Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Women in the Media, South of the US border

Lately, I've been looking into how women are portrayed in the media after I came across the Miss Representation videos on Youtube. Now, being from the "most powerfull country in the world" (the USA) and living in a country that is often described as "developing" or "Third World" I often see women portrayed in a manner that would get a lot of backlash in the mainstream media in the US, or so I thought. Turns out that women in the US are just as acosted and marginalized in the media as they are in Mexico. Even the most powerful women in US politics can't seem to get the respect their male counterparts get from the media. How can this be? I thought the US was "developed" and "democratic". I don't see a lot of democratic representation of women in the US or Mexican governments.

Who is to blame? Could it be Mexico's nieghbor to the North? Should we point the finger at the US like President Felipe Calderon did in 2010 when speaking about violence in Mexico? 
 "The origin of our violence problem begins with the fact that Mexico is located next to the country that has the highest levels of drug consumption in the world. It is as if our neighbor were the biggest drug addict in the world." The Atlantic Wire
Personally, I don't think it is really so much an influence of US mainstream culture or media. Women being treated as objects has a lot to do with a well known element of Latin American culture, "machismo". As it turns out, women in Mexico are getting stereotyped in the media by their own government. *insert record scratch sound HERE* Yes! According to this video titled Diplomado en Género y Lenguaje Incluyente en los Medios de Comunicación SLP/México 2012,

On average, on any given day in any given (Mexican) printed media shows us to 3 sexist expresions that exclude, objectify, ridicule and discriminate women.  75% of public service anouncement campaigns funded by the Federal Public Administration include content that make women invisible, or assign them gender stereotypes like mother, housewife, shopper or adjectives such as weak and passive.

These are tough issues to deal with because they are so present in our daily lives that we don't seem to even notice them. We've become accostumed to them. We have become desensitized, or perhaps, for some reason(s), we haven't even realized that we are making half of the population into objects that can not control or have any say in how they are portrayed in the media. The equal rights movement still has a lot of work left to do if you ask me, not just in the US or in Mexico, but all over the world.

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