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Women In The Media: A Search For Positive Examples

While preparing to find an example of positive representation of women in the media for class several sessions ago I found myself finding few truly positive examples on basic channels like: ABC, NBC, and Fox. I then turned to premium cable channels and found several interesting examples on HBO; among these seemingly positive views of women are Girls created by, written by, and starring Lena Dunham and Game of Thrones based on the novels by George R. R. Martin. The major characters of the show Girls are in fact girls as the title of the show would lead one to believe; however the title may be hitting at a deeper level as the characters are adults, yet often behave as children, something alluded to in a recent Rolling Stone interview with Lena Dunham. The show is certainly driven by its female leads and has been applauded for its realistic portrayal of modern female lives; in brief the show chronicles the lives of for women living in New York City and navigating through various problems in their lives. I found the show to be funny and engaging and the characters to be both simultaneously likable and sometimes irritating as I find many people in the real world. One thing that struck me was that much of the show focused on the four main characters pursuing men; a point raised in Miss Representation was that while many female driven movies are really still male focused as the female leads are spend much of the film shows their pursuit of men. I did notice a form of this on Girls, but not in the same form as a romantic comedy. For one the characters are on Girls both male and female are not idealized, rather they are flawed individuals that are more reflective of reality. Perhaps reflective of this reality are rather explicit sex scenes that are fairly commonplace on the show; these scenes too, are not idealized and are often quite odd and overall uncomfortable for the characters involved as well as the viewer.

Game of Thrones is an adaptation of the Song of Fire and Ice series of books by George R. R. Martin. The show depicts a fantasy world on scale with The Lord of the Rings series that shows a serious of intertwining plots and characters during a time of supernatural danger and civil war. It like Girls showcases several important and multidimensional female characters and their lives; also like Girls is often sexually explicit and these scenes are depicted in great detail. I was initially struck by the amount of these scenes and what they depicted including an example of fraternal brother-sister twin incest; I decided to research the books upon which the series was based and found this amount of detail to be consistent with the world depicted in the books.  This series again like Girls is critically acclaimed and its sex scenes do not initially appear exploitative as they occur naturally within the narrative, but I do question if these shows would have reached their level of acclaim and fame if these scenes were not present. The female characters depicted are strong individuals with a high degree of agency and are interesting to watch and several of them are worthy of a more in depth character analysis, an issue I may explore later.


2 Comments

  1. Tammy Burt says:

    It is really sad today that it is so hard to find stories of women in a positive role in the media. When I turn on the television in the morning to look at the New that the women are in a low cut dress or short skirts to show their legs. This is just another form of women being sex objects to entertain men. Not to mention that the only role a woman play in a video is that she has to be moving is a sexual way this is what sells.

  2. Favi Bogen says:

    When the professor gave us the assignment of searching for positive media on women, I headed to the Internet thinking I wouldn’t have a problem finding articles. Several hours later, I found 1 article. Most of the the articles that I found that spoke or were related to women were done with a negative tone such as Kim Kardashian, her prego bump and baby daddy, cheating scandals, etc. if reporters did interview a female they spent most of the time focusing on beauty tricks, fashion, etc rather than topics that girls/women could use to empower themselves. While fashion and beauty tricks are important, women have more to contribute to this world than just these things. Now, I can relate to the author of the reading Beating Anorexia, where she spent time searching for feminists texts/ material that allowed her to grow as a person thus giving her the strength to see the truth. By having done this task, I will continue to search (past this class) for material that feeds my hunger for knowledge and helps me grow as an individual and woman by focusing on the positive (media) rather than all the negative that surrounds us.

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