Let’s face it. Everything you see is filtered by the media. And especially issues that are ‘controversial’ are especially filtered. And it’s hard to figure out your own viewpoint by all the forms of information that are vying for attention from every side. In the era of fake news, how do we discern what’s real and what’s, well, fake?
Feminism doesn’t lie outside this issue. I’m here to take you all through the basic ways that we are influenced by the media, including hard news, social media, and others.
Problem 1: Mass Media
Ok, so I’m especially passionate about this one because I’m currently studying Journalism. So, how is feminism addressed in Mass Media? Like this: Feminists hate men. *cue eye roll*
The unfortunate thing about the people that fuel the media today, is that the vast majority are white males. Is this slowly changing? Yes. Does it still have a long way to go? Also, yes. But when white males are putting negative words to the way they are reporting on feminism, it advances the stereotypes that we continue to see.
Problem 2: Social Media
Ah, social media. What a fun and terrifying thing you are.
In recent times, social media has seemed to do a lot of good surround women’s equality. The #MeToo movement is probably the most influential and allowed any and all women to tell their stories, without giving only privileged ones a platform.
Social media allows anyone to have a voice, at a lower cost than it might be in another form of media. This rings true around the world, and A study on internet usage and women’s political activism in the Middle East and North Africa, allows more people to participate in political protests for the citizens.
However, just as much as women and feminists can tell their stories and share beliefs, so can internet trolls. For me, there is nothing more frustrating and hurtful than the long string of Facebook comments I see scrolling through on a controversial post. In some ways it seems that the only thing social media is doing is polarizing us more.
Problem 3: Film & Advertisements
Did someone say problematic? Are you sure you didn’t mean Hollywood?
When will we see equal representation in film? When will people of all color be getting the roles they deserve to play? When will those doing the same things as white men receive equal pay? I don’t think I need to say much more on that. We know what’s wrong with Hollywood, we all see it. Those in power need to make a change. Now.
This is continued in advertisements. We continually see a misrepresentation of women’s bodies and are told that is what beauty is. What preferences are we catering to with these? Men’s of course. These types of advertisements push ‘the beauty myth’ onto women and tell them being skinny, having clear skin, not having body hair, _________ (you fill in the blank), is what being a woman means.
Which is pretty tricky when femininity is a social construct after all.
Bottom line, be careful about the way you let the media influence you. Stand strong in your beliefs, and don’t let the opinion of someone else influence you. Pay attention to the words that you read and find news sources that you trust for factual information. But remember, you do have a voice and no one can take that away from you.
Speak up. Use it.