing up on Facebook and Twitter the past few days. He pulled up the link to Miss Representation, a campaign about the ways that women are portrayed and misrepresented in the media. Normally this sort of thing rubs me the wrong way, but for eight minutes we all sat there in complete silence with our eyes wide and our jaws open. The numbers presented in this trailer are absolutely shocking. American teenagers spend an estimated 10 hours and 45 minutes consuming media in some form or another each day. Not 10 hours and 45 minutes a week–every single day. That is about 2/3 of the time we spend awake. Out of all of that mass media, women hold 3% of clout positions.
Perhaps this lack of representation across the channels of communication has something to do with the way that women are portrayed. We are symbolized as sexual figures rather than scholarly intellectuals. Even the most powerful women in the world are scrutinized on E! News‘ Fashion Police and Us Weekly‘s Best and Worst Dressed section. On the other hand, magazines such as Cosmopolitan and Glamour are run by women from the top down, and yet the majority of their content is concerned with looking good and being sexy. The problem here is that sex sells–society has reached a point of no return, essentially. Women are consuming these magazines based on their content, and until that changes, the content will stay the same. The argument is one that may never have an answer, but the issue is unavoidable. Women are simply not equally represented in the media industry, and at the rate we are going, they never will be. This does not say much for the future of the little girls toting around their grossly proportioned barbies and watching Toddlers in Tiaras. Scary, isn’t it?
For those of you who haven’t yet seen the trailer for Miss Representation, (which airs in full on OWN October 20), please check it out. Trust me, it is worth eight minutes of your time.