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Hello, I have this question that I want to get more information on but even when I talk to freinds, I cannot get enough that will satisfy my curiosity. I hope that at FEMINIST.COM, I may get the answer to satisfy me.

My question to you is:

How have the mass media served the feminist agenda of equality in the areas of the economy, politics, and society in general.

Your reply should reflect a careful consideration of the question. You should illustrate your answer with references from the products of the mass media, i.e. radio, television, magazines, newspapers, etc.

Thanks for your note to FEMINIST.COM. Given the nature of your question--and its wording--I'm suspicious that I'm doing your homework for you. Regardless, I think that mass media has equally "served" the feminist agenda and "disserved" the feminist agenda. The mass media still operates under the assumption that all feminists think alike--and too often treats it as a fringe movement that is composed of a group of angry women who are working to put women in positions of power by taking that power away from men. For instance, the other day a cover story for U.S. News & World Report read "60% of College Students are Female, What Happened to the Boys." In reality, what happened "to the boys" is that they could get better paying jobs without having to go to college, therefore, the girls are the real suckers. This is just one example of how the media continues to use women's supposed progress as a way of attempting to sidetrack or de-rail that progress. This happens on a daily basis in the media.

The other perpetual problem is that when feminists do succeed--for instance in fighting for the Family Leave Act or the child-care tax credit--the media rarely attributes these "feminist successes" to feminists. That said, there are also positive examples of the mass media--for instance, places such as Ms. Magazine exist, and even Jane Magazine recently had a great story on the female astronauts that were trained with John Glenn, and Marie Claire had one on female genital mutilation. For more on all of the above you should read Susan Faludi's Backlash and Susan Douglas's Where the Girls Are.

Good luck -- and hopefully this will stir your mind to come up with your own examples. Just read the newspaper or watch the news with a gender senstive lens.


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