Is There Gender Bias in the Media

I believe that there are still huge strides that need to occur to reverse the obvious gender bias in the media. A yearly report, called The Status of Women in the U.S. Media shows us that with many staggering statistics about the media todayThe study goes over news, television, radio, sports journalism, film, video-games, social media, and more.

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The report shows that gender representation by percentage in newspaper newsrooms has actually gone down, from being 36.9% women in 1999 to 36.3% in 2013, as shown by the graph shown.

In addition to that, men had three times as many page 1 quotes in The New York Times as woman did. This shows the direct link that media creator’s biases do really affect the media they create.

When we look at television, the results are just as troubling. As you can see below, even major Sunday talk show guest are 75% men. That’s crazy! No surpise then that the tally of TV station general managers was 17.8% in 2013 (and that is 1.5 percent down from 2012.)Screenshot 2014-02-20 23.13.49

In the 2012 Associated Press Sports Editors Racial and Gender Report it was shown that only 14.6% of the total staff in the field of sports journalism were women, and only 9.6% of the sports editors were women.

In movies, you might think that they are getting better, due to the rise of female-driven movies like The Hunger Games and The Heat. Sorry, but you would be wrong. Out of the top 100 movies this year only two had female directors. They were the remake of Carrie and the Disney animated movie Frozen. That means that the 98 other movies were directed by only dudes, and did I mention that Frozen was directed by two people and the other director was male. There might be a small problem in this. 

There were other good movies in 2013 directed by women like Enough Said, The To-Do List, In a World, and Blackfish, but they were all indie movies. Studios are not giving these talented directors large budget commercial films after they prove that they are good at what they do.

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In other movie news, only 28.4 of characters in the top 100 movies of 2012 were women. In everyday life about 50% of people are women, but why not in movies? And when females are on screen, there is also a strong chance that they are sexualized or exposed. Yay, Hollywood (sarcasm.)

We can’t even find solace in Television, the former home of Tina Fey and Lucille Ball. The saddest thing about the next graph is nothing is to remember it never get past 25%.

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In animation, it is the same way and they aren’t even hiring real actors. Animated children’s programing is literally drawing in inequality.

Not even actors are safe, and the public is fully aware of what they do. They are literally saying that top female actors are not worth as much as the top male actors.

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Overall, the media has a long way to go when it comes to gender equality both in front of and behind the scenes, and the scariest statistics are that it is even getting worse. I hope that you would read the full report, as it is actually pretty interesting and is a lot more in depth than my post. It is at

The ‘Other’ in TV Comedies

Diversity in the media is and will be a topic that keeps on coming up because the media reflects our society. How ‘the other’ is presented reflects how we as a society view social norms. To make this point clear, lets look at the history of tv sitcoms. First, lets look at the idealistic Brady Bunch or The Andy Griffith Show. In these shows ‘the other’ (anyone that isn’t fit in the majority) is either marginalized or downright ignored.

The Andy Griffith Show
The Brady Bunch












ln these shows, we are only shown white, well-off, healthy, educated, and straight happy people whose biggest problems include finding the courtroom is full of dogs (Seriously thats the plot of Season 3, Episode 30 of The Andy Griffith Show.) ‘The other’ wasn’t just unrepresented, it was completely ignored.

When African-Americans were shown, such as the show Amos n’ Andy, it was stereotypical and racist against them. Amos n’ Andy, one of the first shows with an African-American cast, was based on a popular radio program in which all the stars were voiced by white dudes.

Then, eventually, ‘the other’ gets represented as actual people. For example, shows like The Jeffersons and eventually The Cosby Show, showed African-Americans whose main characteristic isn’t that they are black. And while the so-called black comedy only lives on basic cable, shows like New Girl and Brooklyn Nine-Nine show multiple people of color, where they don’t ignore race, but it’s just one out of hundreds of characteristics of it’s characters.

You can see this path of presentation in almost every different ‘other’ group. Just look at the LGBT community.  First, they were ignored on television. Then when they did show up, the biggest thing about them was that they were gay. Shows like Friends (that had a wedding between Susan and Carol, where the brides don’t kiss) and Will and Grace, while trying to be progressive, were just stepping stones to get to non-stereotypical representations.

Now you can watch shows like Orange is the New Black, Shameless, Brooklyn Nine-Nine (again) or the recently canceled Happy Endings, to see great layered gay characters on TV comedies.

Is ‘the other’ presented perfectly on tv? No, but there are a lot of signs that show that we are getting there. There is no longer an excuse that shows that aren’t filled with just white dudes can succeed.

But this doesn’t just apply to tv comedies. In other media, 2013 was the first year that a female-driven movie (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire) was the biggest box-office hit, and Scandal (a tv drama featuring a African-American female lead and a gay Chief of Staff to the President of the United States) was one of the highest rated tv show of the year.