Feminism and Gender Sensitivity in Media

During the early times, women were deprived in their social, economic and political status. They were looked upon as men’s accessory and are always confined to the domestic domain. This situation gave birth to the idea of feminism. What is feminism? It is the policy, practice or drive on imposing equal rights of women in the community, may it be socially, economically or politically. It is the doctrine that maintains the equality of the sexes, an advocacy of women’s rights. It does not totally push the female gender above the male, yet it concentrates on female side than the male.

Since women were seemingly not that significant (in terms of societal role) than men before, their role in the news is either a victim of rape or a prostitute. Daring photos of them were inconsiderably printed in the papers, some even in the front page. This humiliation was, of course, not accepted by the society, mostly the women because such actions degrade the female sex. Gender sensitivity in reporting is the solution the press media came up with. It is the attitude which gives importance to the sexes involved in a story. Gender is not highlighted in the report, thus making it fair.

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It is not only applicable to the news, but also to the people behind the news. The job and beats were equally divided to the men and women. Feminism is worldwide and can be applied to different terms and standings, while gender sensitivity in reporting focuses only on news that is sent out in public. Gender sensitivity in reporting may be considered a variety of feminism, but it does not emphasize the women’s right alone because it is not gender-bias unlike feminism which deals on the women’s point of view. Ironically, feminism itself may seem to be unfair to the other gender.

Gender sensitivity exercises neutrality, while feminism takes the women’s side. The former gives importance to both men and women and the latter does the opposite, taking the women’s part. The use of language and context can heavily influence public opinion. A feminist way of reporting can instill feminist ideas to society. Though not all, some notions of feminism can distort one’s image of the opposite sex; thus generating another gender-stereotype. A rape story focusing on the ‘victim’ stereotypes the female as the weaker sex; whereas on the suspect, when details are too featured, may turn the ‘male’ stereotype as the hostile sex.

Too much embroidery of stories may acquire negative perceptions towards men; which may become the mainstream. Feminist reporting simply does not give impartiality, which is a characteristic in reporting. Hnce, gender-sensitive reporting is the idyllic approach in responsible journalism. (1992). Feminism. In Webster’s Dictionary of the English Language (p. 346). New York: Lexicon Publications, Inc. Haslanger, Sally, Tuana, Nancy, O’Connor, & Peg. (2003, February 7). Topics in Feminism. Retrieved August 4, 2011, from www. plato. stanford. edu: http://plato. stanford. edu/entries/feminism-topics/

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