Following on from my last blog media and misogyny I wanted to find out who actually runs our major media outlets and discuss why peddling misogyny within our society is great for business.
Do you ever notice how 2 different media outlets will report the same piece of news? How one can make you feel a certain way and another can lead you down an entirely different path? Do you ever break down the story and question how and why the reporter does this? Do you ever note the emotive language used, note what is included and what is left out? I do frequently. I like to see how different sources report the same story, I also like to analyse how potentially I am being manipulated. What is the agenda? What do they gain?
To answer this, all you have to do is look at who owns the big media houses, to see who exactly is pulling the strings and how this is filtered down to the newsroom at each publication. Do a quick google search to see who owns and runs these publications and you can discover that the vast majority are privately educated white men, who also happen to be billionaires. Are you aware that these billionaire owners fund political parties or are sympathetic to certain political parties and therefore have a very real agenda in their reporting about certain parties, that parties belief and people publicly for or against those parties? The results are staggering and so few people care enough to research where they are getting their news from, a subconscious manipulation does not occur or matter to them. I struggle all the time to know where best to obtain my facts and I like to read around a few places to try and experience a well rounded account, however, I understand that not everyone approaches news in the same way.
Given that a lot of the billionaire owners help to fund political parties, can a newspaper ever be objective if they are tied into the political world in this way? There are 6 billionaires as voting majority shareholders for most of the UK national newspapers, would you find it surprising to learn that most backed the conservative campaign in the last general election? The conservative party, who reduced the top tax rate and want to reduce it even further, giving millionaires and billionaires massive tax breaks.
(I have included a link to a concise table of what political parties the UK newspapers backed / were sympathetic to in the 2019 general election: Read the Link )
Now go back in time and read some of the articles published during the campaign and the obvious political bias is staggering.
Hardly the biggest surprise, but the media relies heavily on corporate advertising, several whistle blowers have described experiences of being censored when reporting against some of the advertising big hitters, the Levenson enquiry highlighted several controversial areas of the press particularly in relation to Rupert Murdoch. So what has all this got to do with feminism and sexism? Advertisers in their agenda to sell, rely on the deconstruction of feminism; techniques are frequently adopted to highlight women’s insecurities In a bid to sell more efficiently. As a female who is active on social media I am bombarded with ads to better and alter my appearance, they are destructive and negative and there very rarely seems to be a pure celebration of contentedness. Women are repeatedly objectified and pigeon holed, and the ones that try to step out from this often get reported negatively and are publicly belittled. We are living in a patriarchal society, that likes to put people neatly in their boxes and ultimately their places, breaking out from stereotypes is difficult and my experiences with gender stereotyping is both infuriating and suffocating.
I would love to see a different approach to the reporting of women, I would also love to see a change in advertising techniques towards and about women. I believe this is integral to modernise the media and represent women appropriately. Many reporters tend to be cut from the same cloth – university educated, white and living in London. There is a bubble created when you are surrounded by like minded peers, who perhaps don’t really have an understanding of how ‘others’ live, especially in austerity ridden Britain. A large proportion of these reporters are male and women are heavily under-represented in the advertising and journalism world. How can you represent and report accurately in the media if it is so outside of your own lifestyle and life experiences?
There is hope, however, and many alternative media resources are available if you look for them. Discussions about gender are becoming more accessible. As a female I feel much more confident to speak my truth and question the inequality that I have known all of my life. Boundaries are lessening and voices are growing – feminism is no longer a dirty word, the movement is growing; equality is the goal and communication is the key. Let’s keep the conversation going.