Why Women are Being Oppressed by the Media Machine

Womens Issues

The United Boy’s Club of America: Oppressed by the Media Octopus

5 reasons why the men in charge are trying to change the conversation, and how we can change it back.

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You know the stats. Men get paid a 40% premium over women’s salaries for the Exact. Same. Work. The glass ceiling has barely been cracked; women are still not promoted to management positions anywhere close to as often as men are. In fact, women hold only 16% of the top four positions under American CEOs. You can’t open a magazine or turn on the TV without seeing a women being dominated or objectified. Even little girls are being taught to self-objectify. And we STILL haven’t elected a female president. To wit, less than 20% of elected offices in America are held by women.

Clearly there’s work to do.

The United Boy’s Club of America: Oppressed by the Media Octopus

Historically, when an oppressed group wants to enact change, their oppressors manipulate them into believing that the change is done, even when it’s barely begun. Or they convince them that their oppression is really liberation (as is the case with self-objectification).

Ninety percent of the media in America is owned by six squid-like corporations with men at the helm.

The United Boy’s Club of America: Oppressed by the Media Octopus

In the case of women in America, the more powerful group [men who own the media and run the government] are constantly trying to trick the public. They’re trying to convince us that A) we no longer need feminism, and B) our value is in the shape of our butt (or boobs, or face), rather than our ambitions. Why? Because A) they don’t want the full extent of their oppression to be publicly acknowledged, and B) they don’t want women to enter their control room and steal any of “their” power.

So they try to change the conversation.

They do their best to convince us that there’s no glass ceiling (“Look! Here’s a female CEO — see? It happens!”). They remind us that the change is not status quo, and if you participate in this fringe movement, you make yourself into a weird and unattractive outlier. They try to take the power of the movement away by distorting the meaning of feminism; changing it into a dirty word that women are afraid to be associated with.

And I’m not so sure that most people realize what a huge impact this octopus of a media machine has on pretty much every aspect of our lives. I can’t think of a more influential force in our everyday lives. Even the way people around you act is tainted by the media. Its tentacles are everywhere.

The United Boy’s Club of America: Oppressed by the Media Octopus

Wondering why they’d go to all this work? Men in power oppress women for several reasons:

  1. These men are sexist (similar to racism, they view women as inferior to them) and want control over women,
  2. Their ego enjoys the power and the game of oppressing,
  3. They don’t want women to get in the control room and shake things up, challenging their power and the status-quo they’ve carefully crafted,
  4. They want to run the world the way they see fit, without the challenge of other perspectives and opposing ethical viewpoints,
  5. The media’s income is largely based on advertising, and advertising is largely based on making women feel inferior and insecure, because that’s when women buy the most products.

Despite what we’ve been told, feminism is about equality. Contrary to the media’s misinformation, it’s not about domination over men. Quite the opposite — it’s an anti-domination movement.

The United Boy’s Club of America: Oppressed by the Media Octopus

Want to enact change? Step one is researching and knowing the issues; recognizing how you, and other women, are affected. We need to start calling out the manipulation. Step two is being proud to call yourself a feminist and talk about the issues. Step three is being consciously supportive of other women, and quashing the instinct to be competitive with each other. Step four is participating in local elections, and electing more women into office.

 

Read more in the ‘United Boys Club of America’ series:

Also, check out: Is Feminism a Dirty Word? and Is Feminism Still Relevant?

Join in the comments below and let us know which of these four steps you’ve taken!

A writer, artist and designer since she was young enough to put pencil to paper, Hilary spends most of her time in France, but still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. Hilary spent the past decade living in NYC and has traveled extensively around the world, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and brands to bring to Urbanette readers.

Reader Discussion: 43 Comments

  1. Erica S.

    Wow! Garbage! I am an auto mechanic and get paid way more than the men i work with. This is a real job you are all whining about CEO jobs. Ha wake up welcome to the real world! Also, I have received many scholarships for being a woman in an engineering field while in college.I have always been treated as equal, with respect, and only have been treated bad by women! I have had rude women make snide comments about my career choice, the way I raise my kids, the way I wear my hair, and bugging me about wearing make-up, blah blah blah the list goes on and on…. What I am trying to say is men aren’t the problem.

    Feminism? Sounds like your out of touch of reality.

  2. Jeff Ragan

    I read this article a couple of weeks ago, and I have been thinking about it ever since. What you describe is something I was totally oblivious to until now, but I’ve been noticing sexism everywhere now that I’m looking. I think more men need to be educated about this problem. It’s appalling that men’s magazines don’t write about sexism or feminist issues.

    • Jesus Garay

      cause most men dont care about that. also how have u been seeing sexism?

  3. Christina Brown

    You’re such a good fudging thinker. I have learned so much from you and you’re such an exciting thinker. You are able to put it into words so clearly and smoothly that I can’t help but agree with every point! Well done. Right! Raising awareness is more helpful than most readily available solutions. Thank you for writing this reminder.

  4. Rosemary Robles

    Hilary, YOU hit the nail on the head!! Well said and beautifully written! Thank you.

  5. Helen Franklin

    This is not only one of the best blog posts you’ve written, but one of the best I’ve read, ever. I think that the only demons man fights are those of his own making. We fight demons that are usually created by a male-dominated society. Women do not have to go to war to confront violence and brutality. We often experience it in our own homes. Men only experience it on a battlefield or at the bar when they’re already drunk.

  6. Helen Franklin

    This is not only one of the best blog posts you’ve written, but one of the best I’ve read, ever. I think that the only demons man fights are those of his own making. Women fight demons that are usually created by a male-dominated society. Women do not have to go to war to confront violence and brutality. We often experience it in our own homes. Men only experience it on a battlefield or at the bar when they’re already drunk.

  7. Delilah Peyton

    I’d like to add that just because women in America have it much better than women in most countries, does not mean that the battle for equality is over. We are oppressed, and not specifically by men, but the society. Women oppress other women too! Society seems to have a real fear of women who step outside the expectations boxing them in.

  8. Jenny Garett

    Thank you, your article is spot on; excellently put. I’ve been pondering this topic for the past years. I was conversing with somebody recently about the question of objectification and how it has evolved over time. I think that women objectify themselves too, and that is the start of the problem. Hilary, you opened up a whole new continent to consider with this post.

  9. Frances Seifert

    Oppression? We are absolutely oppressed, but not only by the media. Every day, in our daily lives, by the ordinary men we know, and we don’t know. Mensoring, manpacking, manterrogating, manspiration, mantroduction, sleep manpnea, mentoring, bropen-mouth chewing , mansulting, broplimenting, manslamming, manspreading… The list could go on forever.

    • Jesus Garay

      did u ever think the reason there are less female ceos is because more men chose to be ceos than women. why dont u complain about women also tking up space with there bags…..i call that womenspreading……..also women can get annoying alot.

  10. Kaitlyn Barrett

    There’s some silent oppression of women going on in the States, that most women are not even aware of! It is time for men to stand with us women and demand that half of our population is treated with the same respect and fairness that every man enjoys. Americans have much to be ashamed of, but mistreating us women and treating us like third class citizens has to be at the top of the shame list!

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