Throughout media, whether in magazines or television, there has always been a lack of representation of a real everyday woman. Women’s voices are rarely if ever heard in relation to the media. There presence is mainly as an object to be gazed at with no spotlight shed on their ideas and opinions. They are almost always meant to represent or show a pretty face with no regards to their voices and what they want to discuss. There is also a lack of representation that involves women who are minorities. Many times in Western media these women aren’t represented and this causes a disturbance due to the fact that in the U.S we consider ourselves to be culturally divers or a “melting pot”.
Not only is there a a lack of representation but there is also a presence of misrepresentation of women in the media, mainly negative. In particular, minorities have been misrepresented and have been labeled by stereotypes that have been produced by the media. Regardless of who these women are and their backgrounds, they have always been made to conform or to play out these stereotypes which leads the audience, whomever they may be, to believe that this is how all women of x ethnicity normally behave or appear to be. This not only creates delusions but also produces negative backlash towards women who don’t fit these stereotypes.
Those who are able to fully view this situation notice how women of different ethnicities are portrayed the media. On television and movies there are the stereotypes of the oversexualized Latina followed by words such as “spicy ” who are almost always curvy women wearing tight dresses accentuating everything considered appealing. Adjectives such as “spicy”, “hot, or “juicy” that follow Latina women make it seem like they are some sort of meal or food that “is craved , salivated over, attained, devoured and then flushed away”. These women are placed in roles that encourage stereotypes such as the maid , the vixen, and the crazy hothead.
Then we have the stereotypes of black women in media, who are often portrayed as the angry black women, the baby momma,the unhealthy black woman or the gold digger. They are also unfortunately displayed as the face of welfare.Urban Black women have become the personification of welfare and are seen as lazy and immoral women. These women, most especially the young teen mothers, are being targeted and subjected to stereotypes instead of society focusing on actually fixing the welfare system.
Considering all this under representation and all these prevalent stereotypes, with the presence of the internet women are able to acquire proper representation through blogs and organizations formed on the bases of giving women, regardless of their background or ethnicity, a voice that allows them to feel a sense of existence in the media. An example would be the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF), whose aim is to strengthen the role of female journalists worldwide and they believe that news isn’t really a representative without also including the equal voice of women through the perspective of female journalists[x]. Its truly fascinating the fact that they have programs that provide training and support in order to achieve their goal and which allows female journalists to hold same positions as those given to male journalists without the discrimination and with all the support needed. Another example would be Feminspire which allows female individuals to share and contribute on their issues, perspectives, and thoughts. With the thought of women in mind, the website features ” a global collection of female voices” and is inspired by the disturbing fact of the negativity on the internet that is projected towards women.
Douglas, Susan J. “The War Against Welfare Mothers.” The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How It Has Undermined All Women. N.p.: Free, 2004. 176-202. Print.