By and large media content reflects a masculine vision of the world and of what is important. From how we need to understand the state of affairs of our economy to how we perceive social issues and international affairs. In the consumerist world of today with a growing middle class in most parts of the world this often means new stereotypes of women – whose ‘femaleness’ is always the core social context of the discourse. Images of the ‘new woman’ as an independent consumer whose femininity remains intact, or as a hard-headed individualist, whose feminine side must be sacrificed are the social constructs that dominate the popular discourse.
This some argue means that women’s portrayal in the media will not be improved by increasing the number of women journalists, or by getting rid of the worst excesses of sexism in advertising – because the construct within which this portrayal takes place is not engendered. What this requires, in my opinion, is a social and ideological transformation. Where in women’s right to communicate – are truly understood, respected and implemented both in society at large and within the media. In effect, whether or not the ‘critical mass’ of women (argument) working in the media can make an imprint on media content is a secondary question to the need for wider and deeper social change to getting rid of the worst excesses of sexism which have become norme de jure. Problematizing this norme de jure is paramount to changing the social structures embedded within the discourse.
Now the advertisement I want to share today is for a nationalized banks’ home loan scheme. There are just so many things this advertisement should not be about but it is. peer pressure, being middle class, girl plays at home – boys play sports etc. But the one that to me underlying all of this is the assumption that the father is the one who solely makes financial decisions and the role of the women is to “worry” and “be relieved” that her husband has thought everything. Having been raised in family where my parents were true partners in financial decisions I cant see why the setting of this advertisement could not show that the parents are equal partners in making financial decisions for the family.