As far as I can remember, I always loved all kind of media. It started with my grand mother’s magazine, when I was staying over to her place for vacations.
She had tons everywhere in her house, and I could seat hours going through them, cutting out nice pictures, recipes, fashion pages…When I was 8 or 9, I asked for a radio in my bedroom, that I could listen to my own music. When we first had internet in my house, I was so curious about it, even thought it was a mystery world for me! Later, in my teenage years, I could spend hours reading, watching, communicating with people around the world on my computer. This mystery world appeared to be a magical world, where everybody could have a voice and the entry was (mostly) free from stereotypes and bias. And I also remember all those times that I have been confronted to contents that were either not adapt to my age, that were trying to convince me that I was doing things wrong, that I was looking wrong, that were basically telling me what to be and how to be in order to be the best of for the society. And so while I was trying to grow up as a mentally and physically healthy woman, I was oppressed, stereotyped because of my weight by my family, my peers, but also all the media contents that I was encountering. The thing is this brainwash to be “beach body ready” never really worked on me, quite the reverse happen. I started to feel anger and revolt and a need for change. I have always been proud of myself, but since I never had any figure in the media to be inspire by, as only women that were looking really differently than me were presented to me, I felt for a long time that I should not be proud, that assuming myself was not ok because according to everybody around me, I was suppose to change.
So this is what brought me to do this creative project. I want to raise consciousness about the lack of gender diversity in the media. Women are misrepresented, and if they are so, it is in addition with stereotypes, objectification, and narrow or unrealistic representation. Overtime, this has lead to the accumulations of negative effects on girls and women’s life that people are not enough aware of. Today, women are calling for change and building resistance. To work toward equality, we need to offer alternative to values convey by popular culture and commercial media. I will contribute to the development of the counter narrative by opening an Instagram account in which I will be posting portray of inspiring women around me and to me, to offer new voices to stories that make up our society.
Women represent half of the population of the world, and yet they are still being marginalized by the media. Seldom featured as a narrator of their own experience or as an authoritative source (SOURCE turquoise), women only make up 24% of the subjects quoted in new stories, 20% of the experts featured, and not even 15% of the sources on politic or economic subjects (SOURCE PINK). This disparity gives a distorted portrayal of women and girls but also of the gender role, contributing to a broad range of social problems. According to Megan Kamerick in her Ted Talk Women Should Represented Women in Media, “The problem is, of course, there aren’t enough women is newsroom. They reported just 37% of stories in print, TV, and radio.
Even in stories on gender-based violence, men get an overwhelming majority of print space and air time.” (SOURCE TED TALK). Indeed, often the coverage of violence against women lack context and tend to blame the victims by devaluating their lives.
So if the creation, production and control of media is in the hands of only one masculine group, how can women (and other minorities) have control over their media portrayal?