The more things change, the more they stay the same

When I think about feminism, I think of how far we’ve come. I think of my current position as a university student, and how it was something almost taboo not too many generations ago. I think of the intersectionality and inclusion feminism has reached, and the groups it has given a voice to. But as they say, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Some of the notions Kathy McMahon-Klosterman and Joanne McQueen did when they first started their work towards feminism in Oxford were seen as radical in their time, yet today seem like common sense to many of us. But at the same time, some of the things they’ve been working towards for 30+ years have yet to take effect. One of these things is the way women are portrayed in the media. Women experience underrepresentation, discrimination, and disadvantage when it comes to their portrayal by the media. Don’t believe me? Check out these statistics from Time Magazine…

Women are quoted in only 19% of news articles.

Women are only on the evening news 39% of the time and account for 37%  of published journalism articles.

The average US woman is 5’4″ and weighs 140 pounds. The average US model is 5’7″ and weights 117 pounds.

Women are much more likely to be dressed suggestively in magazine and newspaper advertisements.

The media can be pretty detrimental to women’s self-image when they show women who represent an ideal instead of a realistic depiction. If Jo and Kathy along with the rest of N.O.W. were able to not only recognize this issue but to send letters to presidents of companies guilty of this misportrayal to let them know of the consequent boycott by this group of women, how does this kind of advertising and media portrayal still exist in such prominence today?

Posted September 27, 2016