Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Are you there, feminism? It's us the media.

It's "impossible to agree on which images [are] positive." (p.34)
This statement could not be more true and it is one that stood out to me in this reading. It is rare for people to admit that their way is the wrong way, or the way they view the world is not the only way to view the world. When it comes to representations of females and femininity in the media, how do we know what's a good image and what's bad? Much like the disabled people who fight against being equals to abled people, women fight for their choice to say what a positive image of a woman looks like in the media. It comes down to individual beliefs. The media has tried to incorporate a positive image of a modern woman in multiple ways but the portrayal is always contested, even if it is labeled as "pro-feminist." The character of Chelsea in Are you there, Chelsea? plays the role of the lady who chills with the dudes. She maintains femininity and sex appeal but can stand her own ground and isn't afraid to say what she thinks. So basically women are being told that in order to be seen as equal to men, you have to flaunt your sex life. On the other end of the spectrum we see magazines that teach women how to balance work and home life, because the modern woman does both. And since apparently a spouse isn't in this picture... women are expected to be the bread-winners AND the care-takers. Now, how is that fair? While the media can attempt to be more and more conscious of female image, we can expect that someone somewhere will disagree with what a positive image of a woman truly is. This fact is extremely important when analyzing mediated gender studies because there is no ideal image. Every image has flaws, just like every human has flaws. Until we understand that it is truly impossible to agree on a positive image, we cannot move forward as a culture that eliminates sexism in media. Which leaves me with one question- is it possible to have actual feminist media?

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