Saturday, April 9, 2011

Where are we?

Half our populations are girls and women… yet less than one quarter of them are in a position to make major decisions.” This statement by Barbara Weiner in the article Highlighting Girls in Youth Media applies to women in many ways but specifically in media. It’s disturbing. I honestly don’t think about it very much and that’s in part because of another point she makes that children are conditioned from adolescence even subconsciously by what they see in the media. We are consumers of media, portrayed in media but not directly responsible for it. So who does control it? Some of us don’t give one thought let alone a second thought to who is behind the stories we hear and how they are brought to us. One of the largest businesses in the world, “But only a handful of companies produce and own the majority of programming that Americans listen to and watch every day.” Women’s Media Center reports that women own 5% in television and 6% of radio stations in the United States

What is the problem with this? We have no power, we have no voice. As evidenced in a lot of mainstream news media, how women think is not very important to those in charge. We are not expected to even realize that there is something wrong with the picture we see in front of us. Furthermore women are not taken seriously when they are put in prominent positions. As the articles on Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer have illustrated we are going in the right direction but it’s a slow process. So much emphasis is still placed on superficial instead of the important issues. What our news anchors are wearing, how old

they are, etc are subject of discussion. News content is perhaps the greatest issue. Because it shapes our views and also our sense of self from a young age.

What do we do about it? We come up with alternatives. Womens Media Center, an organization founded and run by majority women is a small answer to a huge problem.

. WMC works to not only create an alternative to mainstream news that gets information that specifically pertains to women out there but it helps push women to become active leaders within the mainstream media. This is very important and what I find most positive about this group. Alternatives are short term answers. Getting US into positions of power in the long term creates opportunities for the next generation so children like 13 year old Leah from Youth Media are not discouraged to share their voice.

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