Media influence is one of the most powerful economic and cultural forces today.
- Filed under "public policy"
- Published Friday, March 7, 2014
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Although we know that the media continues to over sexualize and under-intellectualize girls and women, we may think that finally, women and media are moving toward more parity. Not so, says TIME Magazine, which last month published a report noting 9 Depressing Facts from the Latest Women in Media Report. Here are the sobering facts:
- Even the highest-earning female movie star, Angelina Jolie, makes only as much as the lowest-paid male stars - Liam Neeson and Denzel Washington. It's tough to feel equality when Jolie's $33 million per film bumps up against Robert Downey Jr.'s $75 million per Iron Man movie.
- In the newsroom, female representation has only lessened since the 1990s - it was 36.9% of newscasters in 1999, and it's 36.3% today.
- Columnists are still primarily old white men - 4 times more male columnists than female in the 3 largest newspapers - and the median columnist age is 60.
- Women's speaking roles in 2012 movies was the lowest in any year since 2007 - only 28.4% in the top 100 films. On television, 43% of speaking parts are played by women, and of these women, 34.6% were Black, 33.9% were Latina, and 28.8% were white. Interestingly, Latina television characters were most likely to be depicted semi-nude.
- Of the 183 most popular sports talk radio hosts, only 2 were female.
- Last year, women were quoted in only 19% of newspaper articles including in The New York Times.
- Directors for the 500 top-grossing movies in the 5 year period 2007-2012, only 33 were Black, and only 2 of those were Black women. At the 2013 Sundance film festival, women directed half of the films competing, but less than 2% of the top-grossing movies.
- On all Sunday news talk shows (ABC, NBC, CBS, and FOX) combined, only 16% of guests are persons of color, and only 1 of 4 guests is female.
- Only 16% of all 2013 movie directors, writers, producers, executive producers, cinematographers, and editors were women - fewer than in 1998.
Media influence is one of the most powerful economic and cultural forces today, notes the Women's Media Center. And by deciding who gets to speak, write, and what is worth reporting, the media can shape how we understand, what is important, and what we can be. It has come to be a leading dictator of what have come to be 'cultural norms." Our work is to continue to teach girls what is true and correct, and how what we see on the screen isn't always what is real. Our work is to help adolescent girls understand that what they look like isn't what they are. We'll hear how the media has now caused girls as young as 6 to see themselves as sex objects, and girls as young as 3 and 4 to worry about 'getting fat" from our March 18 Chrysalis Conversations speaker, Dr. Gigi Durham, author of The Lolita Effect. Be sure to order your ticket today, and bring a friend. It's too important not to know. Learn more about the Women's Media Center's annual report, The Status of Women in the U.S. Media 2014.