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Portrayals of Women in Media- 
Indian Context 
30th September 2014 
Mira K Desai, PhD 
Associate Professor and I/C Head 
U...
Outline for the Day 
• Society- Men and Women and third Gender 
• Women in Indian society 
• What and Which of Media? 
• W...
1,18,59,58,045 people
50% 
Women 
Source: http://colleenandmichael.blogspot.in/2010/11/amritsar-funny-walks-and-holy-place.html
SOCIETY 
MEN
MAN WOMAN
Third Gender
INDIAN 
WOMEN
Women like YOU and Me!!
We all Consume MEDIA……
MEDIA can be for……. 
Individual 
Group 
Mass
Audio- Visual 
Media
Audio Media
Visual 
Media
Visual Media
Out Of 
House Media
Out of House Media
New Media
Media & Entertainment Industry…??!! 
• Advertising {OOH, Direct marketing, PR…} 
• Broadcast, Cable, DTH, IPTV 
• Filmed E...
Indian Media Journey in Numbers 
MEDIA THEN NOW 
Newspapers 
and Periodicals 
3000 in 1947 including 
300 dailies 
93,985 ...
Women - Media 
• Women who work in Media (professionals) 
• Women who use Media (as audiences) 
• Women as shown in Media ...
WOMEN as MEDIA Audiences
Women in Audio Visual Media 
• ACTRESSES: Who are TV/Films characters 
• NEWS-PRESENTERS: Those who are anchors, 
read/wri...
Women as Performers 
In front of Camera - Behind Camera 
With lots of clothes - Without clothes
Women as 
Presenters
Women as 
Technicians
Women as News Subjects
GMMP- Gender Media Monitoring 
Project (www.whomakesnews.org) 
• FOUR: 1995, 2000, 2005, 2009/10 
• GMMP 2009/10 on 10 Nov...
WOMEN in NEWS….as 
News 
Providers/ 
Sources 
Media 
Professionals 
News 
Subjects 
Portrayal in news
GMMP 2009/10 
• Sample: 6,902 news items and 14,044 news subjects, 
including people interviewed in the news. 
• Themes: P...
Global – Local….GMMP 2010 
GMMP 
Global 
GMMP 
India 
GMMP 
Mumbai 
News subjects Women 
Males 
24% 
76% 
22% 
78% 
20% 
7...
ROLES attached to SEX 
WOMEN 
• Mother 
• Wife 
• Sister 
• Daughter 
• Daughter-in-law 
• Mother-in-law 
• Sister-in-law ...
QUALITIES expected of SEXES 
WOMEN 
• Passive 
• Submissive 
• Domesticated 
• Delicate 
• Pretty 
• Cute 
• Caring 
MEN 
...
Behaviour expected from SEX 
WOMEN 
• Agree with what 
others say 
• Behave as 
expected in a 
given role 
• Defined 
boun...
Valuation attached to SEX 
WOMEN 
• What they do in 
house is not of 
much value 
• If she is working 
outside and 
indepe...
On TELEVISION ……
IN 
REAL 
…LIFE
Why difference in these women!!! 
• Media likes to show women as suffering, 
sacrificing, submissive, silent, subdued, 
pa...
Social construction of Gender 
INSTITUTIONS 
• Family 
• Education 
• Religion 
• Caste 
• State 
• Media 
• Market 
ISSUE...
MEDIA- What does it do? 
• MIRRORs the Society….. 
• Creates MARKET by selling you ideas, 
products, services….. 
• MEDIAT...
Portrayals of Women 
• Mainly as news subjects 
• Sensationalisation and objectification 
• Glorified in certain roles lik...
Women as Communicators 
• Novelists 
• Journalists 
• Writers 
• Directors 
• Producers 
• Financers 
• Painters 
• Sculpt...
Women as Communicators
Women Communicators
Media to Women 
• Media creates definitions about: 
What women should wear? 
When and where women should move? 
How should...
Media creates Gender definitions 
• Man should be metro-sexual. 
• Woman should be sexy. 
• Woman should be size ZERO. 
• ...
Media stereotypes Gender realities 
• Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law 
always fight, What about Father –Son? 
• Women ca...
Media perpetuates Gender existences 
• Women are dying to get male attention. 
• Women need to look ‘beautiful’. 
• Woman ...
Indian Television…. 
• More diverse portrayals 
• Soaps reinforce culture maintenance 
responsibilities on women and stere...
Indian Films….. 
• Commodification………..Stereotyping………….. 
Objectification…….Role setting 
• Setting parameters of qualiti...
New Media: Ray of HOPE 
• New media- Internet, mobile provides 
space for women 
• Women are voicing, making issues 
visib...
What happens because of such 
Portrayals? 
• Invisibility of women 
• Marginalisation of women’s work 
• Socialisation of ...
We must……
Gender N Media: Resources 
• Media and Gender: A Scholarly Agenda for the Global 
Alliance on Media and Gender, co-edited ...
How should the Portrayal be? 
• Women as human being 
• Women having her aspirations, needs, life 
• Women as equal partne...
