The media is a powerful tool that can make or break a person. That being said, men and women are both in the media often but do men get more coverage than women? Media coverage has been skewed for some time and though we may think that we are giving men and women equal coverage, the truth is men do tend to get more coverage for positive things than women do.
Why we See Men in the Media
A great way to approach this subject is to talk about why we see men in the news or in the media. A great deal of positions of power are filled by men, this is one reason that we see men in the news and in the media coverage more often than we see women. Men are lauded for every accomplishment that they make, a man is promoted to the CEO of a company, a man donates money to an organization, a man helps make a law, these are all reasons why we might see men in the main stream media.
In many cases, the news stories and media coverage of men that we see is overwhelmingly positive. An example that is very easy to understand is that of our current President. Though he does many things that are questionable, many media outlets chose to focus on the positive things that he does or attempt to give less coverage to the negative things that he may be doing. We can look at the 2016 election for an example of how women in the same position are portrayed. Hillary Clinton and Jill Stein were both in the running for the nomination and many media outlets decided to air all the negative press that they could find about these women rather than giving equal show to both the good and the bad.
Another way to look at this is in Hollywood as well. Looking at a sensational story that we have all heard about, the Kim Kardashian sex tape, we can see that though both parties were in the news for the tape, the coverage for them was dramatically different. Ray J was lauded and was not ostracized at all while Kim Kardashian was called every name in the book.
Similarly, in Hollywood we see far more press for men when it comes to their accomplishments than we do for women. Men in Hollywood are generally asked about their projects, about what they are doing, and are given every opportunity to talk about what they are doing rather than interviewers asking them what dress they are wearing.
Why we See Women in the Media
Women on the other hand are often portrayed as the weaker sex and news stories that involve women are often geared toward their personal lives or toward banal and often fluff pieces that are sensationalized for entertainment rather than for actual news content. A good example is again the 2016 presidential election. When Hillary Clinton went onto the stage to deliver her addresses, the content was not really about what she said but rather what she wore.
Women are always taking a side part to men and when they are in the news together they are often downplayed as well. First Lady Melania Trump is often reduced to a description of her outfit or what accessories she was wearing instead of anything else. Many of the stories that we see about women in the media are focused not on their accomplishments but rather on what they are wearing, who they have dated, and whether or not they are going to get married in the near future. Many people may not know that women in Saudi Arabia have not been legally allowed to drive. This week, the ban was lifted and women were given the right to drive. Odds are not many people heard about it because they were too caught up in the Kylie Jenner pregnancy announcement that is making its way around the web.
The disparity of positive and empowering portrayals of women in the media is staggering and many people do not even realize it. Until 1976, yes that recently, there had never been a female co-anchor on a major news evening broadcast. Barbara Walters was the first and she has since done all that she can to further women in the news. Women on news channels before then were often relegated to the part of weather girl or showcase model and were not really given the chance.
Why are Women Left Out?
A great way to see the disparity for yourself is to take the time to do a quick internet search of the current news for the day. Odds are, the news feed will be dominated by men with one or two token stories geared toward women that are focused on much less important news. The news this week is focused on Donald Trump, male sports players protesting the National Anthem ( no mention of the female players that are also protesting), Boeing UK and their male leaders, Donald Trump Claiming Facebook is anti-Trump and two lowly stories about women. One is about Chelsea Handler and her failed Netflix show and one is about women getting the right to drive in Saudi Arabia, don’t be fooled however, that story is more focused on the men that gave women that right.
So why are women often left out of media coverage? Many studies have found that the reason is that men have traditionally been the ones in power and in positons of power so they are often covered more fully in news than women. They are not necessarily more important, it is just what we have become used to in the past few decades. Some news channels and productions however are working to change that.
It was found that news and media coverage that was produced by “liberal” stations is more female oriented than those stations that label themselves as right wing or conservative. Until the norms that we have come to accept are changed, there is no way that women are ever going to get the same coverage that men get. In most cases, female coverage is based on things that are simply not news worthy.
It does not look that things are going to change any time soon and with matters that have been deemed more pressing taking precedence over putting more females in the news and media coverage, it seems that women are going to have to work on their own to get more coverage if they really want it. The norm has worked for some time, it does not seem to be changing any time soon.