Summary: This video from The Representation Project summarizes media images of women in 2013. The video begins by highlighting that "there was a lot to celebrate this year for women in the media," pointing to media images of women in political leadership roles (Malala Yousafzai), heroine leads (Jennifer Lawrence in The Hunger Games), scientists (Sandra Bullock in Gravity), female-centric casts (Orange Is The New Black), and ESPN's coverage of women's sports. The video then recognizes that media images "aren’t changing fast enough," spotlighting much more problematic and sexist portrayals of women, including: women who were hypersexualized in advertisements, music, television, and film; women criticizing other women’s appearances; sole attention on women’s physical appearances as opposed to intelligence; and stereotypes of women being hysterical and overly-emotional. This video can be shown when teaching about gender oppression, and it can specifically help students grasp teachings on: (1) rape culture and how the media normalizes and desensitizes audiences to rape through, for example, comedic discussions and scenes of such violence toward women; and (2) feminism’s double bind, as the clip captures media scenes where women are told, for example, that it is nearly impossible for them to be both attractive and intelligent, or successful at home and work. Instructors can ask students: (1) Based on the video, what can we celebrate about gender equity in media representation? Can you think of other examples not mentioned in the video? (2) What media images of women can we critique? (3) Using an intersectional analysis, are women of color portrayed differently than white women in these examples? If so, how? The video would pair well with Ariel Levy’s (2005) Female Chauvinist Pigs: Women and the Rise of Raunch Culture, which also addresses changing representations of women in the media, including how women internalize misogyny by, for example, objectifying each other and themselves.
Submitted By: Maegan Zielinksi and Beverly M. Pratt