Women in the Media: Breaking Stereotypes
Today’s digital takeover has officially deemed every woman as a woman in media. As both consumers and producers, women take equal responsibility in fueling the public’s unsavory societal headspace.
As an advertising major, I took a particular interest in our media savvy panelists views on the negative permeation of body image passed through each incoming generation. Two panelists, Marianne Schnall and Lesley Jane Seymour, spoke rather bluntly about the limitations brought on by sexist ageism in their lines of work. Their words, accompanied by raw confidence, encouraged women to embrace her body no matter what age she is.
Sometimes self-love is self-taught. Each woman acknowledged the impossible standard to be the perfect model, working woman, fitness guru, mother, teacher, wife, etc. etc. the list goes on and on. Refreshingly though, each woman debunked this ideal in her own way. Take time for yourself; go at a pace where you know you perform your best, and support other women by recognizing the mirage that is perfection. In order to dissipate stereotypes, women must prove that stereotypes are outliers and not the norm. One way we can accomplish this is by speaking our truths, being vulnerable and honest is a powerful way to change the narrative.
Social media is, as one of the panelist mentioned, “creating a movie of what our lives are not.” It shows young women what they should “strive for” externally, while neglecting the often more difficult journey of finding love and peace internally. As a young and slender rising freshman, I was slightly underweight. However, after my first year in college, I gained a couple pounds, still at a healthy weight but the thought that I gained it scared me, as it does many women. What we must realize, beyond the need to diversify and create a counter narrative in the media, is that the larger goal of what we should strive for is not, as the media exclaims it, perfection but happiness within ourselves.
While the media and social media specifically, can do tremendous harm, it also has the power to do tremendous good. All of us have fallen into the trap of trying to create the perfect image of ourselves; one that is successful amongst a laundry list of other near perfect qualities. We all have the power to diversify the media we consume by producing a more honest image of success. We all have the power to shatter the mirage of perfection by admitting what we know is true: success is coupled with failure, happiness with sadness, triumphs with tribulations. Although it can be scary, publish both aspects of your life. Once you begin to be honest with yourself, the rest is easy.
Danika, Jamie & Sandra