Monday, November 18, 2013

Media Portrayals of Women: Creating Perception?

There were some interesting articles in the news the last few days on how the media portrays women.

The first one is in regards to films based on the theme of survival and how they portray men & women differently.  Female survivors tend to be presented in sci-fi/fantasy settings, but men are consistently portrayed in a 'based on a true story' way:

The second is about recent research which shows that men show just as much relational/social aggression as women, but this is not portrayed in the media in the same way as 'mean girls':

The third is in regards to an upcoming by-election, where two women who have both written about economic theory/worked in journalism are facing off against each other:
This article is an opinion article, and I'm not overly fond of this writer, but she does present a decent commentary on how female politicians are still portrayed in Canada.

I know that these are all from the same newspaper, but I don't think that makes these ideas or opinions any less relevant.  Since my daughter has been born, I've found that I'm looking a lot more into gender politics and these sorts of things.  Like any parent, I want to figure out a way to help improve the world for her - and I think a lot of these things are just as damaging to men (for example: the stereotype that boys aren't allowed to express sadness or hurt except in very specific ways, like physical aggression).

Since I was already looking at the question of whether the media is presenting reality or creating a perception when it comes to certain gender items (or possibly both? creating a perception is leading to a reality which is enforcing the perception?), these articles peaked by interest, especially since they were all published within a few days of each other.

On a final gender note, the paper also did a recent follow up on the story of baby Storm, whose parents decided not to let anyone know the physical gender.  I've actually met the mom and the kids a few times, and they were lovely, and are truly doing what they feel is best for their children (just like the rest of us).

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