Women’s portrayal in media, emancipatory or objectifying?

With much festivity and purple festoons, the international women’s day has just been observed. On this occasion, New Age Youth has spoken with students from various corner of the country about the media portrayal of women.

Do you think that the way in which women are represented in the media, film, and pop culture is an efficient way to lead towards a progressive society/culture?

Saam Hasan

Age 22

North South University

saamPop culture occupies a pivotal role in society. It is one of the major factors that determine how various elements and groups are portrayed. Owing to the widespread reach of pop culture and its associated media wings, it has significant influence how different aspects of a society are presented and hence the positive or negative outlook they are affixed with. Hence, with regards to women in media and pop culture, it is once more imperative which is managed with intricate owing to the enormous impact it has. In this regard, it has often been pointed out that any form of sexually or otherwise explicit content involving women, serves to promote a derogatory attitude towards women. However this is a narrative that requires more analysis to further clarify. First and foremost attitude towards an individual’s dignity is often inherent or shaped by early life experiences and education. Individuals who are prone to a narrow minded mindset that looks down on women are only triggered rather than influenced by use of women in an explicit context. It is a plausible presumption to suggest they would simply have found other avenues to trigger such view points. Secondly the use of explicit content is not always for the purpose of eye candy, in many cases it adds artistic value to the product and these cases it is utterly unfair to curb creative freedom under pressure of wrongful interpretations.

Kabery Sultana Jyotee

Age 22

Jahangirnagar University

KabereeMedia is important to our socio-cultural development. But representation of women in media becomes questionable sometimes. Most of the time media or film tries to focus on the external beauty of a woman even compromising with the story. Women are represented as mere consumer-products in the name of equal right. If we closely observe our commercials we can easily find that they continuously push us to use their products to become fairer, thinner or more sexually attractive. Media already set up an idol of beauty and those who cannot afford it feel inferior. They try to teach us that being beautiful is the most important thing for a girl’s life.  They depict women with patriarchal eyes.

But, it was expected to value a girl for her creativity, for her education, for her skill. Participation of both male and female is very important for our pathway to development. If we treat one of them as mere consumer of beauty product we will certainly lag behind.

Majedur Rahman Lalim

Age 24

North South University

lalimThe representation of women in media has changed a lot over the years and for the better if I may add. Television has given us female characters to look up to like the courageous Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games and the ever smart Hermione Granger from Harry Potter. Yet I don’t think letting media and pop culture shape the image of women is the right path towards building a progressive society because the percentage of distinct speaking female characters is not nearly enough compared to male characters.

In general, even today, women are portrayed on screen as the ones who are usually thin and beautiful, dependent and often incompetent and dumb. Media tells you that being dark is a disadvantage and you need to become fair to be successful in life. You are often presented with absurd body standards as a goal so that market sale of certain products increase. We as audience must be aware of what the media is trying to feed us and understand that they are doing it solely for the sake of profit so that we are careful about what to take in and what to ignore.

Sunanda Sarkar

Age 21

Rangpur Medical College

SunandaTo spread a message widely in a short time, the easiest way is media or film. Media is important to most of the people. So, media has great influence for a developed society and culture.

But the sad part is most of the media, film or pop culture is introducing our women such a way which is threatening to our society. The culture and tradition we can feel proud as a Bangali is diminishing day by day. The particular grooming and way of talking seen in media, women are nothing but simple imitation of western culture. It seems today’s young girls are competing with each other that who can perfectly follow this trend. Their goal of life is to keep pace with today’s fashion. Shall we let our cultures be lost like this?

Moreover, in TV serials and films, women characters are presented as more foxy and crafty which may lead our society to step back from prosperity. It supports the trash and derogative idea of many people that women are narrow minded.

A girl can do everything if she wants. Her personality, self-respect, developed mentality, skill of managing home and office — these virtues should be highlighted more. Thus a society can prosper in a right way. We should not forget that, girls have the quality to be the icon of a society.

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