When it comes to articles and opinion pieces, on how far we have come as a society in our portrayal of women in media there are millions of them. From the angry feminism whos still feels underappreciated to the red and white stripe tie-wearing male who says the war on women is over and everything in between. Well now it is time for mine and I’m here to split this conversation down the middle.
Let’s first acknowledge a very important truth, when it comes to how we see women in media the image was most likely shaped by a man. Now if we are lucky the male producer or writer will present a female that is multifaceted and personally driven. If we are unlucky, she will simply be eye-candy for the male gaze. It has been said that men categorized women into 1 of 4 boxes; Mothers, virgins, sluts, and bitches. Depending on which box you are in will determine how well or unwell that person will respond to you. For example, during WWII due to a labor shortage, women were encouraged to join the workforce because it was the patriotic thing to do. Posters of “Rosie the Riveter”, created by J. Howard Miller was used to market to mothers and single women that they were needed to support the war effort but once the war was won, those same women were laid off for men and expected to return to the kitchen. After this, a show called “Leave it Beaver” debuted with the female role being just a mother who was more than happy to stay at home which further cemented the dream of “ the perfect American family”.
As time has passed media has evolved recently to finally letting women be human, I can’t help but think that this is because more women have joined the writing rooms for popular shows. No longer just mothers, women became more independent and creative. Now, this was not without pushback from husbands, friends, even Supreme Court Justices(remember to always thank RBG). During all of this progress, it became commonplace to place women in the sluts and/or bitches categories if they dared to think of themselves as equal to men. For men, they have passion and dedication but for women, being emotional or “she such a bitch” staying that we hear everywhere. This ideology was explored in the sitcom “How I Met Your Mother”, with the character Robin Scherbatsky. In the show, Robin is a career-driven, scotch-drinking, independent woman who is more than happy being by herself. Unfortunately, the writers change her character to become dependent and unfulfilled because of her lack of a male paramour. Millennial women are at a higher rate than previous generations choosing not to get married or have children(Livingston, 2020). Why? Because just like bachelors, they are finding fulfillment in their work, friends, and hobbies. How will the media reflect this shift from previous generations? I don’t know but I can guess it won’t be pretty if women have no say.
Livingston, G., & Horowitz, J. M. (2020, May 30). Most parents – and many non-parents – don’t expect to have kids in the future. Pew Research Center. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2018/12/12/most-parents-and-many-non-parents-dont-expect-to-have-kids-in-the-future/.
Wong, B. (2021, August 13). More women are saying no to motherhood. will society ever listen? HuffPost. Retrieved October 4, 2021, from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/child-free-by-choice-women_l_60b7e5c5e4b001ebd46d5601.