Women and Media by Noor-ul-Huda

Media plays an important role in our lives. For many people, the primary role models are a celebrity or a character in some TV show or movie. This speaks volumes about not only the success of different media sources out there, but also of the influence it has on its audience.

Everyday people are exposed to media in all forms. Unless you have been living under a rock for the last decade or so, you can surely agree with that. Be it a newspaper, radio, TV or the big screen, we are all audiences for some sort of media.

Psychologists and behavioral experts would agree that if you are exposed to something for a prolonged period it starts to influence your thoughts, feelings and ultimately your actions. Take the phenomenon of dreams, for instance. For many people dreams are quite random or aren’t there at all. However, if you were thinking about something, or there was something on your mind especially before you went to sleep, chances are that you will see it in one context or another in your dream.

This means that media can affect our thoughts, perceptions and actions. This is a huge thing. Such power should not be taken lightly. In our world, women are often ranked second to men. This mindset needs to be changed. Media can play a huge role in this. There is a theory that women are often belittled to the standard of children or infants. In other words, for a woman to be attractive or for her to conform to the set standards of femininity, she must be childlike. Examples of this mindset include the removal of body hair to achieve ‘baby-like’ smooth skin, appearing naïve in order to appease the male ego or the fact that shorter and petite women are considered to be more attractive. Even carelessly used words like ‘girl’ to describe an adult female speaks volumes.

In summation, yes media has a lot of power and influence. It is a great source of information, entertainment and everything in between. However, with this power comes great responsibility. Media can be the feminists’ greatest weapon. If used correctly, it can greatly help the efforts made towards female empowerment. Similarly, careless use of this power can undo all the ground that has been covered on the issue.

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