Teenagers of today are living with a constant stream of media messages. Between Facebook, music, magazines, Internet, television and movies some estimates are as high as 10 hours of media messages a day! What are these messages saying to young people?
Media sexually objectifies women more than ever before
Women are increasingly being portrayed as sex objects. In one recent study of Rolling Stones magazine covers showed an increase of the hyper-sexualized image from 6% in the 1960’s to 61% in the 2000’s. For men it went from 1% of images to 2% in the 2000s. This contributes to a culture where women are more likely to be raped or harassed. The last decades have shown a ratcheting up of what it takes to be shocking.
Media teaches that the most important thing about a woman is the way she looks
Women and girls who self-objectify see their bodies in terms of appearance. On average the more a woman self objectifies the lower her over all wellbeing. This also affects how men and boys see the real women in their lives.
Media affects women in politics
The media does this in several ways. First of all, women who self-objectify are more likely to have low political efficacy (be involved in politics). This is a problem because women are underrepresented in politics in the US. Currently women make up 51% of the population and 17% of congress. If we as a country are not raising girls to be involved in politics this will not change. Also the media often depicts women who are involved in politics very negatively. The media played a part in characterizing Hillary Clinton as “the b#tch” and Sarah Palin as “the ditz” in 2008. Does a woman in politics have to be one or the other? In 2010 women lost seats in congress instead of gaining them for the first time in 30 years!
Join the Conversation
How much can we protect young girls and at what point does the media need to be held accountable for content? How can we challenge the media to stop showing the same stereotypes of women and minorities over and over again? What is your opinion of this topic?