Gender Bias in Media－Hope
We Can Do Something About It
Reynolds Akiba Katsue
- ジーナ・デイヴィスという女優 As an example of what we can do. 映画『テルマとルイーズ』（1991年公開）の終幕は何を意味するのか
- TVシリーズ「マダム・プレジデント」(2005年放映開始)———Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi
- Interactive mediaの可能性— 雑誌Ms.の今 (Blog, face book, twitter).
In the 80’s and the 90’s, the Honolulu Media Task Force was the most active;all the members gathering in a 6th floor room of the State building to discuss various cases of gender bias:many newspaper articles containing words and phrases of discrimination were brought to the table;the TV anchors’ casual comments putting down women were reported, magazines and public documents with pictures suggesting discriminatory images of women were recorded;the progress of the project of rewriting “Roberts’ Rules” was reported;The plan of making posters and booklets for gender fair expressions available to all state workers was proposed;…….
When I came back from Japan after finishing my work at Konan Daigaku, Kobe, I listened to the board of education meeting broadcast on TV. To my happy surprise, no one used “chairman.” Everyone said “chair” or “chairperson.” We have done it! Yes, as Anita Tailor said in her farewell Editorial of Women and Language, “much has changed” while much has to be changed. The efforts towards a gender fair Media is in progress, being taken over by many individuals who intend to continue the history of women in the 80’s and 90’s.
In order to see the on-going changes, I take one person as an example. Geena Davis an actress-activist. We tend to think that movies and TV programs contaminate people’s minds by releasing gender bias messages, but Geena Davis teaches us to use them to change gender bias. Does anyone remember “Thelma and Louise ”映画『テルマとルイーズ』（1991年公開), a movie released in 1991? It showed the frustration of ordinary women in a discriminatory society,America. Thelma and Louise, who were chased by the police to the end of a highway, stepped on the gas and flew in the air over the edge of a cliff. What happened to them? What is the message of the ending?
What about TV drama series “Commander in Chief ” (TVシリーズ「マダム・プレジデント」 (2005年放映開始)? It was a fictional administration and family of Mackenzie Allen (portrayed by Geena Davis), the first female President of theUnited States. The series began broadcasting on ABC on Tuesday, September 27, 2005, at 9 p.m. Eastern Time. The show was #1 on Tuesday night ratings.
Why were Americans so enthusiastic about this program? It is because the appearance of a female president is no longer far off dream. For example, Hillary Clinton, who could have become the first woman president, was appointed Secretary of State, one of the highest positions in the president’s cabinet, and she is now talked about as a possible “Madam Commander in Chief” after Obama’s term is over in 2016. Also, Nancy Pelosi was the first speaker of the House of Representatives (60th speaker) in US political history. She has not changed her feminine style:She is always smiling like a mother or grandmother and does important things in a congenial way. Media is showing images of women, which were unthinkable 20 years ago.
Geena Davis is also the co-founder of the Woodhull Institute, a non-profit
organization that provides professional development and leadership training for
women. Similar things, making women visible in socially effective positions and supporting younger women becoming assertive and independent as full-fledged human beings, are happening in many other places.
Women are becoming increasingly visible in the fields that used to be for MALES ONLY. Margot Magowan has investigated, “Who writes more articles with their
signatures in the papers and magazines, men or women? The result was reported in the Ms. Blog:The New York Review of Books—462 males to 79 females, The New Republic—256 males to 49 females, The New Yorker ‘book review’ section—36 males to 9 females, etc. The finding can be looked at negatively or positively. The print media no longer excludes women. Changing the media is not easy, but it is not impossible.
- れいのるず＝秋葉かつえ1995．「アメリカにおける言語変革の実践——メディア・タスク・フォースの場合」『ず・ぼん』2号. (Available at <Reynolds UH ScholarSpace>)
- Margot Magowan. 2011. Why There’s Gender Bias in Media–and What We Can Do About It. Ms. Blog, Feb 10.
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