Portrayal of women in media and its effects

By: Elizabeth Woxland

Image taken from: “Women & Media.” 2018. What Will It Take. August 15, 2018.

The media can have a very persuasive and powerful influence on how people view certain things/topics. The topic of the media’s portrayal of women, and the double standard between men and women, is a major theme in the media.

Not only is the portrayal of women stereotypical, but it influences others into believing these stereotypes. There is a huge gender-imbalance in the media where women are far less likely to appear than men and are often viewed differently in comparison to their male colleagues.

The media misrepresents the actual proportions of successful men and successful women in the population. An example of this would be the lack of recognition for female directors. Successful female directors, such as Greta Gerwig, who directed the successful movies ‘Lady Bird’ and ‘Little Women’, has yet to win any awards for directing either of those films. This is despite both of the films having more popularity than the other films they went up against for awards.

The underrepresentation of women leads to harmful stereotypes between men and women. Not only is there a lack of women in media, but the media also perceives women in a very different light than men. A specific example of this would be the double standard for men and women writing songs about love.

When looking at singer/songwriters Taylor Swift and Ed Sheeren, both have very similar careers. Taylor Swift, like many other female singer/songwriters, is judged for using her relationships as inspiration for her songs. While in comparison, male artists like Ed Sheeren, are praised for opening up and using their love life as inspiration. One is praised and the other is criticized.

The double standard, and lack of women in media, is harmful and affects how girls/women perceive themselves and how men perceive women. Although there has been growth in the percentage of women in media, in recent years, the media still struggles to equally represent and portray both men and women.

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