Welcome to Media Misses, the blog that seeks to reframe the media’s coverage of women & gender. I’ve written letters to the editors for years now; whenever I see problematic coverage on women’s issues, I write. Some were published, some weren’t. The point is, the media should be representative of us all – men and women, black and white, able-bodied or not. America is a melting point, yet all too often the pot is full of gassy white bean soup! It’s time for change!
Women need–no, require– a voice in the media. Most articles discuss “masculine” values or issues – war, terrorism, corruption, etc. “Women’s issues”–health, education, poverty, etc. –are all too often relegated to the “back of the paper” or not written about at all. Where was the press, for example, when Conservatives waged a war on women’s reproductive health? Where were the articles about the atrocity rapes in the Congo? Writing two words (“women raped”) to describe the systemic use of brutal sexual assaults in an article that addresses the conflict in the Congo is an outrage. The media should be by the people/for the people — that includes all kinds of people. We’re not there yet.
As another example of how women’s voices are missing, only around 20% of op-eds are written by women. Op-eds can help shape policies, laws and public perceptions. These influential spots should not be dominated by one group of society. We need to hear from everybody.
We should expect the media, especially the newspapers, which can wield power in our communities and in our nation, to have a set of ideals and standards, including representation, fairness and respect. We deserve no less than that. It is up to us, then, to hold the media to these standards.
Thanks for listening and I hope you’ll join me in holding the media accountable,