The image that the news, media, politics, fashion design, corporate world, film, and television industry’s portray of women is analyzed from the viewpoints of cultural and political economy studies, and it is important to understand because it has an enormous impact in the society, particularly on women. Image is very valuable because it is through our perception that we are able to brand, group, judge, or categorize people at first encounter. It is said that it takes very little time to form in our minds a permanent impression of a person from his image.
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The portrayal of women in the news, media, fashion, and film industry is usually not the reality, but a “ stereotype based on the attitudes and intentions of the producers, targeted audience and their culture” (Grover and Hundal 29).
For example, the media and fashion industry have tended to portray women as sexy and seductive in order to attract their audiences. Women who are featured are young, beautiful, and slim. The film industry has a similar scenario with most of the female participants under 30 years. Age limitation is not strict on their male counterparts. Action movies, for instance, depict women as weak beings who pose no danger and are therefore rarely killed. Gender stereotype also appears, especially where men appear in movies doing certain chores different from those of women along the traditional gender role demarcations.
In the journalism industry, the number of female staff is far less than that of males. This is in spite of the fact that “female media graduates usually outnumber their male equals” (Scodari 206). The trend is similar in politics and business. Obviously, under-representation of women in these facets bears negatively on the content of American news, on economic and political decision making and empowerment processes, and the general society stance on women.
Women have suffered from under-representation in important sectors of life and negative publicity in the media for a long time. However, the civil movements of women’s groups have demanded more recognition, empowerment, and positive portrayal. Vijender reports that economic and political empowerment has enabled women to stand and fight for positive portrayal in the society (431).
According to Coleman, the number of economically viable women has increased to 47% as of 2015 (1117). Given that women received full recognition as voters in 1965 and “currently women holding seats in parliament are 29,017”, it is reasonable to argue that a lot has been done to ensure fair representation in the political arena (Wallace, Sharon and Carla 45). The gender development index (GDI) which estimates and compares average success in life expectancy, education, income between males and females, and the gender empowerment measure (GEM) which estimates “gender bias in empowerment, economic participation and decision making, political participation and decision making, and power over economic resources” rose significantly the past two decades (Coleman 1117).
The concerns of the modern woman have drifted away from fighting for the distribution of power to coping with new forms of oppression brought about by advances in technology, changes in legislation and educational changes. The other challenge is dealing with divergent views among themselves in that some are conservatives and against “equalization of opportunity and roles, claiming that the prolonged absence of women from homes leads to further family disintegration” (Thomson 101).
The subject of women’s presentation in the society is a complex one. A lot has been achieved, but with the existence of entities who feel threatened by the complete emancipation of the feminine gender, the race is far from over.
Coleman, Denise. “United States: 2015 Country Review.” Business Source Complete 1(2015): 1-1283. Print.
Grover, Saurabh, and Hundal, B. S. “A Socio-cultural Examination of Gender Role: A Study of Projection of Women in Advertisements.” Journal of Marketing & Communication: Business Source Complete 9.3(2014): 28-36. Print.
Scodari, Christine. “Roots, Representation, and Resistance? Family History Media & Culture through a Critical Lens.” Academic Search Premier 36.3(2013): 206- 220. Print.
Thomson, Jennifer. “Intelligent Compassion: Feminist Critical Methodology in the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom.” Business Source Complete 13.1(2014): 101-101. Print.
Vijender, Beniwal. “ Global Empowerment of Women: Responses to Globalization and Politicized Religions.” Business Source Complete 12.3(2014): 431-432. Print.
Wallace, Sherri, Sharon Moore, and Carla Curtis. “Black Women as Scholars and Social Agents: Standing in the Gap.” Negro Educational Review: Business Source Complete 65.14(2014): 44-62. Print.