A woman who is not a size 0, or even a size 2, rarely appears on television. She’s not in the audience, and she’s certainly not on stage. The only exceptions are if she’s a performer — then she’s allowed to be sexualized.
This is not just my opinion, but the finding of several studies over the last decade on the portrayal of women in media. A study published in Psychology of Women Quarterly found that female characters are more likely to be shown in revealing clothing or with lots of cleavage than men. The same study found that women were portrayed as sex objects 48% of the time, while men were portrayed as sex objects only 12% of the time. Another study found that male characters were more likely to be shirtless than female characters — 38% versus 24%.
According to an analysis by Media Matters for America , which tracked 1,000 hours of primetime programming from fall 2011 through spring 2012: “Female characters accounted for 39 percent of all speaking roles on broadcast networks’ new programs; males had 61 percent.” And when there were two female characters on screen together, one was almost always talking about something other than her work — like shopping or dating (or both).
Last modified: November 19, 2022