THANK YOU 
for your TIME 
feel free to connect@ 
drmiradesai@gmail.com 
sndtmedia@hotmail.com
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Women and Media

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Women and Media

  1. 1. Portrayals of Women in Media- Indian Context 30th September 2014 Mira K Desai, PhD Associate Professor and I/C Head University Department of Extension Education SNDT Women’s University Juhu Campus, Mumbai
  2. 2. Outline for the Day • Society- Men and Women and third Gender • Women in Indian society • What and Which of Media? • Women and Media • How are women portrayed in media? • Role-Qualities-Behaviour-Valuation of Sexes = Social construction of Gender • What happens because of such portrayals? • Conclusion
  3. 3. 1,18,59,58,045 people
  4. 4. 50% Women Source: http://colleenandmichael.blogspot.in/2010/11/amritsar-funny-walks-and-holy-place.html
  5. 5. SOCIETY MEN
  6. 6. MAN WOMAN
  7. 7. Third Gender
  8. 8. INDIAN WOMEN
  9. 9. Women like YOU and Me!!
  10. 10. We all Consume MEDIA……
  11. 11. MEDIA can be for……. Individual Group Mass
  12. 12. Audio- Visual Media
  13. 13. Audio Media
  14. 14. Visual Media
  15. 15. Visual Media
  16. 16. Out Of House Media
  17. 17. Out of House Media
  18. 18. New Media
  19. 19. Media & Entertainment Industry…??!! • Advertising {OOH, Direct marketing, PR…} • Broadcast, Cable, DTH, IPTV • Filmed Entertainment • Print- Newspapers, Magazines • Publishing- Books • Radio • Upcoming convergent platforms- Mobile and telecom, Gaming, Internet & Social networking….
  20. 20. Indian Media Journey in Numbers MEDIA THEN NOW Newspapers and Periodicals 3000 in 1947 including 300 dailies 93,985 registered publications by Dec 2012 Television Two-hour/day transmission on ONE channel and 41 TV Sets in 1962 850 channels with 24X7 telecast and from 127 million in 2008 to 253 million households in 2010 Films 280 films in 1947 and had 150 theatres in 1921 1250 productions in 2010 having 13000 Cinema halls Radio 1 AM radio channel in 1947 Multiple Stations: AM , FM, Community, Campus Internet Inception in 1995, 4.55 million users in 2004 160 ISPs, 71 million ‘claimed’ users
  21. 21. Women - Media • Women who work in Media (professionals) • Women who use Media (as audiences) • Women as shown in Media (subjects) • Women’s media ( media created by women) • Women who work for those who work in media (Support services- makeup, hair, catering, stylists, etc.)
  22. 22. WOMEN as MEDIA Audiences
  23. 23. Women in Audio Visual Media • ACTRESSES: Who are TV/Films characters • NEWS-PRESENTERS: Those who are anchors, read/write news, interviews people on screen • PRODUCERS & DIRECTORS: Women who make TV/Film/Newspaper content • TECHNICIANS: Women camerapersons, sound-engineers, assistants, workers • NEWS SUBJECTS: Any woman shown as news subject (who can be any woman)
  24. 24. Women as Performers In front of Camera - Behind Camera With lots of clothes - Without clothes
  25. 25. Women as Presenters
  26. 26. Women as Technicians
  27. 27. Women as News Subjects
  28. 28. GMMP- Gender Media Monitoring Project (www.whomakesnews.org) • FOUR: 1995, 2000, 2005, 2009/10 • GMMP 2009/10 on 10 November 2009 • Volunteer groups in 130 countries across the world monitored national newspapers, listened to radio newscasts and watched local television • Findings of the representation and portrayal of women and men in news media around the world across cultures/languages/countries
  29. 29. WOMEN in NEWS….as News Providers/ Sources Media Professionals News Subjects Portrayal in news
  30. 30. GMMP 2009/10 • Sample: 6,902 news items and 14,044 news subjects, including people interviewed in the news. • Themes: Politics/government dominate the biggest chunk of coverage (27% of the total number of stories), crime/violence comes second at 20%, and the economy third at 18%. • People: 24% of the people interviewed, heard, seen or read about in mainstream broadcast and print news are female; only 16% of all stories focus specifically on women. • Change: GMMP 1995 recorded only 17% of the people in the news were women which became 24%. ONLY 7% rise in visibility of women in last 15 years.
