Thursday, 27 February 2014


The misrepresentation of women in media is a huge and difficult problem. From fairy tales to news rounds we are constantly presented with unrealistic role models. From a young age girls have always been fed stories of princesses and pretty young women who's only aspiration is to marry the man of their dreams. In fairy tales older women are usually presented as witches and evil stepmothers; jealous of younger women and determined to be seen as beautiful. These women are useless as they have lost their only redeeming feature; their beauty. 

Later in life girls are bombarded with images of sexualised celebrities and pop stars who use their sexuality to please men and make money. Unfortunately this usually comes at an important stage when we are thinking about what we want to do and who we want to be. Only having female role models who are successful because of their beauty means a lack of self confidence. Girls find themselves less determined to work hard and more desperate to look nice. 

In many films and on TV every female character (unless there for comic effect) looks perfect at all times while men can look average or worse as long as they are funny or charismatic. Even when there is an 'average-looking' female character in a film she will almost always get a makeover, take off her glasses or put on a new dress to reveal that she has in fact always been pretty and therefore worthy of a man. 

Of course this sexism does not occur in all aspects of media. There are many tv series and films which include successful, hardworking and talented women such as The Carrie Diaries (which happens to be amazing) featuring a young ambitious writer from Connecticut. The problem is that so much of the media does feature these negative aspects and therefore is encouraging sexist beliefs.

The consumption of harmful misrepresentations is impossible to avoid if you are a normal, tv watching girl. Most girls are able to look past it but unfortunately it can influence and mould many of us. It is difficult to know how we can finally reclaim the media when it is predominantly run by men. A good start would be to understand and acknowledge the problem before putting pressure on companies who currently think that they are giving us what we want to see. If they discover that gender stereotyping and causal sexism in media is not for us then maybe they will finally bring it to an end.

Luckily there have been signs of change in the form of Disney fairy tales with new heroines such as Brave where Merida aspires to escape from her mother and her role as a princess who must marry in order to be successful. New role models are coming to light in the form of Amy Poehler, Beyonce and other successful and intelligent women. Hopefully a new age of female celebrities will bring about more and more determined and aspirational girls.

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