The Media’s Obsession with the ‘Every Woman’

The Media’s Obsession with the ‘Every Woman’

Since the dawn of Sex & the City in 1998, to the rise of Girls in 2012, the media seems to have taken the middle class white female professional and turned her in to an example of every modern woman’s lifestyle. Carrie Bradshaw became the pin-up for the working city girl, and once again the


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Since the dawn of Sex & the City in 1998, to the rise of Girls in 2012, the media seems to have taken the middle class white female professional and turned her in to an example of every modern woman’s lifestyle. Carrie Bradshaw became the pin-up for the working city girl, and once again the example of one woman’s literally non-existent life became generalised to the whole of the female Western population. Why is it still in this age, women are so underrepresented in TV and film that when a rarity comes around showing complex female characters they have to become inspirations and examples for us all?

One can look at many examples of a male-revolved TV series or film in which they merely show an example of one particular example of an individual’s lifestyle. This is because in the eye’s of the media men are STILL seen as the majority and women the minority, and it’s clearly because the media industry is so saturated with men. It’s easy for some to simply say that we shouldn’t care about the TV and take the media spin on reality with a pinch of salt, but it is inevitable that the media has a lot of influence on society and societal gender roles. It is thus paramount we look at these issues of under-representation of women.

Moreover, when TV show, girls erupted on to the scene back in 2012, the media had a field day, with characters such as Hannah (Lena Dunham) exposing her ‘normal’ body, and the shocking concept of genuinely complex and not always likeable female characters. It clearly was a revolutionary concept to the generic right-wing press; Hannah (Dunham) for instance appeared naked on the show often, and whilst if a man appeared naked and had a technically ‘un-perfect’ physique nobody would bat an eyelid, for Dunham’s character this was front-page news. The media became obsessed with the unveiling of her ‘normal’ body on camera. Once again Hannah (Dunham) became the ‘every woman’, and many a journalist stated how she should have been ‘proud’ for helping women relate to the show via her size 12 body. Thus, once again women are continuously generalised and put in to one box: the ‘normal’ that consisted of one narrow-minded generalised view of women.

Girls was also criticised for having no racial minorities and consisting of only white people, in turn being fundamentally ‘racist’. This was another example of the media spreading their ‘every woman’ disease; one show about a group of friends became the ‘voice of a female generation’ thus had to show all diversities. In this age it is clear that women are so clearly under-represented in these contexts that they are generalised and put in to a box of all having the same life experiences. Of course this is not the case, women are the same as men in their span of experiences, so it is paramount that the media moves away from this pan-womanism and ‘every woman’ mentality that is destroying the female role in public life.

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Helena Kerr
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