Femininity In The Mass Media: Redressing The Balance and Redefining The Image of Women
Female representation in the mass media has been anything but balanced. The quantity and quality of information carried by the media about women leaves much to be desired. Stories about women make headlines when they are portrayed in a negative light - the suffering, helpless and deprived women, the criminally minded women or the women of easy virtue. The few women who attract some measure of positive attention from the media are the wives of the rich and powerful or political office holders. The media also present different female stereotype images, particularly In advertisements and drama presentations. The house-proud housewives, the alluring sex objects, the incompetent career women or the fashion/ beauty crazy "freak" are some of the images. These limit female role models presented to the society and, thus, can delude the women into believing that the most they could achieve in life is becoming like one of those images. Women are not only marqinalized in media content but also in media hierarchy and administration. Female journalists are denied certain assignments and positions just because they are "women". This paper, therefore, highlights these imbalances, questions the rationale behind the action of the media in this direction and reminds the media of their disregard for balance, fairness and objectivity in their coverage, hence the call for a redress and a redefinition of female portrayal in the mass media.