The Truth About Women in Media Today

The problems with women’s role in daily life is with how it is projeceted on to us by different industries and corporations. The news industry still has a mainly male dominating field still to this day. Yes, women such as Opera Winfrey and Ellen DeGeneres have broken countless walls to reach their successes. Recently it was the 20th Anniversary of Ellen’s famous coming out cover of Time Magazine “Yep, I’m Gay.” That point of her career was either a hit or miss, thankfully it was a hit.

Especially in the 90s, media industry were although experimental with ideas of sexuality and diversity, were still broadcasting networks and broadcasting media forms that were strictly guided. Now, thanks to the new medias such as YouTube, Podcast, Twitter, blog, etc. People can become famous and be heard. Hollywood executives are still for the most part mainly white and male. Women are on camera only 32% of the time in evening broadcast news, and write 37% of print stories news stories. Between 2013 and 2014, female bylines and other credits increased just a little more than 1%. At the New York Times, more than 67% of bylines are male. Also, men still dominate “hard news”

 

Advertisements

Champions for Equality

I wanted to bring awareness to a Global Fund for Women, which was founded in 1987 by four women: Anne Firth Murray, Frances Kissling, Laura Lederer, and Nita Barrow. The women who knew the importance of women’s human rights to bring social, political, and economical change. There vision is “Every woman and girl is strong, safe, powerful, and heard. No exceptions.” They managed to find wealthy individuals to fund their various projects that empower women, later becoming a public foundation that has helped bring great changes to women in all over the world. The website highlights past CEO and members on their page, last statement is about that although times have changed, their mission is still the same, “trust women.”

The website is easily navigated and can be visited at : https://www.globalfundforwomen.org/about/mission-history/#.WQUFurglGUk

The foundation’s logo is “Champions for Change”

They are active on all popular social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Instagram.

I think it is important to stay an active member of our society. Social movements are a condition of life’s various inequalities. Social change doesn’t come with a click of a button, however, it comes by going out and doing more than donating. Going and participating by joining organizations and causes that you are passionate about. Donating is just one of the ways someone can help bring change into this world with just one click!

The Global Fund for Women gives out grants to women-led groups based outside of U.S. The Grant-making page can be visited here for more information.

Portrayal of the Catholic Church in TV

I was fishing the web recently when I  stumbled upon an article in the New York Times “Sexism in the Church” with a hanging question ““Is Your Pastor Sexist?”  The article written by Julia Baird about women’s fight against inequality within the Catholic church.  Baird argues the insanity of Princeton giving the “Prize for Excellence in Reformed Theology and Public Witness” to Tim Keller, a man of the church who believes in complementary, believing “the Bible set forth that men should lead and have authority over women, and that married women must submit to their husbands.”

19baird-master768

The article goes on to discuss a feminist writer Carol Howard Merritt, a pastor as well, called Keller wining the prize as “toxic” commenting on the issue being much greater. Merritt talks about this religiously based belief called “Complementarianism,” often even abusive, “married women have no choice over their lives at all.”

Now, to the issue of television, and how all of this is relevant.

I watch a lot of television. Even if i haven’t actually seen a specific show, I still probably know about it, just not having watched it due to lack of interest. I’ve had a lot of late nights, binge watching old re-runs of CSI:Miami and How I Met Your Mother, and the episodes on the subject of priests and their misconduct actually pops up into my brain several times. That memory of the episode about a priest is never positive. Very simply, this is when a priest is depicted as or accused of being a pedophile or child molester — in short, a holy man with an entirely “unholy interest in young children.

Television is present in everyday of our lives. It can be found at home, in hospitals, schools, libraries, basically every social public gathering. Moreover, most of our generation has a cell phone and watch videos on social media accounts daily. Why is television profiling and stereotyping men of faith in their television programs?

Well, I believe due to the cultural impact of the early 21st century child molestation scandals and prominent figures such as Tim Keller, television often tries to point out these often excused behaviors. Specifically, the Catholic church, their priests are by far the most likely to involved in such a heinous crime. Although, I must say that pedophiles, racists, sexists, and so on can be anyone. From teachers, to babysitters, or even parents. Television seems to cover even those cases. In the article by Alec Dent called “Can Television Take People of Faith Seriously?” he talks about the dangers of perception television has on the viewers.

What makes a priest worse than any other in the eyes of viewers and readers?

Main reason is because abuse cases about the Catholic Church draw in more viewers. When a religion that is based on the idea of “righteousness” and “holiness” diverges in its behavior, it grabs peoples attention, thus becomes an interesting story worth investigating and reporting.

