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Media

Dear Amy,

I have just been reading a few comments sent to you by many women of their concerns on how women are portrayed in the media, specifically as sex objects. This is an issue that is very close to my heart. I find it so devastating to have to look around me and see semi-naked women everywhere, somehow not aimed for the female eyes it seems? I cant help wondering why this is allowed to continue? Why something hasn't been done about it, since many women seem to feel the same?

I do believe this is the main major feminist concern of our time! Since it is all around us, with no escape! Living in a world unfortunately controlled by the media, (which was the major cause for the revolutionary 60's) and aimed at the male sex, and I, as a woman, feel belittled and used by this, it makes me feel as though men are somehow under the impression that theyÕre in control, and the superior.

I saw this advert on TV the other day for the magazine "maxim" - two guys deliberately got dumped by their girlfriends so that they could look at this magazine full of all the "hot, sexy girls" that they can text and email etc. And so many other advertisements use this getting dumped by the girlfriend and its advantages on their magazine reading. What does this say about the relationship and attitudes between men and women?! Is this suggesting that men would rather have these fake, idealistic images of girls our media considers "sexy" to drool over, rather than a real woman with a brain? The fact that women may actually have a personality seems somehow lost in the media (unless it involves how they are in bed!) and its everywhere!! Just the other day I walked into my friends room to find his walls completely plastered with pictures of semi-naked women from FHM, I find it absolutely sickening! Not only the offense at women's figures being used, but also because I guess I lost a bit of my faith in the opposite sex, are all men really this shallow, pathetic and immoral?

And what of the effects this has on the self - confidence and image of women themselves? Many women feel they have these unrealistic standards the media has set to live up to in order to be wanted by a man! It's no wonder anorexia and depression effects so many young girls these days! Even being in a relationship, and having the unwanted uncertainty and insecurity of "is he only with my because he likes the way I look?" or even the thought that he must see thousands of women that are apparently so much more beautiful than you could ever hope to be. Of course, one can argue that this is not the correct way for women to think, and I would agree, living up to the expectations of men should never be a goal for any women, however, I do also think that the want to be loved, and loved for who you are, is what makes us human!

I do consider myself very fortunate that the man I am with happens to agree and respect the majority of my moral and political views, however, after three years, there is still this uncertainly, call it insecurity perhaps. Even though he often tells me I am beautiful etc, I find myself wondering if he looks at these images and thinks "I wish my girlfriend looked like that". so this isn't just an issue when I am offended by seeing these images, but way of life that I am constantly aware of! Is the media stopping me getting close to the man that I love? Will I ever find piece of mind while this is allowed to continue? Can we ever trust our men to love us for who we are, and not wish that we were something else?

Secondly, I would like to ask if there is anything I can do on the matter, besides avoiding it - I do not buy these magazines or anything that supports this. And I am intending to write to these companies expressing my view. But it is a matter I feel very passionately about and would like to do more, any groups, meetings, or anything else you can think of that I may take part in would be much appreciated? Thank you for taking the time to read this. Would really appreciate a response!! Any response!

Thank you again,

Lisa

   

Dear Lisa --

I certainly agree that the media present and unrealistic view/perspective of everything -- not just women's bodies, mens, too and race, etc.... However, I also think that the more damaging influence is not the media, but our peers. The media is an easy outlet, but the fact is that we are more likely to be silently competitive with our peers than with someone we don't really know. I think that we owe it to ourselves to do both -- challenge the media and also each other.

One project that you might like to know about: The Girls, Women and Media Project -- www.mediaandwomen.org. I hope that helps to more positively direct your frustrations -- thanks.

- Amy

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