Is the media a Devil in disguise?

Posted 4 December 2013 at 12:00 am


Each year about one in five women are raped or experience an attempted rape. About one in four women are beaten by an intimate partner and one in six are stalked.

The statistics were taken from a study done by the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.

If these numbers surprise you, you’re not alone. I was also surprised to learn from Jean Kilbourne’s film “Killing Us Softly 4” that about one-third of the women murdered in the U.S. is by their male partner or husband.

I never paid much attention to how many women are really affected by acts of violence by men until I started taking a Sociology of Gender class. I have learned so many things that are so eye-opening. Now, I’m not going to sit here and bash all men for violence against women, because I know that not all men are violent and that men experience violence from women and other men as well. However, the facts show that the majority of the acts of violence against women come from men.

Now, here is my thought about how we can stop all of this violence. Stop letting the media degrade women! Have you paid attention to some of the ads, movies, or music videos that are out lately? They’re disgusting. It seems like an easy job to be in marketing because apparently all you have to do is show the product for a second and spend the next twenty-nine seconds showing a half-naked woman.

It’s obvious that women have been used as objects for a long time, especially in advertising, but it has led to so much violence that it just seems logical to stop objectifying women and maybe the amount of violence will decrease. However, I don’t think that only changing the way women are shown in the media will solve everything. The way men are shown in the media needs to change too.

Men in the media are shown as these macho, powerful, manly men, which is great until they are shown harassing women like it’s an acceptable practice. Music videos show men slapping women, pouring their drinks on them, and just treating them like a piece of meat and not like another person. Advertisements do the same thing when they show men controlling a woman and saying that it’s the manly and right thing to do.

I think it is great when men are portrayed as successful and independent, so why can’t women been portrayed the same way? I would be more inclined to buy a product if I saw someone in a power suit using it, because I want to be successful too. I don’t want to be dressed scantily clad with men pouring champagne on me.

There are a lot of factors that contribute to the violence that women experience, but the harassment in the media is seen by many people of all ages. Most people say that they don’t even pay attention to the commercials or ads that are all around them on a daily basis, but Rance Crain, who was a Senior Editor for Advertising Age says that, “Only 8% of an ad’s message is received by the conscious mind. The rest is worked and reworked deep within the recesses of the brain.”

This just goes to show that the media has more control over our mind than we would think. If the advertisements are promoting violence against women, which most of them are, then it is very obvious as to why there are so many acts of violence against women.

The powerful men and women in advertising need to realize all of the damage that is being caused by their ads. I know that not all acts of violence are due to what was seen in a commercial, but it’s quite clear that the media plays a large role in the way we act. It’s in our subconscious to do what is being done in the media. If the media would change the way they portray men and women, I believe that we would see a decrease in the amount of violence towards women. Maybe the media is a societal devil in disguise.

Rebecca Reigle

Reigle is a student at Stony Brook University.