The rankings of newspapers on coverage of women in the Women, Men, and Media study underscored this point. Apart from their relative absence in the news, the images of women in other areas of mass communications have come under attack. Researchers consistently have found the portrayal of women in advertisements at stereotypical levels. These facts explain the entertainment nature of contemporary magazines aimed to bring pleasure and delight instead of education and informing functions (Biagi 35). Since the future can only be understood in terms of the past, it may be instructive to quickly note the history of women's efforts to influence media content.
Feminists have been trying for one hundred years to attack the pervasive stereotypes used in media portrayals of women as well as the frequent absence of women from media coverage, with its implicit message that women are not important. It appears that women today continue to strive for a "fairer" depiction in the mass media (Lester 91). Yet depiction varies widely, depending on what segment of the total women's audience is being addressed. The examples of WHO and Girlfriend show that women's audience is split along age, class, racial, lifestyle, and cultural lines.
Feminists themselves break into separate political groups. Numerous problems arise in attempting to decide what "fair" depiction should be, especially in an advertiser-dominated, male-controlled media structure (Biagi 38). Because entertainment often is at the margins of culture, there is a tendency on the part of politicians and social critics to condemn it. Yet it remains our greatest hope for new props and the enhancement of the popular culture. By contrast, sports has transformed itself into extraordinary commercialism, often more business than a mecca for sports heroes.
More importantly, it idealized the diversity and creativity of its audiences and stimulated their imaginations. However, as an art form that depended on ticket sales for its success, its descents into profit-taking made film industry to attack for debasing the popular culture.
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