Van Zoonen first examines the feminist critiques on communication studies through Harding’s The Science Question in Feminism (1987). She explores how feminist scholars have criticized science. Her first critique sparked a special interest in me because I am currently studying in the scientific field of biology. Harding has found that women are underrepresented in higher education and as scientists. She also states that women experience formal and informal discrimination which prevents them from excelling in the academic world. This observation has been seen in studies throughout the world and seems to remain consistent regardless of the high number of female students. The majority of my classes at Denison have been in the science departments and similar to this Harding’s findings, female students outnumbered male students. However, the majority of my professors in the sciences have been female, which leads me to believe that since this book has been published women have established themselves in the academic world. They are even proving that women can have a life in the professional academic world and can have a home life with children.
As I continued reading, I found the section on Stereotyping and socialization interesting, especially where van Zoonen was describing how media restricts and endangers the development of young girls into socially valuable workers. Women are often found portraying stereotypical roles as a housewife, or they aren’t shown at all. I agree with van Zoonen’s statement; however, today there are many shows that are showing smart and strong independent women with successful careers and a family. While it may not be the perfect example, but Greys Anatomy shows female doctors have a successful career in the medical field while also having a family.
I found the section on pornography very accurate. These pornographic representations teach men that women are objects instead of a person with feelings and a soul. Van Zoonen explains that camera views allow men to dehumanize the women involved in the pornography. While it has yet to be proven, I do believe that pornography supports the dehumanization and violence towards women. However, pornography will continue to be produced until there is no longer a demand for it.