As a communications and mass media major, I often like to decode every specific sentence of a news article I encounter. I have become increasingly aware of the language media outlets use to describe women-specifically female celebrities. When we read about famous women like Amal Clooney or Kate Middleton, they are often represented as the “girlfriend of” or “wife of..”. In my opinion, this kind of language completely disregards the achievements of these women, and presents them as “the other”. Famous men are often the center of a news article, with a female voice sometimes missing or presented as someone who is affiliated to the man. I feel that media often centralizes on the male gender in news because our societies are only familiar with male dominance in most aspects of our lives.
In addition, the way that women are talked about in the news also completely differ from the way men are. More often than not, we read about what these women wear, who their favorite designers are, how their hair looked at an event, etc. For example, during the United Nations General Assembly conference taking place this week, humanitarian lawyer Amal Clooney spoke about representing a legal case against the Islamic State for human trafficking and genocide of the Yezidi women. After her speech, I came across an article from the Telegraph UK, describing what she wore and how great she looked. One of the sentences from the article stated, “At the UN, Clooney wore a vintage Pierre Cardin classic grey shift dress with three-quarter length sleeves, sourced from WilliamVintage.” (link) Amal Clooney is an incredible woman who’s career achievements should be put in the forefront of news agencies, rather than what she’s wearing.
With that said, I am optimistic about the fact that, once we start changing the way we speak about certain topics related to women, we can start changing the way women are perceived. By giving women in media the same attention as men and presenting them as equal rather than “the other”, our perceptions of how we think women should be/act will also change. Do you agree? Or do most people think that talking about superficial things like what designer an actress wore or what color lipstick the duchess uses are natural and inevitable?