Friday, February 3, 2012

Women: Powerful or Pathetic?

          Upon examining content analysis, this quantitative form of collecting data has been particularly useful in regulating how men and women are portrayed within the media and to document the narrow and restrictive range of stereotypes used to depict both sexes. Content analysis constructs a coding scheme to decide how to analyze a specific text and allow the researcher to effectively compare multiple texts to one another. This form of research was employed within the YouTube video sensation, “The Bechdel Test.” Within the clip (shown during class), the main woman narrating the video explains that though it may appear women are gaining more equal roles in television shows and films, they are still either underrepresented or represented as passive, dependent, and/or over sexualized objects. She is analyzing the content of popular media texts and grading based upon how they measure to her coding scheme. She states that the text must (1) have at least two women in it, who (2) talk to each other about (3) something besides a man. She concludes that allow the media has begun to include more women in general, females are still being demeaned based upon how their characters are portrayed.

        This video is an accurate depiction of content analysis theory because the narrator has studied texts based upon her coding system and drawn conclusions from the data collected. It appears male characters are still overrepresented and are often portrayed in a diverse array of roles and with various characteristics. In comparison, women are shown in a variety of roles and behaviors in the media, yet the trend of underrepresentation of female major and minor characters still persists. 

Below, I have attached a comic strip I found that can be viewed as another example of “The Bechdel Test.” These two women are depicted as having not seen each other in a significant amount of time, but within minutes, they turn the conversation to their love lives.

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