During the past Presidential elections, we had two serious candidates of different positions who were female. They were Hilary Clinton (D) and Sarah Palin (R). Throughout the media coverage, these women were portrayed differently than any of their male counterparts–for example, they were often refered to in the newspapers and news articles by their first names, whereas their male counterparts were always refered to by their last names. The media also didn’t focus on the women’s view on the issues, they focused on things they did that made them distinctly feminine–like their wardrobe or their emotional responses.
These media double standards are also discussed in our book. The fact that both of these women were predominantly featured in the election defies the studies cited in the text that state they’re represented in 11% of the print media) (Gamble, 2003). For example, it was a big deal when the information came out about how much the Republican Party spent on Sarah Palin’s wardrobe and hair, whereas Clinton was criticized for showing too much cleavage. God forbid they show any of their feminine features. Clinton was also criticized because of her short haircut–which is interesting because typically, women tend to adopt more masculine looks the higher up they climb into male-dominated careers. Either way, she was bound to be criticized for something because society has taught us to critically analyze women’s looks (Gamble, 2003).
Gamble, T. K., & Gamble, M. W. (2003). The Gender Communication Connection. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co.
Refusal of Saudi marriage annulment
Afghan “Rape” Law
“In years past, there was even a time when women were perceived to be the property of men (Gamble, 2007).” This quote makes it seem like that’s no longer the case when in fact, there are still areas of the world that consider this a social norm. The first news link is a story about a young girl whose mother is trying to get her daughter’s marriage annulled–the daughter is 8 years old and her new “husband” is 47. Apparently, the marriage was a result of debt settlements and arranged by the girl’s father. The combination of this news story and the story about the new law in Afghanistan, referred to as the “Rape Bill”, do, in fact, bring gender inequalities to the public’s attention. It’s also important to consider that the girl’s mother is fighting for her daughter’s childhood in the Saudi Arabian court system–something that would never have happened in times past.
While I’m no expert on Middle Eastern customs or laws, I do know that the headline for the Afghan law article is right: these recent developments in Middle Eastern law have increased worldwide attention to women’s rights. Our textbook goes over the history of women’s rights and discrimination, and generally the relationship between genders. It’s not excactly a new idea that it’s been drilled into society’s head that men are better than women (Gamble, 2003), but the United States has come a long way when it comes to gender equalities–even if there are still instances of sexual discrimination, etc. What the textbook does not cover indepth is the types of sexual discrimination in other countries, like these. As a country, we have come far in terms of gender equalities (though the system most certainly isn’t perfect) but it’s also important to know that other people in the world still have to deal with meanacing problems that shouldn’t be an issue. Yes, in times past, women used to be considered property of their husbands or fathers–but it’s important not to exclude the present in that statement.