In November’s ‘Local Report”, Sarah Britten looks at the objectification of women in media and especially advertising. Despite some gender role changes in our society, advertisers continue to perpetuate gender stereotypes, depicting women as props and sexual objects.
Unfortunately, it isn’t only in advertising that women are reduced to their bodies and appearances. In the 2011 Sundance documentary “Miss Representation”, writer and director Jennifer Siebel starts a conversation around how women are perceived by all media forms and how this has led to how female leaders and figures of authority are demeaned in the United States.
Rather than focusing on the capabilities and intellect of figures such as Hilary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice, the media instead attach value to their image and sexuality. The effects of this are far-reaching, with young girls and women especially bearing the brunt by becoming less ambitious and attempting to conform to media stereotypes.
With the added perspectives of politicians, journalists, activists and entertainers, “Miss Representation” challenges these limited images. While Britten’s piece analyses advertising in South Africa, the concept of “Miss Representation” raises the question of just how powerful media messages can be; capable of infiltrating not just our screens and magazines but also institutions of power.
Chisanga Mukuka, CT intern