Every year, little steps are taken to help empower women in the media. 2013 was a year of many steps and reasons to celebrate how far women have come. On the other hand though, there were many occurrences that would lead people to believe that maybe there isn’t really much to celebrate at all.
Let me start off with a few positive things from 2013. Gravity and Catching Fire, both movies with leading female actresses, soar off the charts in box offices and break numerous records. Also, Orange is the New Black, a Netflix original series with a predominantly female cast, becomes a huge hit. Over at the Emmy Awards, Kerry Washington from “Scandal” was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, the first leading actress of color to be nominated since Cicely Tyson in 1995.One of the biggest steps forward for women in the media, in my opinion, was GoDaddy committing to change its sexist advertisements. GoDaddy is an Internet domain registrar and web
hosting company designed to help those forming small businesses. Why would gender and the objectification of women be involved in such a company where it seems to have no place at all? I, along with many others, have wondered that for a long time. Imagine being a young woman using this website to create your own business and in the process, seeing an advertisement of a naked woman with the words “get noticed” written across her chest (pictured right). I bet that it would cause you to second guess yourself and your potential. “Are good looks the only way to get noticed in the business world? Am I even pretty enough to run a successful company?” Fortunately for women, GoDaddy agreed that something about these degrading advertisements needed to be changed.
It’s hard to think of the bad when so many good steps were being taken. But unfortunately the bad outweighed the good in 2013. Many companies released advertisements that were more sexist than ever. Companies included were Carl’s Jr., Fiat, Ford, and Radio Shack. All of these ads featured women in tight little clothing, although I’m sure the directors would have made them naked if it was allowed. On top of that, Victoria’s Secret launched a campaign called “The Perfect Body”, which was made to promote their”Body” bra, a bra designed for comfort. This advertisement was supposed to be about diversity but instead every woman pictured was just as “model thin” as the next. This created conflict as the critics called out Victoria’s Secret for openly body shaming those who did not look like the models in the ad.
It was also apparent that women can’t be mentioned in sports without somehow relating the conversation to their looks as opposed to their talent. An article was published for Daily News with the title “CBS Houston blogger: Is this NBA cheerleader ‘too chunky’?”. Another article was published titled “BBC presenter on tennis champion Marion Bartoli: She is ‘never going to be a looker'”. It’s disappointing that an athlete’s talent would get undermined by their physical appearance just because of their gender.
When more than half the media coverage you see today still portrays women as sexualized and submissive objects, it makes you wonder: Has the fight for equal rights across both genders been for nothing?