Media Representations of Women
Images of women are produced in Madison Avenue advertising agencies and then refracted through the prism of media. Feel-good lines like, “You’ve come a long way baby,” and “Never underestimate the power of a woman,” mask the mixed messages which heighten feelings of inadequacy and undermine self-esteem. Young girls are particularly vulnerable and are specifically targeted. Impossible standards of beauty are constructed. You can have a career and all that, but unless you are thin as a supermodel with perfect skin, hair, eyes and thighs, you just haven’t made it. Media stereotypes abound from the unfulfilled professional, to the nurturing mother, to the scheming vixen. In recent years, feminists are breaking down conventional representations of women.
Recorded at the Taos Talking Picture Festival.
Susan Douglas, Kellogg Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Michigan, one of America’s foremost media critics, is prominent in the effort to break down conventional representations of women. Her articles appear in The Progressive, The Nation, Ms., and other publications. She is the author of Where the Girls Are: Growing Up Female with the Mass Media and Listening In: Radio & the American Imagination.