Portrayal of women in media

(Fatima Afzaal, Karachi.)

Building equivalent societies is one of the priorities of modern democratic states. Mass media play an important role in making societies where men and women enjoy equal rights in modern era of technology. Acknowledging women about their legal rights as a part of the society is very important for shaping a democrat society. This includes economic, social, awareness of basic human rights, psychological, philosophical, political and more. Media play an important role for making society successful in all the mentioned areas. The media can promote reformation in different fields of life, as well as media can implement things through the strategies of getting instant attention of mass audience.

Many international conventions and conferences have raised their voice about the need to break general stereotypes through the usage of media by doing some changes in media policies. Media mostly portrayed women as victim of domestic violence, humiliation and portray them in sexiest ways also. But before some years this new trend has seen that media started promoting a concept of “strong woman”. If we divide mass media into two parts news media and fiction media like (films, drama series etc) in early times women are often associated with sex-objects or household things and just are the part of home politics but now we saw in many films and dramas women have equal rights as men have. Like young girl is going to college and she can get admission in university as well. She can make her own career as she want. Means women are not bound anymore between the four walls of house. They get the equal opportunities in all spheres of life but still limited news programs show appearance of women as main character. The major reason behind this condition is smaller number of women in these areas of life as compare to the male counterpart.

Psychologically media also set the concepts of people about fashion, beauty, and lifestyle and so on. Like in different advertising and magazines, women are mostly portrayed as young, white complexion and slim beauty. Women with such kind of portrayal are often related with sex objects. Such concepts are now a standard of beauty for women in the society. People mostly appreciate women according these standards like if a woman is slim, young and has a fair complexion then she is a beautiful but if she cannot meet these standards than she is not a beautiful girl or woman.

Now come to the concept of feminism, from this concept we talk about the advocacy of women’s rights means both the sexes should have equal rights. Here, meaning of equal rights is that women should have equal opportunities of moving ahead in all spheres of life like education, economy, and social and so on.
In spite the fact that today media day by day related femininity with independent and powerful women, qualities informed by sexuality like display of the female body and women’s body fragmentation ads to promote the elegance of women’s bodies. So, this is the miss-use of this concept of feminism.

The portrayal of female characters is largely affected by the beauty myths. Like flawless skin, slender legs, fair complexion, attractive and innocent faces all such components of beauty as we perceived in society. And this myth is instantly generalized throughout the world as a result of globalization. The standard that media are portray as the concept of women’s beauty is however impossible to achieve in reality. Because, since models are reached this standard of beauty by using different means of technology.

For the first time, sound data on gender positions in news organizations around the world has been published in the IWMF’s Global Report on the Status of Women in the News Media. The research papers were collected by more than 150 researchers who interviewed executives at more than 500 companies in 59 nations using a 12-page questionnaire.

The IWMF (international women’s media foundation) found that 73% of the top management jobs are occupied by men compared to 27% occupied by women. Among the ranks of reporters, men hold nearly two-thirds of the jobs, compared to 36% held by women. However, among senior professionals, women are nearing parity with 41% of the news gathering and editing.

Only in Uganda and Russia are the top countries where men and women are equally appear in leading positions almost. In spite the enormous change that has taken place in the field of media thanks to feminist criticism, the contemporary media are now portraying women somehow better than before. But still in US and Europe, where women have legally reached equal rights with men, media continue have discriminatory effect towards women and rely on male when portraying women. Many media experts, analyst and researchers documented the fact that, even western media representing women poorly.

No doubt modern technology and emergence of new media bring a revolution in the image of women. Today we all are the part media not only as consumers but also as producers through social media. As we all know that social media gave us a wide platform to share our ideas, thoughts, and knowledge; but also gave the same platform to those who are in favor of discrimination between men and women. So, the quality of information on social media is manipulated and disseminated. However, in case of traditional media we have some possibilities to work under the leadership to get trained and achieve some results.
In other words traditional media however educates the citizens about the gender equality and reducing the discriminatory affect from the society.


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28 Dec, 2017 Views: 517


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By: samia, karachi on Jan, 01 2018
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By: Fatima Afzaal, karachi on Jan, 04 2018
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