Cabinet of Curiosities: The lack of the construction representation of women in sporting activities. 184 MC

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The lack of women being represented in sporting activities is very much noticeable now a days. Especially in a world full of brainwashed people believing everything they read online or see on the TV. To me this is a negative idea that the media has conducted due to the fact that women are capable to do what a man can do.

In 1928 both women and men participated in the Olympics. This was the first time women had been allowed to compete in field and track events. The athletics was the only event where women were permitted to do the same sport as men. Despite the legislation women still have not been seen as equal to men in society. In the US in 1848 women took a stand for equal treatment of women and men under law but it was not until 1920 that women got equal rights and were able to vote. Even with the Equal Pay Act in 1979 and the Sex Discrimination Act in 1975 research shows on average women receive less than half the amount of bonus than men. The Fawcett Society (2012) suggests that women still earn 14.9 per cent on average less then men for the same job.

The BBC Sports Personality of the Year started in 1954 but did not have a female winner until 1962 and women have only won the award 17 times. In 2011 there we no female sports women on the shortlist.

The Adidas’ ‘All In’ commercial produced in 2012 is an example of female stereotyping. The commercial is dominated by one sex and portrayed the idea that if you worked hard you could achieve anything. However the producers used Katy Perry to represent the female sex as opposed to a professional female athlete such as Jessica Ennis. This was very controversial because Katy Perry is not the ideal sporting woman she is a celebrity, which shows that the producers were just using her to gain a wider audience for their brand. The Adidas commercial could represent the effects theory as you could say the male gaze is ‘hypnotised’ by Katy Perry who is using her ‘perfect’ figure. This supports the idea of Laura Mulvey: “women are in the media for the gratification of men”. This theory is also noticeable in a Reebok commercial where the brand uses Miranda Kerr to sell their product. They portray her in a key lighting with some lightning effects. Therefore, by using key lighting Miranda Kerr is illuminated at different moments and it makes her attractive to the target audience. Those adverts suggest that all women want to be the main focus, which is stereotypical. However, this ideology might be patronizing women who hold a different point of view. Women now a days have been socially influenced by the idea that being aware of their self-image is a requirement. The media has influenced the masses, especially young teenagers, into believing that having the ‘perfect’ body makes them perfect. This is called the hypodermic syringe inoculation. Magazines and television shows portray images of females with ‘model-like’ appearances; on the contrary it is a false representation of what a real woman is. Fashion has also caused controversy regarding the ‘clothes-hanger’ model body. All these factors prove the pressure felt by young females but also women. Gebner (1986) identifies that “television is a medium of the socialization of most people into standardized roles and behaviors”. “Exercise has come to be used in the social construction of the ‘ideal feminine body’” Markula (1993). Markula (1993) expresses the idea that the social construction of the ideal body has happened through exercise. Markula is simply stating that the ‘ideal feminine body’ has happened due to the fact the society wants to give the ‘ideal body’ a meaning.

Over the years women have been allowed to participate in many different sports and have gained more recognition through their sporting achievements. During the 2012 London Olympics, USA had more females than males competing. By allowing women to compete in sport it has helped to change how women are treated and to challenge female stereotypes. This is allowing the reception theory to be played due to the difference in gender as females have been allowed to compete properly in the Olympics. This is shown through the Beats: Powerbeats2 Wireless commercial in 2014, where Serena Williams is the brand name used to sell their products. This marketing strategy led to product globalisation because Beat has used a well-known sporting figure, which allows uses and gratifications to accrue. In addition, it allows the audience to seek out the communication of what the product does. “Globalisation involves the reconciliation of a paradox which is the ‘particularization of universalism” Miller, T (2001). Through media, they created a “global village” this allowed people all around the world to see women competing in sports and changing stereotypical perceptions. In 1856, a woman called Katherine Beecher published the first exercise manual for women. This allowed women to see that they were able to do something different; it allowed them to follow their own dreams.  However, the globalisation of sport has allowed the mass audience to become passive and supports a more pluralistic view of the media and how much it influences their view of women in sport. This is supported by Chomsky’s belief, which was ‘a mass audience is like a bewildered herd’ which infers the inability of a mass audience to think independently.

