Media is my favorite aspect of Sociology. It is so interesting how powerful it is in socializing the masses to know how to act and what to believe. It provides examples of normality as well as subtle (sometimes not so subtle) criticism of people who do not fit in the confining box of normality. We see the people that don’t fit in the box are most commonly gays and women, especially women of power.
While reading Gill’s chapter News, Gender, and Journalism, I want to first point out (I try to have a critical eye while reading ANY piece of literature) that a lot of the information was fairly dated (2001). Although I am sure that the majority of these statistics presented on female media coverage on news networks has not drastically changed, but the statistics are more than a decade old. I am, of course, never minimizing the importance of this chapter because it is still a very precedent in our society. I would, however, like to see if the current statistics have improved, worsened, or stayed the same. I would hope that they have improved over the past decade or so… but the one thing I have learned from this class and Intro to Sociology is that our society can surprise us and even frighten us in ways that we were previously ignorant to. There were two aspects of Gill’s chapter that stood out to me: the invisibility of women in media coverage and the way women portrayed and treated when they gain economical or political power. It is interesting to me that women rarely receive media coverage for their accomplishments. To be honest I think in our society it is much more impressive to see a woman gaining a significant amount of power than a white heterosexual man. In a way women’s accomplishments are more newsworthy. I am not saying men’s accomplishments are not newsworthy, but any significant accomplishment should have media coverage, no matter the gender. What was even more shocking to me was the treatment of women who have power or in a position that was previously considered to be male. I found the example of the treatment of Clare Short to be extremely frustrating. Because she attempted to remove the pictures of topless models from newspapers she was considered a “killjoy” and was only against it because she herself was envious of the women because she was unattractive. Everything about this disgusts me. Clare Short was most likely attempting to remove the models from the newspapers because it was pornographic and objectifies women. Instead, the press assumed it was simply an issue regarding her self-consciousness. Why must everything regarding women revolve around appearances?
Note: I counted how many articles in the Times that were written by females today. Nine articles out of twenty-nine were written by females.
In regards to the second article, Bitches, Morons, and Skanks, Oh My by Jennifer Pozner, there is really SO much to discuss. I really could go on forever, but the bottom line is that reality TV depicts an image of women that is simply not accurate. Women can be catty, bitchy, and dramatic, but so can MEN, so can everyone! The reality is that reality TV is not reality, it is the extreme version, and it socialized people into thinking all women are the same, conniving bitches that can never be trusted. I know very very few women that act the way women on reality TV act. The most interesting part of the article was one of the notes at the bottom of the page 107 that mentions Angelina Jolie breaking off the marriage of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston and how media always portrays the husband to be powerless to the seductress. BLAME THE MAN. He was the one who cheated. I absolutely hate this; it’s another pet peeve of mine. I absolutely hate it when girls find out their boyfriends are cheating on them and then they directly blame the girl he cheated on with. She probably didn’t even know he was taken realistically, because why would he tell her!? By girls blaming girls for betrayal, this creates a slut-shaming society where the boy is never reprimanded for his actions.