I’m not a big fan of the media, or more pertinently the media’s treatment of women.
I used to be – I used to love magazines and tabloids like Jackie, Just 17 and More, you know the sorts.
The ones who told us how to be women, how we needed to behave and change ourselves in order to achieve that biggest life ambition…getting a boyfriend.
Once I realised that they were, essentially, filling our heads with unrealistic expectations and unattainable ideals I stopped reading such tripe.
Thigh gaps and post natal wash board stomachs.
Perfectly coiffed hair and whiter than white teeth.
Immaculate make up and designer clothes.
I realised that not only was the media providing us with an unrealistic idea of ‘every woman’ but they are also providing us with the ammunition to put one another down
Why it that?
Why, when we’re being fed the same ideal as EVERY other woman, do we both aspire to BE that woman but we also hate her?
It makes no sense, it’s a massive contradiction.
We are clever souls and decent people so why does it make us feel so negatively toward others?
Well, because we’re encouraged to feel that way.
In order for me to continue dear reader, I must make a confession.
My guilty pleasure is perusing tabloids online.
Not all the time and not for news, I know I’ll never find it within those pages.
Rather, if I have a bit of writer’s block I like to read some sensationalist journalism to get myself riled and the urge to write swiftly returns.
So, what’s my point?
I have, over time, realised that it’s the language used by the media to describe women that does this.
I have known for very many years that the language used is far from flattering BUT I’ve only just realised that the language used is done in such a way to make us feel negatively toward the person in question.
Words like ‘flaunt’, ‘display’, ‘flashes’ and ‘exhibits’ all, used in this context, give us ideas of premeditation and that she is somehow trying to make herself more desirable than us, the ‘normal’ folk.
Here are a few of my favourite headlines and what they actually mean.
Celebrity female flaunts her legs.
“Oh my gosh! Was this woman doing a Sharon Stone in the street?”
No, she just had legs that were there, doing their job and holding her up.
Celebrity female flashes her perky cleavage
Lady does indeed have breasts and they have not yet succumbed to gravity.
Celebrity female exhibits her toned abs
Woman is wearing a bikini, on the beach where it is not unheard of to wear bikinis.
Celebrity female flaunts baby bump
8 month pregnant lady carries her unborn child on the front of her body as that is where the bump goes.
Celebrity female hides baby bump
8 month pregnant lady carries her unborn child on the front of her body as that is where the bump goes; and wears a coat because it’s cold.
Celebrity female puts on a glamorous display
Woman wears a nice frock to a charity ball.
Celebrity female puts her figure on full display
Lady is at the beach, it’s terribly warm so she wears a swimsuit.
Celebrity female slips into slinky dress.
Woman is wearing a dress.
All of these headlines are designed to make us want to disregard these women as people with no other goal in life than to be overtly sexual and aim to lure men.
To give tabloids their due (yes, you read right) they don’t try to objectify everyone.
Celebrity female wears colourful coat
Woman is not showing any flesh BUT is super famous and we get a lot of money for pictures of her.
Celebrity male suits up for event
Man wears a suit.
Celebrity male sports a dapper suit
Gentleman wears a particularly smart suit.
Celebrity male looks sharp in suit
Man wears a suit.
When describing men there is a complete lack of negative language used. We are to admire how handsome he is rather than accuse him of flaunting his chest by not doing up his top button.
He is just FAB-U-LOUS.
In all seriousness though, how are women, more specifically young girls, meant to grow up having each others backs and supporting one another when half of the time we don’t realise that the language being used to describe women by such prominent outlets is subtly attempting to create a divide?
On top of that…
Not only do we have to make sure that our daughters don’t believe this is how we are to think of each other but we also have the additional battle in ensuring that our sons don’t fall for the same hype and end up with a firm belief that women are nothing more than fancy objects to entertain, appease and appeal to them.
It’s a tough job parenting against this stuff.
Ultimately, dear reader, the only reason these silly magazines and tabloids exist is because there is a demand.
There are people willing to overlook the language and buy into this bilge.
We allow it to be.
I’m not suggesting an uprising by any stretch…well maybe a small one.