  31. 31. Global – Local….GMMP 2010 GMMP Global GMMP India GMMP Mumbai News subjects Women Males 24% 76% 22% 78% 20% 74% Women news reporters 37% 34% 14% Women central stories 13% 12% 8% Gender policy reference 10% 9% 6% Highlighting G. equality 6% 5% 8%
  32. 32. ROLES attached to SEX WOMEN • Mother • Wife • Sister • Daughter • Daughter-in-law • Mother-in-law • Sister-in-law MEN • Father • Husband • Brother • Son • Son-in-law • Father-in-law • Brother-in-law
  33. 33. QUALITIES expected of SEXES WOMEN • Passive • Submissive • Domesticated • Delicate • Pretty • Cute • Caring MEN • Active • Aggressive • Daring • Stud • Strong • Tough • In-Charge
  34. 34. Behaviour expected from SEX WOMEN • Agree with what others say • Behave as expected in a given role • Defined boundaries of movement MEN • Take control of situation • Lead others and given discounts to women as stupid • Can do anything
  35. 35. Valuation attached to SEX WOMEN • What they do in house is not of much value • If she is working outside and independent she is ignoring family MEN • IF they do any work in house they are obliging women • If he is working from home, helping wife, he is good husband
  36. 36. On TELEVISION ……
  37. 37. IN REAL …LIFE
  38. 38. Why difference in these women!!! • Media likes to show women as suffering, sacrificing, submissive, silent, subdued, passive individual driven by others. • Media creates stereotypes of mother-daughter- wife-sister which fits into subordinate roles. • Media promotes women as body- worker without strength- person without own power.
  39. 39. Social construction of Gender INSTITUTIONS • Family • Education • Religion • Caste • State • Media • Market ISSUES Role Qualities Behaviour Valuation CONTROLS • Fertility • Labour • Mobility • Property • Resources • Sexuality
  40. 40. MEDIA- What does it do? • MIRRORs the Society….. • Creates MARKET by selling you ideas, products, services….. • MEDIATES experiences of its audiences…. • Provides MYTHs…..Circulates and sustains them…… • CREATES definitions of NORMAL
  41. 41. Portrayals of Women • Mainly as news subjects • Sensationalisation and objectification • Glorified in certain roles like mothers • Most often as a body rather than a PERSON • Usually to support the sex stereotypes • Usually silent, passive, not important person • Most often shown in house and if shown outside house than in domesticated roles
  42. 42. Women as Communicators • Novelists • Journalists • Writers • Directors • Producers • Financers • Painters • Sculpture artists • Poets • Singers • Dancers • Actresses • Folk Artists • Presenters • Anchors • Photographers
  43. 43. Women as Communicators
  44. 44. Women Communicators
  45. 45. Media to Women • Media creates definitions about: What women should wear? When and where women should move? How should women behave? • Media stereotypes Gender realities. • Media perpetuates Gender existences. • Media conditions gendered experiences.
  46. 46. Media creates Gender definitions • Man should be metro-sexual. • Woman should be sexy. • Woman should be size ZERO. • Girls are cute/vulnerable/sweet. • Man can/should control women. • Man is the head of the household. • Woman have to/must marry.
  47. 47. Media stereotypes Gender realities • Mother-in-law and daughter-in-law always fight, What about Father –Son? • Women can’t be friends to each other, how many friendships do you have!! • Husband has a ‘rights’ over the wife, What about rights of the wife? • Children are mother’s responsibility, are not they joint responsibility?
  48. 48. Media perpetuates Gender existences • Women are dying to get male attention. • Women need to look ‘beautiful’. • Woman are body and man are brain. • Woman can not survive without man. • When woman say NO it is yes? • Woman has no SAY in decisions of her life! • Woman’s first priority is HOME.
  49. 49. Indian Television…. • More diverse portrayals • Soaps reinforce culture maintenance responsibilities on women and stereotypes • News objectifies women and highlights expected roles • Women as victims and women against women are highlighted
  50. 50. Indian Films….. • Commodification………..Stereotyping………….. Objectification…….Role setting • Setting parameters of qualities, behaviour, valuation for men-women • Lesser proportion of films showing women in ‘control’ of their life • Women directors did not make much difference but the change is due…..
  51. 51. New Media: Ray of HOPE • New media- Internet, mobile provides space for women • Women are voicing, making issues visible, changing direction of discourses • Newer occupations are emerging- food bloggers, social media specialists, Cross-country researchers, Doctors without borders, Alternate Media reporters…..
  52. 52. What happens because of such Portrayals? • Invisibility of women • Marginalisation of women’s work • Socialisation of young girls/women • Definitions of ‘NORMal’ • Provides public sanction to men • Numbness or Desensitisation of people towards women and women’s issues
  53. 53. We must……
  54. 54. Gender N Media: Resources • Media and Gender: A Scholarly Agenda for the Global Alliance on Media and Gender, co-edited by IAMCR and UNESCO, 2013 URL: http://iamcr.org/publications/special/media-and-gender • Gender-Sensitive Indicators for Media: Draft Framework of Indicators to Gauge Gender Sensitivity in Media Operations and Content- March 2012, URL: http://www.unesco.org/new/ • Getting the balance right: Gender equality in journalism, 2009, URL: http://portal.unesco.org • Gender sensitivity: a training manual for sensitizing education managers, curriculum and material developers and media professionals to gender concerns, 2004 URL: www.unesco.org
  55. 55. How should the Portrayal be? • Women as human being • Women having her aspirations, needs, life • Women as equal partners of civilization • Women respected for ‘what she is’ rather than ‘what she should be’ • Society having men and women as equal partners • Changing not only the media but also the ‘minds’
  56. 56. THANK YOU for your TIME feel free to connect@ drmiradesai@gmail.com sndtmedia@hotmail.com

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