Think for a moment about what the world would look like if the positions were reversed. What if women made up the majority of governments? What if women controlled modern culture, what we see, watch, hear and read? Would it really be so bad?
The reality is, we probably won’t ever know a world like that. We would probably find it alien, strange, dystopian… maybe. So how come we are living contently in a world dominated entirely by men?
Almost everything in modern Western culture today is run entirely by men. In the UK, only 1 in 4 MPs is a woman and women from minority ethnic groups make up only 1.2% of MPs yet comprise 4% of the UK population. How can we have a government that fully represents the people of the UK when there is clearly no equal representation within positions of power in the government? The fact that we’ve had one female prime minister doesn’t mean things are equal. In hundreds and hundreds of years of having a government, we have only ever had one female prime minister. Equality? Not quite.
The massive disparity in equality within the government, and the media, is what generates the biggest gender inequality problems as these are institutes which govern our entire lives. Our governments control what we learn in school and how much we are paid in relation to each other. And media… well, media runs everything from what we wear, to how we see each other, to how we look, what we watch and listen to, even what we buy. Media tells us everything. Media teaches society how we should behave, how our relationships should go, how our lives should eventually end up. In the US, women own only 5.8% of all television stations and 6% of radio stations. That means that women control barely 10% of things shown on television and talked about on radio stations. In 2011, women comprised 18% of all directors,executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films. Whether this percentage has changed much in the last 4 years is difficult to tell, but even if it has, it most certainly will not be by much.
From these statistics, you can see just how much of the media we come into contact with every single day in controlled by men. We watch films about women and their lives that have been created and directed entirely by male production teams. We watch chick flicks that have story lines written by old white men, rather than actual women. We are constantly shoveling media down own throats which is created singularly by men, completely shrouded in ‘the male gaze’ which perpetuates an unrealistic idea of women and men in relation to what the particular director’s views on the world are. Almost everything we see is produced by men. Why do men get to choose what women should look, smell, feel, act, love, have sex like? Why do men define what a ‘real woman’ is? Why are men allowed to reject women because they are ‘too clingy’ without issue, whereas if a woman rejects a man this gives him justification to kill her? Why are men solely defining modern culture and development as if their opinions are the only ones that matter?
Why is this a problem?
It’s a problem because people continue to believe that what we see in magazines, in music videos, in mainstream media and in huge Hollywood box-office movies is what real life is like or can be like. We are taught that the images in these magazines, created by men, are what culture must be, exactly. Men do not know what it is like to be a woman, so we should stop awarding them the power to tell us how to live our lives happily as they will never know what living life as a woman is like. Women make up almost 80% of consumers, yet control 3% of all consumer businesses. Men control areas of our lives that they hardly even experience… they write columns about whether abortion should be made illegal or discussing whether women should be allowed maternity leave when they will never experience what it is like to have a child growing inside of you or what it is like to actually give birth. The most men will experience in terms of giving birth is their wife crushing their fingers as she squeezes their hand to help her get through the pain she is suffering to give birth to their child.
The problem is not that women are incapable of being strong, powerful and successful. Women have never been afraid to be on top. Men have always been afraid to let them.