I thought I would begin my first post explaining why I am going to be talking about portrayals of young women in the media. Firstly, I consider myself a feminist and in my personal life and with the limited influence I do have in this world I attempt to change and challenge stereotypes and perpetuations of ideologies that are damaging to women. I personally make an effort to include many people in discussions of gender. I reject most traditional gender roles, and also advocate for any causes that are concerned with breaking down those barriers and promote inclusivity rather than exclusivity. Secondly, because of these beliefs and new ways of learning and analyzing media I am introduced to, I have begun to notice patterns within the media I am consuming. As a 25-year-old who readily embraces her millennial status, I am constantly immersed in different forms of media. I watch entirely too much television, I have a deep love for movies, I watch YouTube vloggers on a regular basis, I read for fun constantly when I am not in school, and I enjoy fun music constantly.
In our world where these types of engagement with media is unavoidable, I find it nearly impossible to not notice how many of the ways young women are portrayed are problematic. This is why these images are important to me. I believe that in order to change the way we think about issues that affect women we have to infiltrate popular media and dissect the images we see. Where I am most interested and where I think it is most important to begin these discussions, is in the way young women are portrayed, and how they are spoken about in media. In these blog posts I will be discussing many issues and also achievements made in terms of representations of young women in different formats that I interact with on a daily basis. My hope is to introduce and begin discussions that will help us question what we are being sold, and demand more of the media in which we consume. Anyway, here is what I hope is an introduction to the way I think about social issues while interacting with different types of media!
First let’s start by broadly discussing a few ways that women/young women, many times teenagers, are talked about and what I think the consequences of these attitudes are. As a person who watches television religiously, I consistently am shown images of interesting, complex, and messy people. However, most of the time they are male (House, Walter White, Luther, Sam and Dean Winchester, Sherlock, literally every male character in existence probably). What I find sparser in the media, are examples of female characters that have the same depth. Additionally, when we do get these characters they are often vilified (Skyler White is one of the worst cases of this, I believe. Esquire has a very interesting article about her.). I find that from a personal standpoint, having a reasonable and intelligent discussion about television can prove extremely difficult. I, as an English major, enjoy dissecting things. I watch things and part of the way I enjoy them is to analyze them. However, I also know that many people passively receive their media which is also a totally valid way to interact with it. I personally in my perusing of articles and discussions, cannot ignore the continuous hatred of young women on television (and elsewhere).