women's media center

The Invisible Majority – Women & the Media

Sexy or Sexism?: Redefining Sexy and Identifying Sexism

The Women's Media Center and have teamed up to redefine sexy and identify sexism in popular culture. The Sexy or Sexism? Campaign is monitoring the major television networks this fall, raising awareness and providing opportunities for honest and open conversation. How the media defines sexy doesn’t always line-up with how women or men actually feel. We have to change the conversation. The Sexy or Sexism? Campaign educates and activates people who want sexism off air and broader representations of women on air.

But what is Sexy?

There is no one definition of sexy, but there's is a popular perception of how mainstream society determines who is and isn't sexy. Certain body types, hair, eye and skin colors dominate popular media and leave out large segments of our society. Unfortunately, televisions shows focused on women's bodies and limited themes have a real impact on shaping how viewers see the world. The Sexy or Sexism? Campaign isn't looking to define sexy, but we are looking to start the conversation.

How do I identify Sexism?

In the broadest sense, sexism is about prejudice and the power to discriminate against someone based on gender. The major TV networks have the power to determine what images we see and what images we don't. In an ideal world every woman, regardless of shape or size, color or income level would see themselves represented in popular media. In an ideal world young girls and boys watching prime-time television would also see a diverse representation of women in positions of power. Unfortunately, that is simply not our reality. We know that sexism affects everyone, even those in power. The Sexy or Sexism? campaign will monitor these shows and ask our supporters to engage in social actions as we continue to build a movement

In less than two weeks we have activated over 1,000 thousand people to support the campaign and engage in social actions. After viewing the new promotional ad for popular TV show, The Good Wife, we sent a message to our supporters asking them to send a clear message using social media. They in turn flooded The Good Wife Facebook page. This action caused quite the stir.

The Sexy or Sexism? Campaign wants to continue to stir up the pot.

We're now asking our supporters to weigh-in and grade this falls TV line-up. We believe it's the only way to educate and make real change. We can not do this alone, so we're asking activists, writers and TV junkies to help make this happen. Please visit our website, sign-up, send us a blog post and join our campaign.


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The Women's Media Center was founded in 2005 by Jane Fonda, Robin Morgan and Gloria Steinem to make women more visible and powerful in the media. The WMC places female voices into the media, offers media training, and publishes original reports and commentaries as well as links to women columnists and bloggers, news organizations, and journalism sources on its Web site,

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