Women bear burden of their own portrayal

The Southerner

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Is the mainstream media unfairly portraying women?

BY ISABEL OLSON

After the distasteful music video Blurred Lines and the horrific performance by Miley Cyrus at the 2013 Video Music Awards, it seems women are being viewed in a bad light. Many women are being looked down upon in today’s mainstream media, for their sexual portrayal, drugs or anything else with a negative connotation; however, there is no one to blame for their actions but themselves.

Miley Cyrus, along with her many unique backup dancers, put on a performance at the VMAs that was tasteless, but by no means shocking. It isn’t just Miley who is to blame. After all, Robin Thicke was involved in both the Blurred Lines video and the VMA performance. Unsurprisingly, it has been said that the VMA rehearsal for their piece was not the same as the actual performance, that Cyrus did some improvising. Even if this is the case and Thicke did not plan for a performance that went to that level, he still produced the music video with similar content. Nevertheless, it was Cyrus’s decision to play that role, and it ended up making her look bad because she was the one acting inappropriately. That is her fault alone.

I have never felt that women should be treated differently from men, but I also am passionate about women portraying themselves in a respectful manner. This, of course, should apply to men as well. Right now, the situation women face is how they are discriminated against throughout the world. The level of discrimination against women is less than it has been in the past, but it is still an unfortunate reality. Because this, it is the responsibility of women to do their best to uplift their image. Women should portray themselves with dignity and self-respect.

Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce may be cut-throat, that does not mean women or men should be rewarded for actions and parts that are shamelessely inappropriate. There are plenty of women in today’s media that portray healthy, empowering figures, such as Kelly Clarkson and Beyonce. It may be hard, but it is possible and respectable for women to act as role models. It is also incredibly dangerous, discrimination is still endemic, to assume that just because some performers try to push boundaries, that all women wish to do so. Women outside of show business and the relating careers are not associated with those committing the inappropriate acts, and should not be compared to them.

Just like Thicke’s video, the problem with feminism today is that the lines separating the stances have been blurred. I personally believe in the idea that women can take care of and take responsibility for themselves. Independence and accountability are the truest forms of feminism. Woman choosing to act in these negative ways must not only be held to their own actions, but also change the non- verse message they communicate when they perform. If young girls are consistently bombarded with heteronormative standards for women, at some point these standards become internalized. With this in mind, it is also important to remember that women not associated with the mainstream media’s coverage should not be compared to those who are. The cold truth is if women expect to get equal standings in this world, they must rise above expectations, especially if they are in the spotlight.

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