Media Portrayals of Girls and Women - Introduction

We all know the stereotypes—the femme fatale, the supermom, the sex kitten, the nasty corporate climber. Whatever the role, television, film and popular magazines are full of images of women and girls who are typically white, desperately thin, and made up to the hilt—even after slaying a gang of vampires or dressing down a Greek phalanx.

Many would agree that some strides have been made in how the media portray women in film, television and magazines, and that the last few decades have also seen a growth in the presence and influence of women in media behind the scenes. Nevertheless, female stereotypes continue to thrive in the media we consume every day.

This section of the site provides a snapshot of the issues around the media’s portrayal of women and girls—from effects on body image and self-identity to ramifications in sports and politics. It looks at the economic interests behind the objectification and eroticization of females by media as well as efforts to counter negative stereotyping. And it provides the latest articles and studies that explore the ways in which media both limit and empower women and girls in society.