1. How has the print media industry historically treated your selected topic? How does the print media industry treat that topic today?
Historically women’s rights were treated as a joke in all media, more specifically print media. Advertisements and newspapers portrayed women as housewives that stay at home and watch soap operas, while the men go out and do all of the “dirty work”. Women used to be portrayed as “soft” and “delicate”, and women’s rights were seen as a way of women of just complaining about how unfair they were being treated. Now, women are shown to be not as equal as men but closer than they were before. There are different organizations such as NOW (National Organization of Women) that called for a change in the way that women are portrayed which led to more articles and advertisements that display women as a more superior being than they were first described to be. Today, women’s liberation has been a topic that has been debated for years but it is all starting to become better for women all around the world. The print media industry works with these organizations to bring alertness to what these women groups are doing around the country.
2. How has the print media industry helped drive improvements and public awareness of your selected topic? Has the media perpetuated any drawbacks, controversies, or scandals surrounding this topic?
Print media is essential in telling the story of women and their rights, as well as the feminist movement. Women in the news today such as Lily Ledbetter are pushing for women’s rights, Ledbetter using her case of being paid less than men at her job as a story that inspired the Fair Pay Act, passed by President Obama. Groups such as NOW and CWA (Concerned Women for America) are portrayed in the media as groups that help improve the views of women and the movements organized to show that women aren’t inferior to men and that they should be taken just as serious. Women’s organizations are portrayed on a need to know basis. Unless something special or extravagant is going on, most of the time their stories don’t make the media. As with everything, there may be a few controversies stirring about women’s liberation but that comes with anything that is portrayed in the news or in magazines. From the research conducted the media hasn’t attacked women’s rights groups for any specific reasons, just as a general topic to stir up debates, treating these groups as any other group in the American society.
3. What role has the print media industry played throughout the history of this topic? Do you think the current role of the print media is the same as it was in the 1800s and 1900s? Why or why not?
The women’s rights movement began back in the 1800s. In 1848, the nation’s first gathering for women’s rights was organized in New York, the convention being named the Seneca Falls Convention. Since then, the movement has gotten bigger and more public attention due to more organizations being founded and because they are getting more exposure in the media. There was a lack of seriousness due to the fact that women weren’t taken serious in the earlier years, advertisements were shown to portray women as domesticated and weaker than men. The difference between then and now is that there is more awareness and women don’t portray the same “behind the scenes” role. Back in the 1800s and early 1900s women were limited to what they can do and say, women weren’t even allowed to vote until the 19th Amendment passed in 1920. The current role isn’t the same as before. Now, there are several groups and individuals that work hard for women to be taken seriously, making sure that women’s liberation is no longer taken as a joke.
- Navarro, M., & Martín, M. (2013). Bibliometric Analysis of Research on Women and Advertising: Differences in Print and Audiovisual Media. Comunicar, 21(41), 105-114. doi:10.3916/C41-2013-10
- Schreiber, R. (2010). Who Speaks for Women? Print Media Portrayals of Feminist and Conservative Women’s Advocacy. Political Communication, 27(4), 432-452. doi:10.1080/10584609.2010.516800
- U.S. Department of Education. (n.d.). Title IX: Twenty-five Years of Progress. Retrieved February 24, 2014, from http://www.ed.gov/pubs/TitleIX/index.html