As the numbers of women participating in sport has grown, more cultures have allowed women to participate in sporting activities. This is especially noticeable in the Middle East, even though it is extremely hard for the women to take part in events; they still compete whilst respecting their culture. This could be shown through Barthes Theory, the semantic code as it is pointing out a cultural underlining, but it is predominately Barthes Theory on cultural code as this is allowing the demographic to have a wider understanding on the cultural knowledge. “The status of Muslim women in sport conflicts between cultural tradition and modernisation” . L (1985)

It is important to acknowledge that this is merely an opinion as some female audiences may view this media representation as dominant and empowering. Nevertheless it is evident that sexual representations of females in sporting adverts are a result of the industries wanting to attract their audience through targeting the demographics that desire a pleasing physical appearance. The main aim for the institutions is to generate as much profit as possible and by using attractive women to represent their brand they are targeting a global market.


Letter to Self: Future 184 MC

Dear Self,

In the coming year studying Media and Communications my main focus would be to learn in depth about the way media is represented globally and internationally. This would show me how other cultures present their media to the world and in what they try to brainwash their audience to believe the misunderstanding or to see if they do not brainwash their audience but tell the truth in what they were reporting.
In this topic I would mainly focus on how other cultures present news and their media. For example in Abu Dhabi their main newspaper “The National” doesn’t report the wars happening over in Syria or Saudi as it was shock their audience and cause moral panic. However they did report about the American mother getting stabbed in Reem Mall and they told their audience how the police caught the killer, allowing the audience to feel safe in the country.
I would also focus on how “Gay Right” has become legalised in many countries and see which countries have actually reported it to their audience around the world. As I know Muslim countries would not report it or make it on the front page due to it being a sin in the Quaran to be gay.

I would also like to improve my cultural and semiotic analysing of advertisements. To understand the semiotic analysis of dominant symbols. The semiotic analysis of advertisement revel cultural norms and values, the key theme is the narrative.
The narrative is a understanding I enjoy to focus on as it makes me revel why the director/journalist did that in that way or reported something in that way. It allows me to gain a better understanding on the whole topic instead of getting small snippets of the topic.

In the next year I would want to grow as a student and allow my skills to be improved. I want to fail so then I will re try again and again until I get it right.


Future Self

Letter to Self: Past 184 MC

Dear Self,

As a student studying Media Studies for the last two years of my academic year. I finally got to understand how deep the Media goes to brainwash their readers/viewers. The course really got me interested in producing my own concept of magazines and moving images.

In year 12, I learnt a lot about the theorist and the background to understanding how everything is made and why directors have done something in a movie, for example why Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight) connoted Red as danger, she did this to symbolise that Edward is danger as the colour red would be shown mainly when he was around for example the apple Bella catches is bright red and the Valtory have red capes. I got to grips on the main theorist such as Propp and Barthes and understood their way of showing something to the readers/viewers.
At the end of the year we had to produce our own coursework. In this we got given 3 different topics. I choose Lifestyle; I decided to go with this topic because I was wanting to base my coursework on my favourite hobby which is horse riding. To me horse riding is very much a given lifestyle. In my coursework I produced a moving image using iMovie, the moving image consisted of panning images of race horses then an interview based structure with an Race Jockey called Hayley Moore. Hayley competes in level 7 races, and her father is a trainer. I also had to produce a magazine. I based this magazine on an equestrian magazine I get every Thursday called Horse and Hound. This magazine I made consisted of 8 pages full of fun and interesting facts on horses and different areas in horse riding.
Doing this coursework really allowed me to excel in what I enjoy most in Media Studies.

In year 13, we were told we were going to write a critical investigation. My investigation was “discuss the negative representation of women in sport”. In this investigation I included myself analyzing many adverts such as reebok .
This investigation really made me go outside my comfort zone as I am not very good with my writing skills but as I progressed and did a topic I enjoyed I found it became much easier and I become much more comfortable analyzing texts and becoming much more critical in the way I thought.
After we finished writing the 2500 words of the critical investigation, we had to start looking at the practical side of the investigation. With the practical side I decided to look at making adverts seeing as my investigation was based on advertising sporting women. In this I made 8 adverts all portraying the same information using different camera angles and allowing the women the not be sexualized.

Over the 2 years of studying media I feel like my knowledge has progressed and become much stronger to what is was. Which is what I mostly enjoyed having all the success to knowing everything and developing over the months and growing an interest in the media world.

My social media profile such as Facebook represents the better side of myself. It doesn’t show all the times I have failed at something or the times I stayed at home instead of going out, it shows the times were I was having fun and enjoying myself. My profile is a different reflection of myself as I am not a party girl I am very much family orientated but my profile does not show that as then I feel I would not fit into the social norm or be cool. My profile is the fun side of caroline.