Mainstream media a bunch of twerks

The Southerner


Is the mainstream media unfairly portraying women?


Miley Cyrus’s butt. That is the image that comes to mind when we think of women in the news recently. Before that, we thought of the naked models in Robin Thicke’s Blurred Lines music video. Very few people think about the Saudi Arabian women working to remove the driving ban placed upon them. In the media, we choose to portray women who fail to meet certain standards or who are sexualized for attention instead of those who are working to advance the rights of women and bring down unjust treatment. When we focus more on the failures of women rather than their successes we are not doing justice to all of their hard work, and we choose to let what is wrong become more important than what is right.

The craze following the 2013 Video Music Awards has overshadowed more important news; in Saudi Arabia women have been putting a campaign into action to remove the ban on women being able to drive. A cleric tried to counter this by asserting he had found evidence that driving negatively affected the women’s pelvises and ovaries. In response to his statement, the hashtag #WomensDrivingAffectsOvariesAndPelvises was created to point out the ridiculousness of this sentiment. More than 10,000 women have signed a petition to promote the idea that there is no clear justification for this religious edict. While these actions are heroic, the media coverage of them has been slight. Sadly, more people seemed focused on the physics of Miley’s twerking and grinding than on the mistreatment of women in Saudi Arabia.

Even before the VMAs, Blurred Lines swept the nation, causing a rise in some people’s pants and outcry against the sexualization of women by men. Robin Thicke showed his opinion of women through his song, and though it is empowering for women to take control of their sexuality, it is distasteful for their sexuality to be the only thing given importance. No matter how much artistic vision or liberties you attribute to the video, naked women slinking around men in suits gives a pretty clear message. In response, a group of women, the Law Revue Girls, created a parody called “Defined Lines,” reversing the genders of the original video and stating their opinions of how men view them. The backlash was enormous; scores of men commented how the women who created the video were just as bad as Thicke for showing scantily clad men fawning over women, though those kinds of comments on the original video were often ignored.

Focusing on the failures of women is much easier to sell. It’s much more fun to gossip about someone’s mistakes rather than their accomplishments. We make it seem that shining a spotlight on the women working against what their predecessors have worked for is better than dismissing it for what it is: the misguided actions of a few. Even when women speak up for themselves in regard to these situations, there are countless responses stating how they are overreacting and beating a dead horse. It may seem feminist to allow it to keep happening as if we were above it, but we are obviously not. We love to show how women shouldn’t behave nowadays, and though it is important to make these stereotypes less glamorous, it is more important to show what women are doing to stop this treatment.

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