Lets Talk About Serena Williams!

In recent news, Serena Williams has graced the covers of tabloids and magazines. Winning her 23rd Gran Slam this January 2017 Australian opener.

Her recently discovered pregnancy has lit the online public sphere into a viral discussion about women and their ability to perform while experiencing physical changes.

Is this right? I start to ask myself this question of whether or not this issue is rooted from a bigger greater issue. We should however, blame “progesterone”– the thing that tags along with a woman’s pregnancy, extreme fatigue and weakness. The hormonal changes begin a domino-like effect of physical changes, by the fifth week, a pregnant woman’s blood volume increases along with the number of her red blood cells. Precisely everything in her body begins to transform. Knowing this and more we start to understand why so many are amazed by William’s recent win. They aren’t surprised that Serena Williams won, she is a winner of dozens of metals over the course of 20 years of her professional tennis career. The argument that is spiraling all over social media is about how in the world Williams keeps her position as the best female tennis player in the world while currently with child.

Picture: (Serena Williams selfie of pregnancy)

well-serena-pregnant

Williams admitted she broke the news by accident on Snapchat, clarifying that even her own coach had no idea. “You know how social media is, you press the wrong button and…” on accidentally sharing her pregnancy on Snapchat

 

Articles began to flood my news feed. New York Times posted “Winning While Pregnant: How Athletes Do It” by Roni Caryn Rabin just 2 days ago. The article discussed Serena Williams success and how athletes as well as people with very physically active lives, can function even more so when physically tested by nature. The article further elaborated by talking about James Pivarnik, a professor of kinesiology at Michigan State University who studies the effects of exercise on pregnancy.

“These women are different. They can recover from incredible stresses that they put themselves through on a daily basis for their entire lives,” -James Pivarnik

“One of the reasons they can hit a tennis ball really hard is that they can recover. It’s the people who can recover who make it to that level.” -James Pivarnik

So to answer the question of whether or not it is good that the media is discussing and conversing on this issue, I believe yes, it is.

Women have often been projected in media and television as weak. Hit with unexpected pressure, we are often described as overly emotional or unable to cope with lives pressures. Well, it is women such as Williams that move to impress and break the in place stereotypes that exist about men and women.

Net Neutrality and Why YOU Should Care

Ever heard of the term “net neutrality” being used in conversations about the internet? Ever wondered why it would ever be important to know or to stand for?

Maybe YOU did know. Maybe you are someone who is totally aware about recent events in company mergers and have basic knowledge of communication technologies and their significance in terms of equality.

I didn’t always know. I found out in 2014, when concerns over the power of Internet service providers to control access to online content started popping up on online news pages and social media. Facebook a Twitter had become a place for heated online platforms for social debate over the Comcast/Time Warner merger.

Let me back up, and start by explaining the term “Net neutrality,” the the idea that all processes (traffic) on the Internet must be treated equally. Comcast wanted to buy Time Warner Cable for a whopping sum of $45.2 billion, making it into monopolized broadcast/cable entity that would essentially provide services to 30 million subscribers. Moreover, the thing that would have change the most is the “net neutrality” that exists on the internet. In the article Cnet called “How Net neutrality helped kill the Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger”  it discussed reason the deal never got signed.

Why is this important to the issues I normally discuss on my blog? Well, i believe that if this merger actually happened, the way in which we watched television would have changed drastically. The idea now, even with premium cable providers such as Showtime and HBO, is that most families can afford internet and can watch these shows by streaming them online if they only had basic cable at home for example. The merger also would have created two separate internet speeds. This in turn could have created even more economic divide between classes in America. The idea that you can buy faster access to online databases and social platforms would bring a bigger divide. The notion that your broadband provider who controls your online access, can block or slow down the service at anytime while you are using the web.

Fortunately, social media helped bring awareness to the potential merger nightmare, and they had to pull the plug on the deal citing “opposition from regulators.” John Oliver on Last Week Tonight is also greatly responsible. The comedian/ show host brought insane amount of awareness to this merger and encouraged his viewers know how they can voice their disapproval to the FCC. By going on www.fcc.gov/comments, this actually caused the government page to crash for the first time in history the following day.

Here is the segment of John Oliver:

 

Sexism in the Work Place: Television is Sexist?

There have been a number of famous actresses who have noted in their interviews that sexism is still very much alive in Hollywood. In fact, you would be surprised to find that even the most successful and powerful of actresses have witnessed first hand just how real gender inequality is.

