In the chapter, News, Gender, and Journalism, the author, Gill, discusses the nature of how the media is rapidly changing. Nowadays, people are more interested in “gossip” stories that promote superficial, irrelevant ideas rather than worldly news. Gill also discusses the role of women in the media. Whether they are newscasters or journalists, being a woman in this industry seems almost impossible.
One major concern with the current media trend is that people are uninterested in watching or reading important news stories. People would rather look through an article adorned with pictures, colors, and provocative headlines rather than an article on current events. Articles that discuss celebrity post-baby bodies are more intriguing to the population than political or international news. Gill points out a growing fear that news segments are being “dumbed down” in order to increase popularity among the nation. Broadcasters and writers seem to be conforming to what the people demand. In addition to shift of news coverage, the role of women is also an issue for this industry. Women news anchor are constantly in a double bind. They are either too fat or too thin; wear too much makeup or not enough, dress to provocatively or too manly. As Gill states it, women must be “one of the lads, but they are also required to deploy feminine wiles” (124). Women serve a certain purpose in the newsroom. They are not there to deliver top breaking stories, but rather they offer subtle commentaries or just eye candy for male viewers.
Pozner’s article discusses similar topics to what Gill discussed. However, Pozner examines the effects of how women are portrayed on reality TV rather than the news. One important idea that Pozner highlights is that reality TV female personas transcend into the lives of real women. All of the cat fights, back stabbing, and irrational emotional outbursts that we watch on TV are changing how society views women in the real world. Reality TV targets women as a source of entertainment. Whether it is poking fun at the intelligence, rationality, or competency, women are the source of entertainment for millions of viewers. For example, shows such as the Bachelor or ANTM put women in situations where they are competitors against one another. Therefore, this is where the bitchiness and backstabbing comes out. Just in the very nature of these shows, it asserts that women must be enemies with one another. Then, there are different types of reality shows that portray women as being just plain dumb. One example in this chapter is the reality show, The Newly Weds. This TV series documents different scenes of Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey’s marriage. However, the main source of entertainment was how incompetent Jessica Simpson was at being a housewife. The show will live on in infamy due to her chicken of the sea comment. These roles that women have are not empowering nor do they set good examples for positive female roles. The power of reality TV is stronger than what we think it is. The portrayal of women on these shows affects how we view women in everyday life. Boys can watch their favorite professional athlete on TV as a positive role model and emulate their behavior. However, girls should not aspire to be like Snooki from Jersey Shore or teenagers on 16 and Pregnant.
Both of these authors highlighted the realities of the female role in the media and on TV. It is obvious that women serve a much more inferior and unimportant role than men do on TV. The female voice is not heard through news broadcasting; yet it is extremely prominent on reality TV. Rather than having an important voice on social media, women seem to mostly serve as entertainment for the general public.