As 2013 comes to a close, we can't help but take time to reflect on the past year. We think about everything that's happened over the last 12 months: the major geopolitical events, the deaths and births in our popular culture, and the tragic world news that we couldn't ignore even if we tried. We re-examine them and we try to learn from them. Even at the cusp of 2014, there are important issues we're not discussing, but should. And, it seems to us that the poor treatment of women in media is one topic getting the silent treatment.
Contrary to what some male news anchors may say, women did a lot of amazing things this past year. Among them, wildly success female-lead blockbusters (Hunger Games, Gravity), Kerry Washington's Emmy nomination (the first black actress to receive a nod in almost 20 years), and groundbreaking leadership roles in journalism (Katie Couric to Yahoo!; Gwen Ifill and Judy Woodruff to Newshour). Even with so much to celebrate, these achievements were overshadowed by mainstream media's portrayal of women as objects — and fools.
To spark a conversation, The Representation Project created a video, which is essentially a highlight reel of truly disturbing clips. As a "movement that uses film and media content to expose injustices created by gender stereotypes and to shift people's consciousness towards change," the Representation Project is committed to showing us the ugly side of 2013, lest we become too nostalgic.
What's important to note is that it isn't just men who have a cavalier attitude toward rape, who discuss women as irrelevant, who create sexist roles for us in sitcoms: There's also some serious girl-on-girl crime, here. Sure, Rush Limbaugh's inference that Beyoncé's success is based on a "bowing down" to Jay Z is horrific, but is it really so much worse than Joan Rivers publicly criticizing Adele's weight? And, what about Miley Cyrus's controversial VMA performance? It's certainly something to consider.
If discussing sexism in 2013 sounds a bit like listening to a broken record, that's because it is. Frankly, we're sick of playing it. As the Representation Project notes, we've come a long way, but this video shows that it's just not far enough. Unfortunately, the poor treatment of women in the media will likely continue to be an issue for years to come. So, in our review of 2013, we can't just sweep this under the rug. We MUST meditate on how we can make things better next year.