Clóda Scanlon, 21, Irish Fashion & Lifestyle Blogger, UCC Student, Cork City.

Thursday, 30 November 2017

The Portrayal of Women on TV & film

Hey everyone, today's blog post is very different to the kind of topics I usually cover. I will be talking a little bit about how women are represented and portrayed in the TV & film industry.
This is as part of a gender equality action project for a Sociology of Gender module which I take in college.

Many people chose to do surveys, posters, scrapbooks etc. but of course I am using the resource I have at my fingertips - my blog! 


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The topic which I chose to discuss was the portrayal of women in the TV & Film industry because it's one which really interests me. 
My whole inspiration behind choosing this topic was the eye-opening speech which Reese Witherspoon gave at the 2015 Glamour Woman of Year Awards. 
She talked about her own experience in the film industry and how in so many of the movies we watch that it is scripted for a woman to turn to a man asking, "What do we do now?" in a moment of crisis. This totally undermines women and their capability in real crisis situations. Seriously, give women more credit than to plug them all as being naïve and less adequate than men!
 It was only when Reese made that point that it made me realise just how badly and how unrealistic women are portrayed to be on-screen. In a lot of films written and directed by men, it seems there is such little regard for women!
Across all genres of films, we see too many examples of how women and girls are undermined - they are the "ditsy"/"stupid"/"blonde" stereotypical characters! Isn't it so wrong that this is the way female characters are portrayed in so many films. For any kids watching, instantly they believe women to be incapable of handling themselves in tough situations or that women are less smart or that they are just walkovers!
How in this day and age is this still a thing? Do writers think that this image is funny? Do they actually believe it to be true? How are Oscars and awards being handed to production companies and writers and directors who show a totally ridiculous image of women on-screen!
I never would have realised that this was the case if it wasn't for Reese's speech. As usual, these kinds of things are hidden messages in a storyline, but these messages carry through to society being unequal in terms of gender. Movies are not real-life, but if a lot of people (especially youth) think that what they see on TV is true, what expectations are being set??
I thought this was such an interesting topic because TV has such a huge impact on our daily behaviour from a young age. If we want there to be gender equality, shouldn’t it begin with the likes of TV and the content we absorb every day! There needs to be a change!

On the bright side, if you continue to watch Reese Witherspoon’s speech, she goes on to say how she fought for equality in the TV industry and decided that she had to be the change! She began her own production company called Pacific Standard Films with the aim to tell real stories about real women! The industry tried to shoot her down, they tried to convince her that she would fail and that there was no market for female-driven material!
In the first year of production they picked 2 bestselling books written by women, with strong/fascinating female characters at the centre of the story! These books were none other than the very popular Gone Girl and Wild. Those two films grossed to half a billion dollars worldwide in one year!
I mean... I think those stats just speak for themselves! Storylines about women which are real, honest, and an appropriate expectation of what women are actually capable of. No more of the silly undermining nonsense! This is the way TV needs to go to strive for better equality!


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Women On Italian TV

Image result for women in italian tv
We see the disgusting, crude objectification of women and girls on TV every single day - take music videos for example! They just seem to get raunchier and raunchier. It's like a competition of who can wear the least amount of clothes. About 20-30 women all worship one "alpha" male in these videos as if he is a God or as if they need to throw themselves at him. 
That is not real life .. why are they doing this??? 

Luckily enough in Ireland, women on our TV shows are treated respectfully for most parts. This is shockingly in contrast to the way women are presented on Italian TV.

Image result for corpo delle donne
The above image might appear to be very pornographic, but in fact this is a woman on a game show in Italy. She fetches things, and follows orders from the male hosts. Basically her job is to just stand there with as much of her body on show as possible. She is just a sexual object!
How disgusting is this???
How is there no law implemented on this kind of TV? The men are totally dominant in all of these shows. And if women are lucky enough to land a role as a host on a show, they usually have to have huge boobs and long legs, as well as a "perfect" face.
This has led to widespread plastic surgery amongst female TV hosts in Italy. I have never actually seen so many examples of hosts from country with huge silicone breasts, ridiculously fake lips and can barely crack smiles with the amount of work they have had done to their faces.
It's such a false and surreal world. Imagine being a young girl growing up in Italy, and every time you switch on the TV, girls are walking around in nothing but push-up bras and thongs, the news readers can barely crack a smile because their lips take up half their face etc...?
Or even worse, imagine a young boy growing up seeing this dehumanizing, "desirable" image of women! How could he ever treat all girls equally or know any different?
This vulnerability and exploitation of women on Italian TV must leave scars. It must affect their self esteem.
 It's just so so wrong that this is how Italian tv producers get their "hits" or "views".
Luckily with documentaries such as il Corpo Delle Donne they are starting to create awareness, but unfortunately for Italian women, equality on TV doesn't seem to be improving.

I wonder will things change. Will gender equality ever become a thing across TV & film worldwide. Well for now, awareness and taking a stand is the best option, so that's why I decided to write this blog.

I would love to hear your opinions!

Thanks for reading.

Clóda x
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