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Women account for about 51% of our population, so why is it that we are consistently dehumanized (Miss Representation)? Women are pressured to live up to the expectations of the media. Tall and skinny with the perfect, clear skin and long, straight hair is being set as the ideal for girls and women around the country. With almost eleven hours a day of media a day, teens are constantly surrounded by what they should be and what the expectations are. A growing number of women, about 65%, have an eating disorder and an astonishing 17% of teen girls partake in self-harm behaviours (Miss Representation). It is a sad truth that this is what it has come to in our country. The movie, Miss Representation, is a documentary that shows how mainstream media influences the dehumanizing of women in many ways that I viewed after this project was assigned. Advertisements, films, social media, the news, and everyday people help to support director, Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s’, claim that it is difficult to make the average women see herself as a powerful individual.
When you think of advertisements you may think of television commercials. A commercial is created by a company or organization in order to promote a product or to relay a message. 60% of high school students spend about 20 hours a week in front of a screen, either the computer or a television (American Heart Association). In these hours, the students may be watching television shows and have the commercial breaks. During these commercial breaks, a student may see anything from Bounty Paper Towels to a stripper hotline. In one of every ten television shows, sexual intercourse is shown or depicted. This rate has nearly doubled since the late 1900’s (Bongiorno, Bain, & Haslam, 2013). With only 16% of the protagonist in films, Women are shown as the ones who chase after the man and may lose a few friends in the process (Miss Representation). As seen in many movies, when females are depicted as the protagonist they usually have sexually revealing clothing on, such as Superwoman. This is objecting women by using them as a sex appeal. The increase of sexual intercourse in films is said to have greatly increased the over 20% of teens having sexual intercourse before 14 (Morris, Goldenberg, & Boyd, 2018).
As I remember, when I was 14 I was still riding my bike around town with my friends and didn’t have any sexual desire. The images being shown in films has been setting a new standard for teens. With only half of the sexual intercourse being shown online and based off of a relationship, Teenagers are learning that one night stands are a normal thing and that it is okay to meet and have sex with them in the same night, about 10% involve this (Morris, Goldenberg, & Boyd, 2018). The idea of women putting themselves out there more than one is shown greatly in social media. Social media can be a blessing and a curse. You can either be gorgeous and have a line of men complimenting you or have a few flaws and being picked on because of them.
The average person has at least one form of social media and spends at least one hour a day on it. This allows time for those to hate on others based off of something they may not know the story of. When Hillary Clinton was running for President in 2016 you did not see much on social media about her plan for action and rather the drama between her husband cheating and her pantsuits (Miss Representation). This presidential election became more of a high school popularity war. Women are also usually shown on social media wearing a little less clothing. This is seen on the news; the women reporters are usually dressed in a low cut shirt, a lot of makeup, and perfect hair. The news reporters are then drawing the attention away from the news article and then on to something new. This was seen greatly in Sarah Palin’s run where she was very conservative but still received messages saying that men were masturbating to her (Miss Representation). Not only on the news but in every day Cisneros do you see women being objectified. The United States has never had a female president unlike the 67 other leaders worldwide. There have also been only 34 women governors, but 2319 men (Miss Representation). The United States looks down upon women and sexualizes them greatly. In everyday jobs, most of the CEO’s and higher level employees are men. Men are looking to be more intelligent and stronger than women when women sometimes may have better credentials.
The United States is the only country to not offer paid family leave which is another reason that females are put down upon daily (Bongiorno, Bain, & Haslam, 2013). Most employers are not going to hire a middle-aged woman because they are in their “baby-making time” and may need to leave work for their family. Women also see it in aspects of sexual harassment. From a young age, females are taught on how not to get rapped but the males are not taught on how not to rape someone. It brings awareness on one side of the problem but not the side that is usually causing it. The claim that it is harder to make for a woman feel empowered is very true as proven in this essay. However, the counterclaim that women have equal rights and just as much power man is true but in reality that is not how women are treated. Most women are looked down upon as sex toys and not as intelligent human beings which is shocking since each person should have equal rights. Advertisements, films, social media, the news, and everyday people are supporting evidence to this claim. If not stopped soon, teenagers are going to continue to beat on themselves and the suicide rate will increase even more.
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