Opinion - Women and the Media
“I declare to you that a woman must not depend upon the protection of a man, but must be taught to protect herself, and there I take my stand” declared Susan B. Anthony in a time of controversy with regards towards women’s rights. That quote still resonates in this day and age and remains utterly important, especially due to the portrayal of women as being weak and subservient in some media outlets. It makes one wonder at the courage it inevitably took to state such and defy the cultural doctrines of the time.
Recently a woman died in India after being gang-raped by a few men who apparently had a need of power or control, especially when some people still view such as a sexual act, and not one of brutality. In a survey done by Southern Illinois University, 34 per cent of male college students anonymously admitted that they would commit rape if they could get away with it, and 84 per cent of those who executed such did not label it as rape (http://depts.washington.edu/livewell/advocate/statistics-on-sexual-and-r...). This survey proves that even in the United States of America, a country that prides itself on progressiveness and modernity, more advancement needs to occur.
Asides from that disturbing fact, popular television programs like “Two and a Half Men”, for example, depict the feminine sex as objects, as unthinking, sometimes clingy beings that should always be judged on mere appearance. Moreover, when one of the world’s most powerful women, Hilary Clinton, is asked very seriously about her hair, is that not to be deemed demeaning (youtube.com)? Was her husband, President Bill Clinton, ever asked such a rather frivolous question? When little girls and boys view all this around them, it will, almost certainly affect their perspective of themselves and others.
“The fact is, women are in chains, and their servitude is all the more debasing because they do not realize it”, expressed Ms. Anthony, confidently challenging the ideals of her time. Her quote still stands today, but in a different context. Many women are indeed locked in servitude, but it is that of their image. Television programs like “Toddlers and Tiaras” prove that superficial beauty is truly prized in girls and women; it instills within them a desire to fulfill an impossible image of perfection emitted by society.
Men do not need to be domineering, and women do not need to be the perceived fragile gender, but there is still room for change. With the recent passing of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, one golden ideal among many may be concluded. It takes one person with enough willpower and passion to move the masses, to stir within many a desire, a need, to progress towards a more prosperous future for all.