Women’s Rights: We’ve Come A Long Way Baby…Maybe Not

Posted: May 27, 2013 in Uncategorized
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English: Cartoon published in the Melbourne ve...

English: Cartoon published in the Melbourne version of Punch on 14/04/1887. The caption, missing from this picture, read: “Some foolish people imagine our ladies will neglect their family duties. Quite a mistake. 3 am. That dear good old creature, Mr Speaker, is kind enough to take the blessed infant while the Hon. Member addresses the house.” She’s wearing a prominent bustle, in line with 1880s fashions. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A magazine feature from Beauty Parade...

English: A magazine feature from Beauty Parade from March 1952 stereotyping women drivers. It features Bettie Page as the model. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Media stereotypes of women often focus on appearance and intelligence. Traditional stereotypes included passive women who depended on their husbands, brothers and fathers for emotional and financial support. In contrast, women in today’s TV shows are likely to contain a mixture of both male and female characteristics.

Today’s leading women are often sexy and intelligent, on one hand, and tragic and lonely on the other. We are more likely to see the ruthless corporate woman who is attractive and successful in the business world but ill equipped in developing personal relationships.

Some of the portrayals are a step in the right direction in improving the perception of women, as many of today’s heroines are independent, intelligent and successful. However, their emphasis on materialism, sex, beauty and perfection often overshadow positive messages. In addition, mass media depictions of successful women suffering from heartbreak illustrate what happens to women who don’t assume the traditional roles for women.

Stereotypes persist because they maintain the status quo of society and help keep things the same. Stereotypes are of concern because media help citizens make sense of the world around them, especially for depictions of women and people of different backgrounds.  Additionally, stereotyping is a social control tool that builds group solidarity and creates an “us versus them” mentality.

The images are a slap in the face to the women who fought so hard years ago for equal rights. These representations have a negative impact on how people view women. As I watch reality shows of women who present themselves negatively, I begin to wonder how many women are actually the way they are portrayed on TV–materialistic, conniving, gold digging, promiscuous, spoiled, ungrateful. I’m sure the men who watch these shows feel the same way. They probably think the shows reaffirm what they believe about women; therefore women can’t be trusted. In addition, girls may begin to emulate these images and it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy and a step backwards in women’s rights.

Women should demand better portrayals of women by writing about these issues in blogs, etc. They can boycott music, publications, TV shows, and products that denigrate women. They teach their daughters to fight back. They can empower themselves and refuse to accept these portrayals.

  1. tashalanche says:

    Thanks heaps for the mention! 🙂

  2. Necmi says:

    What do various chreuhcs, especially the Catholic Church, say about someone who supports another person’s decision to have an abortion?Even though an individual may not have the abortion, there is still acceptance of that sin by being there for the person going through it enabling them to go through with the abortion.Likewise, what is the moral thing to do if you are close to an individual having an abortion?Someone very dear to me is planning to have an abortion very soon and I do not agree with it at all. Need advice on what the Christian thing is to do. Thanks.

  3. Isabel says:

    Like in Modern Studies class or something? I know some high scolhos offer this but mine doesn’t and I think we should learn about things like politics, I think it’s important for young people to know what’s happening in the world. What do you think, and why?I know some people think teachers woud imprint opinions on them, but we’re not actually human sponges, and good teaches can teach without enforcing their opinions.I know some people think teachers woud imprint opinions on them, but we’re not actually human sponges, and good teaches can teach without enforcing their opinions.

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