This week’s readings discuss issues of females in the media especially their positive or negatives stereotypes, images and connotations. The van Zoonen reading states that “It seems indisputable that many aspects of women’s lives and experiences are not properly reflected by the media. Many more women work than the media suggests, very few women resemble the ‘femme fatales’ of movies and TV series, and women’s desires extend far beyond the hearth and home of traditional women’s magazines. The feminist calls for more realistic images of women and definitions of femininity may therefore seem entirely legitimate. In fact, they are problematic” (pg 48). Do you agree with van Zoonen? Do you think that the portrayal of women in media is accurate?
To break down the subject even more, I would like to examine current reality TV and the roles of women in that genre today. Since the popularity of reality TV has grown over the past few years clearly many women are depicted. With shows ranging from “Dancing With the Stars” to “The Desperate Housewives of Orange County/New York City” to even “A Shot of Love with Tila Tequila”, do you think that women in these shows are portrayed positively or negatively? Do you think reality TV has helped or hurt women?
Consider the characters of many of these shows. You can look at the strong females such as Stephanie Izard, the winner from “Top Chef”, or Parvati Shallow, one of the many “Survivor” female winners. But then look at characters such as Gretchen from the “Desperate Housewives of O.C” and how the season’s biggest drama focused around the debate of whether she was money hungry, or truly in love, with her fiancé. What about the recent public “dumping” of Melissa Rycroft by bachelor Jason Mesnick? Check out this article by Erin Carlson of the Associated Press recapping the major reunion show events as well as the public opinion of the situation.
How do you think situations such as these that are publicly shown and exploited mediate the image of women in today’s society? And do you think seeing Melissa turn around and become a competitor on “Dancing with the Stars” has any impact on how she has represented herself as a women in society?
Robinson wrote that “The gender politics represented in Aguilera’s music video then are not irrelevant or inconsequential; rather they contribute to the larger discourse of cultural hegemony” (p 46). Through her writing and this quote we can clearly see that Robinson sees that gender and the debate around their image is unfairly portrayed through today’s music. Do you think the same applies for reality television?