Media Portrayal of Women

Another media platform that relentlessly manifests and perpetuates the sexual objectification of women is music. In today’s society, music, especially the hip-hop and rap genre, often have misogynistic and explicit lyrics which presents women in an exploitative manner. According to Adams and Fuller, women in this music genre are often portrayed as “mere objects that are only good for sex and abuse and are ultimately a burden to men” (940). In an online magazine Elite Daily, an article titled “The 15 Most Misogynistic Lines in Rap History”, written by Doran Miller-Rosenburg, listed out several examples of the manifestation of misogynism in music lyrics these days.

Such lyrics fully reflects male chauvinism and are demeaning to females. This goes to show how women are disrespected and belittled in our society today. Women are degraded of their worth and diminished as subjects to men, instead of human beings. Besides that, the content of rap music videos nowadays is mostly sexual, where women are characterized as submissive “sex objects”, and men on the other hand, hold sexually aggressive and authoritative roles. Research has shown that music videos of chosen male artists who tops the music charts, are most likely based on themes of misogyny and male dominance. In the report, the music video of the song “P.I.M.P” by an American rapper, 50 Cent, was used for illustration.

In the video, women are dressed in provocative clothing and characterized as “playthings” for men (van Oosten et al. 995). Evidently, the media have portrayed women as commodities in so many ways, and it is definitely disappointing to see that such distorted representation of women have been going on for so long. Unfair depictions of women by the media can bring detrimental impacts to society as the media have a substantial influencing power. For instance, the “perfect” body image of a women portrayed by the media will lower the self-esteem of women who don’t have such body figures. Girls, at a very young age, will be self-conscious about their features and they will start to lose confidence as they think that they are not “beautiful” or “attractive” enough. These fake presentments of women by the media will cause many other women to believe that those are the beauty standards they should conform to.

As a result, many of them resort to undergo cosmetic surgeries such as breasts augmentation, liposuction, eyelid surgery, etc. to change their features, in order to live up to society’s beauty standards. Statistics have shown that from 1992 to 2008, the total number of cosmetic surgeries done in the United States have increased by 882% (ASPS). This goes to show that many women are unsatisfied with their bodies and wish to alter them. Furthermore, the disturbing trend of eating disorders among women has been growing rampant. In a 2005 report done by The National Eating Disorder Association, ten million American women have eating disorders such as Anorexia or Bulimia Nervosa (qtd. in Beberick). Beberick states that the pictures of “ideal” body figures showcased by advertisements, magazines, and the Internet are compelling women to go to the extremes, just to make themselves look good.