Thursday, June 5, 2008

Media Violence Against Women

Via DollyMix

Sex and the City and it's lead actresses have, legitimately or not, been subjected to the great deal of criticism that tends to come with being prominent in popular culture. It is important to note the way the criticism has manifested itself, and the ways in which the gender of the intended targets shapes how that criticism is expressed.

While the criticism tends to focus on the ages and physical appearance of the stars of the film, rather than their acting or the writing quality, the imagery that accompanies this criticism has become increasingly violent and disturbing. First, Time Out New York's recent cover pictures all four actresses with duct tape over their mouths.

This image of forced silence is not gender neutral. It is insulting at best and outright threatening at worst. Unfortunately, it is the kind of cover that probably sold magazines. One can only assume so, since another New York magazine, the New York Press (the same outlet that framed stalking as a hobby) followed suit with their latest cover picturing all four women as literal garbage.

Cate Sevilla of DollyMix poignantly notes that:

Men are trashed differently than women in the press, this is not a new revelation. We've all been aware of this for a painfully long time. Yet it says something disturbing about our society that when four women become too famous or too popular, our immediate reaction is to shut them up by any means possible. Tape their mouths shut, shove them in the trash, and chop off their pretty little heads; it doesn't matter as long as they've been silenced and are kept out of site. It used to be that little girls were to be seen and not heard, but it seems as though when they tire of seeing us, that we should vanish....out of sight, out of mind, and back in the kitchen where we belong.

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