By Samuel G.
For almost all of time, and even now, we are living in a world that seems to cater to men, and seemingly gives them the right to act and be superior to women. Yet, this is clearly not true and the further we go into the future, the more people see that no one gender is better than the other, and shouldn't get preferential treatment. I like to think that we have made a lot of progress, but an easy way to see how far we haven't come is to look at how women are portrayed in the media. Look at almost any section of TV and you can almost always find an example of male preference; talk shows, news programs, sitcoms and even children shows, you name it and women are probably not being portrayed as entirely equal. On the surface some of these things seem harmless, a laugh at the expense of a nagging girlfriend, but when looked at closely, and how they really effect how people see women, it becomes a much deeper problem. It's not just about late night sitcoms or talk shows that perpetrate this as a study showed that “Male characters occur roughly at twice the rate of female characters in television created for children.”(Smith, Stacy L., Dr, and Crystal Allene Cook.
"Gender Stereotypes: An Analysis of Popular Films and TV." (2008)). While the woman here aren't necessarily being portrayed as negative, they are still being criminally under represented, and the fact is that male children do not outnumber female children by double their amount, so they really shouldn't need double the representation. This only further drags along the notion that male lead characters are better than females, and when you are showing this to kids, it sticks with them and lets them think that for the rest of their life. A lack of female lead characters has to start somewhere, and if we don't give children equal programming, it will only get worse. That's only the beginning of the problem though, when looking at talk shows, news programs and sitcoms, the real sexism comes out to show it's face. They are over sexualized, underrepresented and not taken seriously; for example in a recent television season “women comprised 25 percent of all creators, executive producers, producers, directors, writers, editors and directors of photography working on situation comedies, drama and reality programs,"(Ryan, Maureen.
"Women, Sexism and Hollywood: A Look at the Numbers." The Watcher. N.p., 13 July 2010. Web. 15 Nov. 2013). Think about that for a second; for every three male talents hired, only one female was hired. Which, unsurprisingly, carries over to how the content is produced and the women portrayed. Instead of intelligent protagonists who can think for themselves, on prime time television, sitcoms especially, they are more portrayed as nagging creatures who are only good for love and sex. Many shows feature a generic cast of twenty something guys, trying to have sex with anything that walks and has breasts, while a woman centric shows featuring the same innate plot are much less frequent, popular and likely to stay around. This is due mainly to the male preference television still holds and the notion that people want to see men chasing around women, but not so much the other way around. You can find exceptions to this sure, but as it stands there is a distinct maleness to most things on prime time television. It's the writing too though, these shows could produce something worthwhile with something to say if they had equal writing crews, but instead you have the same guys who created the idiotic frat boys writing the female characters, with terrible results. Just because a show is about white males doesn't mean it has to be sexist and brain dead, but that's just how it usually turns out due to a lack of diversity in the writing room. If we get more talent behind the scenes, then I believe things will improve on screen as well, for “females make up a third of prime time television characters, but for every five men that have careers in science, technology or math-related fields, there is only one female character in such a profession.” (Castanza, Justine.
"Sexist Portrayals Of Women Still Dominate Prime Time TV: Study."International Business Times. N.p., 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 14 Oct. 2013). Actresses need equal talent behind the scenes as well, so they can stop having to act like idiots only capable of the most mundane jobs. Girls need role models to look up to and in today’s age, those role models come from the TV. If all they see are constant reaffirmations that they aren't as good as men and can't get the same jobs as them, that's what they will eventually become in their own minds. We need to focus on empowering minds, not enslaving them with such idiotic thoughts for the sake of a useless television program that no one will ever remember. Women can be just as funny, intelligent and poignant as any man and the only way to convince people of this is to give intelligent female centric programs a chance, and to get the balance of hiring much more equal. After all, this isn't just entertainment anymore, but something that effects the very culture of our society, which should never be taken so lightly.