Seems like an obvious statement. In the eighties we would have said “no duh!” Yet, the fact is, most cultures–ours included–have created structures that serve to alienate, denigrate, punish, contain, stultify, objectify, and just plain use women. Media helps propagate these structures.
Sometimes it can bring attention to those structures, and to the injustices women face simply because of their sex. To whit, this essay by Joss Whedon:
A few of you may know that I took public exception to the billboard campaign for this film, which showed a concise narrative of the kidnapping, torture and murder of a sexy young woman. I wanted to see if the film was perhaps more substantial (especially given the fact that it was directed by “The Killing Fields” Roland Joffe) than the exploitive ad campaign had painted it. The trailer resembles nothing so much as the CNN story on Dua Khalil. Pretty much all you learn is that Elisha Cuthbert is beautiful, then kidnapped, inventively, repeatedly and horrifically tortured, and that the first thing she screams is “I’m sorry”. “I’m sorry.” What is wrong with women? I mean wrong. Physically. Spiritually. Something unnatural, something destructive, something that needs to be corrected. How did more than half the people in the world come out incorrectly? I have spent a good part of my life trying to do that math, and I’m no closer to a viable equation. And I have yet to find a culture that doesn’t buy into it. Women’s inferiority – in fact, their malevolence — is as ingrained in American popular culture as it is anywhere they’re sporting burkhas. I find it in movies, I hear it in the jokes of colleagues, I see it plastered on billboards, and not just the ones for horror movies. Women are weak. Women are manipulative. Women are somehow morally unfinished. (Objectification: another tangential rant avoided.) And the logical extension of this line of thinking is that women are, at the very least, expendable.
I would urge you to read his entire post. I would also urge you to check in with the following sites for information on issues that effect over half the human species.
Thanks to Amanda at Pandagon for bringing my attention to the Joss Whedon piece.