News, Gender, and Journalism

Jihmmy N. Sanchez

The focus of Gender and the Media by Rosalind Gill focuses on the genderization of media, especially news and journalism. A study shows that women are very rarely portrayed in the media and whenever media representatives portray them with only two or three different roles as women; they are portrayed as the victims of an accident or event or seen behaving in stereotypical gender roles. Newspapers and television news has always been casted and written to feed the needs of men; most of the stories aired or written are about men, whether it be about politics, world news, or sports the central focus of modern day news is masculinity.  Whenever women are portrayed on the news they are always caught in a “double bind” situation. The article talks about when 120 women won parliamentary seats instead of being praised for the gender equality that should have been mentioned in the news; the report lacked focus on the accomplishment of the women, but rather focused on how the prime minister was surrounded by women. The title for the article which covered the issue of parliament also failed to mention the parliamentary seats awarded to women and focused on the prime minister being “In a sea of babes”, which not only draws all of the attention back to masculinity but also degrades the women involved because they are regarded as “babes” and not members of parliament which they are.

Journalism, which is another field of the news, is a career field that is often dominated by men. Recently Gill states that more than half of journalism students at universities are currently female students. Gill mentions that this increase in females in journalism has led to horizontal and vertical segregation both of which effect women negatively. Horizontal segregation deals with the quality of jobs based on gender, which puts women at the lower end of jobs including jobs for local broadcasters, small newspapers and magazines where as men often occupy higher positions with more prestigious newspapers, magazines and broadcast stations. Vertical segregation deals with the hierarchy of these jobs. Women tend to work jobs at the bottom of the hierarchy, and men typically tend to fill senior management positions. Gill also mentions that the lifestyle required for a journalist to be successful is typical male oriented. News stations are typically looking for people who are available literally 24/7 every day and can travel upon request, although this may sound fairly equal to both genders it is not. Senior execs. Are not typically looking for women who may become pregnant and may take maternity leave, Gill mentions that news stations do not want someone who they will have to pay to leave, which is illegal but is commonplace in the journalism industry.

Infotainment, which Gill mentions in the article as the new type of journalism or the new style of reporting the news focuses on what will bring in good ratings, rather than what is good news worthy of broadcast. This new modern style of journalism has had various impacts on sexism and how it covered in the news. Extremely sensitive stories like those of rape and sexual assault are being written and published next to or accompanied by sexually explicit pictures, which take away from the seriousness of the story.

The second article Reality Bites Back talks about the media especially primetime television has influenced and has lead many people to believe simply that sister-hood is dead. Cable television is filled with TV shows like ANTM and the Bachelor which are all very popular TV shows, these shows depict women as bratty, bitchy, and catty. This is simply not true, but because these depictions of women are everywhere, on TV, the radio, and on advertisements all people see if catty women. What most people don’t see is that most of this ‘drama’ that is portrayed on TV is mostly acting. These TV shows and all of the girl drama that is portrayed on these shows is for the most part initiated by the producers themselves with individual cast members.

TV shows also do not want to depict women as smart and intelligent people, but depict them as dumb, or “blonde like”. In the show ANTM one of the finalist of the reality TV show was booted by the host of the TV show Tyra Banks because her intelligence was intimidating to the fashion industry. Tyra Banks also mentions very often that the finalist was very beautiful and had the looks to be a model but that combined with her intelligence it would be intimidating to others in the fashion industry. They also depict women as ‘gold diggers” who want nothing to do with emotions, only money. TV stations do this simply because of the ratings and the money that is coming in because of how popular these shows are. The author mentions that now-a-days people are watching up to 30 hours of television in a week, which means they’re watching these popular reality TV shows that define femininity as unappealing and wild.

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One thought on “News, Gender, and Journalism

  1. Jimmy,

    I also was fascinated–and outraged!–at how women are portrayed as victims of sexual assault. Just look at the word, “Victim.” This word shapes the woman to be weak, to need to be pitied or sympathized, instead of directing our focus to the crux of the issue: the fact that this sexual assault even happened at all. It’s also sickening to think of these reports as “titillating or arousing”–that women who have gone through these traumatic experiences are defined for their looks as, say, a “sexy 21-year-old” or a “blonde beauty” (Gill, 135). Women are literally being defined as damsels in distress. Lastly, I’m very intrigued by Gill’s comment of rape being a “crime against humanity” in times of war, when women across the world are experiencing this same kind of attack every day and rarely is anything addressed (Gill, 136). It’s incredibly disturbing to realize that even crimes can be socially constructed to fit into our society’s norms.

    Emma Weisberg

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