You would be shocked to discover that women such as Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Watson, Lena Dunham, Kristen Stewart, and many more have openly discussed the issue of inequality in their working environments. In fact, the amount of women that have spoken out by sharing their experiences can be also seen by the number of articles on the issue at hand. In Harper Bazaar article titled “25 Celebrity Women on Gender Inequality in Hollywood,” the magazine noted 25 famous women who had been quoted on their experiences on set.

In “Lenny Letter” article on Jennifer Lawrence, the actress discussed how she found out that she was getting paid less than her male co-stars through the internet, and how this made her feel less of an actress because of her gender. Lawrence accounts,

    “I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that   influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’ At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.'” -Lenny, October 2015

Another actress is famous in advocating for women rights and is an active feminist, Emma Watson. She has spoken out multiple times in several different issues about her stance on the issue of gender inequality in Hollywood. In The Guardian 2014 issue, she is quoted saying, “I have experienced sexism in that I have been directed by male directors 17 times and only twice by women.” This is true, Hollywood is dominated by male producers, writers, and directors, leaving little room for women in their line of work. Watson also spoke on the matter of how each gender shouldn’t have to stay in the gender roles assigned to us in terms of how to feel,

“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum, not as two opposing sets of ideals.” —At the HeForShe Campaign launch, September 2014

In terms of her work on women’s rights, Emma Watson is staying busy. In 2014 she had been appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, soon after she launched a UN campaign “HeForShe,” which calls for men to help advocate and stand along women in their fight for equality. She gave a speech where she questioned gender based assumptions about both sexes and how each is wrongfully taught to behave within the lines.

 

The the article by the Gaurdian titled  “99% of women working in the film and TV industries have experienced sexism,” the article shared the experiences of 9 famous  women in Hollywood. The director of the film “Suffragette” was quoted saying ‘It’s astounding what a boys’ club [the film industry] is.’ The film was about historic women figures who broke gender “taboos” and succeeded in doing so, but of course going through great lengths to achieve their dreams. What is interesting is that the film had only women producer, writer, production and costume designers. Also the director, Sarah Gavron, noted that she is fully aware of how women tend to be objectified on screen, making sure to stay clear of this in her feature film.  SO what is the message I am trying to bring in this week’s post? I would say it is to bring awareness to the fact that gender inequality is still a major issue, and although laws have been made and society has changed since the gloomy days of early television, it isn’t truly and fully equal. I wanted to give examples of women who are actively fighting for their rights, as well as ours. We must continue the fight for our rights in the world dominated by males.

Institutions and Organizations that Help Further and Improve the Role of Women on and off Screen.

The power each individual has in changing the world and breaking old norms and roles is tremendous, however, this is only achieved by few. This is because we underestimate our own ability to change the wrongful and unjust ways people and institutions conduct business even to this day.

We have come a long way since the dark ages of first few decades of television and film(1950-), where the production and distribution processes were conducted by the few elite Networks, mainly run by men. The world of television has been slowly changing, where is now there are easier ways for women and different minorities to get their foot in the door of Hollywoods world of television production and entertainment. Even though inequality still exists, it is harder to get away with favouring gender and preference in race, when concerning hiring people. Also, gender studies are a popular subject studied in school across the world. Organisations and websites such as The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film,  help empower and teach women about the importance of equal opportunity in the television industry. The web site’s “About” page writes about Dr.Lauzen who began this oranization after doing research on women’s empowerment and representation in film and television, found that at the beginning of her study not much was available on this issue in terms of scholarly works.Now, this discussion gained momentum and now there is a variety or sources and organizations that help support the cause. The center is located at San Diego State University, which is the home to the oldest and most in-depth study of women in film and television. Furthermore, if you just go onto Google and type in “Women’s organization’s in terms of film and equal opportunity, a Wikipedia page pops up titled Women’s Film Organizations, where there anyone can find a list in alphabetical order of all the past and present organizations that help further the study of women and their empowerment in the workplace.

cropped-wtfm-logo-1
Logo taken from the center’s website page

I guess where I wanted to go with this blog entry is to instil a feeling in readers that doing something and “breaking” stereotypes and helping to improve gender equality is something each of us is capable of doing. Go out join an Organization! or Go start your own! It doesn’t have to be about women or even television. Following our passion will drive us to our destined selves.  The headlines on the website for the center on women in television reads, “Equal opportunity through knowledge and research”.

7 Divided media landscape fopr jpg

This chart I found on Women’s Media Center web page, in an article titled “Women’s Role in U.S. Media: Still Dismal? Getting Stronger?” The WMC releases a yearly report on the status of women in American media. This report was done for the 2015 year, showing that although numbers continue to rise, the media landscape is still dominated by male voices.