Saturday, February 2, 2013

Don’t blame all media for unhealthy images of women

A selection of videos in my women’s health class this week raise interesting points about U.S. society’s unhealthy emphasis upon a narrow standard of female beauty. We were asked, in a discussion board, to respond to one film in particular, Miss Representation.

While I share genuine concern about messages of female dis-empowerment, one point that I object to is its attribution to “the media” of unhealthy attitudes about women.

A very small number of pundits, notably from Fox News, are shown presenting offensive comments dismissing Hillary Clinton, yet this attitude is attributed to “the media” as a whole. Images of emaciated models from magazine advertising are also attributed to “the media.”

News anchor Jennifer Livingston brought bullying into national dialogue when she responded to a viewer who called her fat.

Livingston’s television station is not Fox Network News and she is not Bill O’Reilly but when people dismiss “the media,” they lump Livingston into the same category as the pundits whose spiteful comments are featured in the film.

Why is it OK to stereotype “the media” and everyone who works in various media industries as somehow all contributing to these destructive attitudes?

I agree with a statement in the video about the importance of advertising as a source of media revenue and also agree that advertising is based upon making people feel anxious and insecure. But it is important to specify the medium and the type of advertising.

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