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.


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

The next time you read the paper, notice how women versus men are portrayed, and the adjectives used to describe them.

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.

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

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 taught herself code and created Urbanette when she was a teenager. Currently, she lives in Monte Carlo, but spent the past decade living in NYC, still considers herself a New Yorker, and visits regularly. She's always traveling, looking for hot new topics, destinations, and life hacks to bring to Urbanette readers.

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