The mighty United States: known for liberty and justice for all. Yet behind the façade of equality, a kind of slavery still reigns supreme: the bondage of women that is touted on TV screens and billboards all across the nation.
In the history of the world, women have been misrepresented, put down, trivialized and seen as objects rather than human beings. Though women’s movements and the changing of the times has brought more equality to women, the disastrous effects of sexualization are still prevalent today. The chains around women may have become weaker, but its grip is still fatally tight.
A documentary called “Miss Representation” was made by an actress named Jennifer Siebel Newsom, who saw the deep-rooted sexism in the culture and found herself frustrated with it.
In the film, various people from women in positions of leadership to young girls talk about the impact of sexism.
One of the biggest culprits of this sexism is the media. Because most huge media corporations are run by men, the messages spread through the reaches of power are messages that men want to promote, with their ultimate goal being to get more money. And as everyone knows, sex sells.
The extreme physical focus on women is preposterous. Women in the public spotlight are criticized for every aspect of their bodies – even when they are not porn stars.
Even when they are women like Hillary Clinton or Sarah Palin – women who were trying to make history, but whose efforts were blatantly ignored because the media couldn’t get past their physical appearance.
It’s an absurd obsession. In the world of Photoshop, anything is possible, creating deceptive standards that the models themselves could have never reached.
So instead, women submit themselves to plastic surgery and Botox, starvation and extreme exercise. The media, run almost entirely by men, has set the standard and women must comply to it in any way possible. The fact that men are never criticized by their appearance, and if they are, it’s not where near the brutal slam against women.
When women try to get into positions of power, people are often surprised. In our culture, men are considered to be the only option for positions of power. The more power women gain, the more criticized they get.
Empowered women seem to threaten men. They are seen as a challenge to men rather than them gaining something for themselves. There’s nothing wrong with women being in leadership. They can do just as good of a job as men can. But this deep gender bias that goes all the way back to the beginning of time is still rooted in people’s minds today. Women are practically treated as second-class citizens.
The media has not been held accountable by political leaders. Despite many studies on negative media effects, no changes have been made. No policies have been enforced. The effects of not only media gender bias, but also of media violence have been allowed to run rampant with no ramification. This has led to astronomically disastrous results.
There has to be a way to avoid these damaging effects. This kind of slavery cannot be allowed to continue. Women should be free to make their own choices and not feel the pressure to attain the impossible.
This destructive power is enough to kill a nation. This nation that has fought so hard for freedom is holding back the very people who could change the world, if only they were allowed to do so.