Reality Bites Back Through Media

Karen  Dayanna Cardona

            While reading, What Reality TV Teaches Us about Women, I came across the idea that “…media is largely responsible for how we know what we know. In other, media shape what we think of as “the truth” about “the way things are”…” (pg. 97). I never truly stopped to analyze how much the media affected my way of thinking regarding the way I analyzed gender. I remember seeing hip-hop music videos and thinking that the only ways to get noticed by man was if one had long hair, a big butt , and big breast and once these ‘qualities were obtained then one was able to flaunt these. I used to wear several amount of layers under my jeans to give off the illusion of having a big butt and in hopes that I could look like a video girl. I would be upset that my mother would not allow me to wear make up at the age of 12 like the rest of the girls in my classroom. I began to envy girls for their beauty , I also began to feel bitter and sad not realizing I was causing the same effect upon other girls.

We began to argue and hate one another for each other’s looks instead of working together and empowering one another. I always got these ideas from social media. At the time the biggest social media around was ‘Myspace’ here there would be photo contest in which they would place a picture comparing both girls to see which one was more beauty depending on the comments that she got on her favor. The self-esteem of girls was completely flushed down by these comment, this often lead to the bullying of kids for not being ‘pretty enough’. The hatred between girls is something that starts off at a very young age and continues throughout their growing up.  In the reading What Reality TV Teaches Us about Women, “TV lays groundwork of jealous and insecurity by telling women that they can never physically measure up to an endless parade of younger, skinnier, sexier feminine rivals, producers are better able to convince women and girls that every other female is their natural adversary” (pg.98). The idea of women being against one another instead of coming together seems to be the principal point that media tries to obtain. The idea of ‘divide and conquer’ is the basic strategy, you get women to compete instead of uniting to create an internalized oppression against one another.

In the other reading Gender and the Media, Rosalind Gill I find it extremely interesting the way in which Gill is able to create a space to demonstrate how little time women get in the media when it comes to them having important positions such as in politics or in news. This a very interesting contrast since women are often blasted all over the media when it comes to advertising them in little to no close, when it comes to objectifying them and placing them in powerless position. Women begin to get all the spotlight in the media when it comes to them flashing their bodies and becoming sexual objects. They are able to create shows such as America’s Next Top Model, Kittens VS Cougars, and The Bachelor are all shows that give America the chance to see a group women down grade themselves in an attempt to prove to the male society how much of a ‘better woman’ they are. At the end of the day no matter how hard and horrible and downgrading of these women really is they are still bombarded with critique such as women, being too young, too old, too fat, too fat, too skinny, too much make make-up, not enough. It is never enough. It is time for women to come together and empower one another because if not we become our own oppressors. 

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One thought on “Reality Bites Back Through Media

  1. I think that we can all relate to Karen’s comment about wanting to look like “music video girls.” In middle school I remember feeling completely intimidated, overwhelmed, and in awe of the girls in my class. I was a gangly, flat-chested 8th grader dressed in patagonias and adidas soccer shorts. Most of the girls in my class came to school dressed in tight abercrombie t-shirts and multiple bras in an attempt to look like the girls and women they saw everyday in on the tv and in music videos. Looking back it’s sad that we all felt such enormous pressure to live up to these images in the media. All of these girls gave up comfort in an effort to achieve the “right look” and left everyone else feeling completely inferior.

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