The ‘Other’

amal-clooneyLink

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?

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5 thoughts on “The ‘Other’

  1. kdl2016 says:

    This is so true! Every award show on tv the actresses or singers are interviewed about who did your hair or what are you wearing tonight. Then the next day my news feeds online all caption this years best dressed or worst dressed celebrities.

    We shouldn’t be defined by what we wear, or how our hair is, or our style preferences. We are more than a piece of fabric lol.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. floryduran says:

    This was a well written, well thought out post. You are so right about women being seen as “the wife of”. It even gets worse when they go back 3 or 4 relationships and they put “the former girlfriend of “blah blah famous guy”. Like they have no identity other than who they are with, But why should we be surprised? In 2016, we still call women “arm candy”.. Finally, we have come far enough that we don’t call a female politician (you know who) “the wife of former Predident Bill”…not that I’m sure that someone has not said that, but at least I don’t hear it all the time). This gets into so much…what about the old (and to me offensive) tradition that at a wedding, one man “gives” the bride to another man. Even women I know who had basically absent Dads, still will use him to give her away (or they used a brother or uncle. I have yet to be at a wedding where anyone lets their mother “give them away”.At least I’ve never been to a wedding where a mother “gives away” either their son or daughter. Mom does not “own” you– Dad does. This also has a very long history which is really quite disturbing in what it implies Not to even get into the fact that NO ONE should own anyone, what woulld be wrong with Mother walking her daughter to the alter? ESpecially in single parent (which has come to mean “mother only…though I know there are single men as well) houses. This is such a long tradition…women have long been considered as “owned” by one men oe another. GRADE: A

    Liked by 1 person

  3. wachelwivers says:

    Such a true observation, and also very frustrating! Amal being the perfect example of a great mind who is objectified to be an accessory by headlines. Another good example of this was the summer Olympics which had incredibly sexist headlines about its athletes. One example was an athlete Corey Cogsdell who won and the Chicago Tribune titled their articler- ““Wife of a Bears’ lineman wins a bronze medal today in Rio Olympics.” It’s like a woman can’t OWN her achievements!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. wheredidallthefeministsgo says:

    Such a great point! This used to irritate me as well and still does at times. I get more irritated at the over-obsession of how women are dressed, what they are wearing, their size, their shoes, their hair, etc. I have to say that when someone refers to me as “the wife of…”, I am usually pretty proud to be referred to as his wife. I am proud to be married and proud to link myself to my husband, but if I was ALWAYS referred to in this manner it would be aggravating. I think that it is important that women take ownership of their own achievements. If they do not like to be referred to in this manner then maybe they should do something about it. Corey Cogsdell could have contacted the Chicago Tribune and called them out for not using her name. I probably would have. In this day and age when people can put their thoughts and opinions out there for everyone to see in an instant via Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc., a simple tweet to Chicago Tribune would have publicly shamed them into changing the headline, or issuing an apology, or at the very least brought to the attention of many the injustice of stripping women of their identities and accomplishments. I think the problem is really that most people would not have even realized that they were being offensive. I know that sounds stupid, but the truth is, the tradition is “I now pronounce you husband and wife.”, I have never once heard, “I now pronounce you wife and husband.” I am not saying that is right, but it is something that men and women have allowed for as long as I can remember.

    Liked by 1 person

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