Women in the Media

Historically, women have been marginalised and even to this day, women still fight this battle. One area where this is particularly evident is in the media, in the way that women are represented.

Take the film industry for example, women are depicted a number of ways in films, these can include but are not limited to: the girlfriend, best friend, loving wife, victim wife, mother, mother-in-law, the bitch, feminist, princess and slave. Each character is a reflection of a particular female stereotype and the women are usually represented derogatorily.

The negative representation of women is everywhere in the media. Instilling damaging stereotypes and unrealistic portrayals of women in our minds from a young age is the classic example: Disney. The Disney princesses have totally perfect, unrealistic bodies, complexions, hair and the list goes on. These characters have absolutely no ambitions and apparently crave nothing more than a life as a domestic goddess… But who wouldn’t? We see these kind of idealistic characteristics constantly in female personalities, which is why it comes as no surprise that these negative representations translate to reality.

Until these representations of women change and we break through bogus depictions, I think we will be fighting the equality battle for quite some time. Furthermore, it does not help when the media romanticises abuse and sexual assault in the way that Eminem and Rhianna do in Love The Way You Lie, or the film clip to Robin Thicke’s song Get Her Back. Romanticising issues like sexual assault and abuse suggests that this kind of behaviour is acceptable and desirable. It is not, and it is truly unacceptable that women know what precautions to take to avoid being raped. If you’re not familiar, Cat Del Buono’s youtube clip observes one woman’s attempt to follow the many rules all women should follow to avoid getting raped. Because that’s the issue, women aren’t following the rules, so what else should we expect to happen? *Hints of sarcasm*

It doesn’t stop at a ridiculous, long list of rules; todays market offers anti-rape underwear, date rape prevention nail polish, several personal safety apps, and pocket alarms. It’s really reassuring knowing that there are so many handy tips and gadgets to ensure the safety of women… I’m sure you’ll sleep a lot better tonight with that knowledge!

Now, I’m just going to leave this here because Anna does a pretty good job of summing everything up.

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Suffering

Suffering is a difficult topic for most people to talk or think about. Let alone enduring it, or even watching someone, or something suffer

Suffering, and the way we deal with it, exposes our vulnerabilities and our greatest attributes. And this is possibly why it is so accepted in today’s society.

All throughout history, suffering has been recorded, and often in these accounts, its victims are a spectacle used to entertain a crowd of cheering and chanting onlookers. Today, we look at pictures, illustrations and read about these events with horror and disbelief. However, I would argue that we haven’t evolved as much as we would like to think we have. We still observe people suffering, all over the world, each and every day. The only difference in how we view suffering, is the way that it is framed. Rather than viewing it publicly – standing around, encouraging violent and dangerous behaviour/activities – we watch it as a newscast, or read about it in newspapers and it is framed as being informative.

Although, when we do watch suffering for enjoyment, it’s framed as sport or entertainment. There are so many platforms – games, music, movies, TV shows, internet etc. – that dramatise and romanticise both the physical and emotional aspects of suffering. With so many devices that enable immediate access to anything we want, we are often surrounded and consumed by the misery, pain and torment that is suffering.

How is it that we condone video games such as Call of Duty where the player is both the killer and the victim, yet we cringe at news stories reporting on the tragedy and fatalities of war? Is it because it isn’t real? Being so frequently exposed to this kind of thing, gradually desensitises us from the real deal.

So the real question to ask, is this all ok?

I think it is ok. We all experience suffering on some level, it is inevitable and it begs us to think and feel. I think the real issue lies with the intentions of those who choose to record and/or view suffering. It is important to ensure that the memory of someone is preserved – to pay respect – and to create a dignified recollection of suffering, not to humiliate.