Academic journal article Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table

Media Impact on Girls in the US, China and India through a Gendered Filter

Academic journal article Forum on Public Policy: A Journal of the Oxford Round Table

Media Impact on Girls in the US, China and India through a Gendered Filter

Article excerpt


While infanticide or sex selective abortion in rural areas of the world may seem to have little to do with a famous musician domestic abuser from the first world who avoids criminal punishment while being applauded and glamourized, the message going out to girls is consistent: they are not valued in the same way that boys are. The media that influences girls throughout the world generally originates in the West, and is almost always created and disseminated by males. Media that is not solely a Western creation is often a simple mimicry of existing media. In poverty-stricken neighborhoods, best-intentioned media campaigns dot the landscape of billboard signage, and community programs abound. These large signs may tout the importance of education, with the simple positive intention of encouraging children to pursue it. However, if their schools are dangerous, lack basic resources, or the children do not have transportation, the likelihood of the message having any impact is dubious at best.

Even rural areas of the world with little access to media reflect Western influence, messages that are primarily generated by males. In the Western world, whether or not children have access to broadcast media, messages filter out to them in a mostly negative way. Even when living physically close to an affluent neighborhood, the child's personal situation of poverty, violence, poor hygiene, and poor physical or mental health changes little if there is not a middle entity to help implement changes, especially when there are no means to do so. Women leaders in globalized government are scarce, which makes advocating for public policy a great challenge to constituents that are action oriented.

Whether first world or third world media and messages are analyzed, one factor remains constant: Girls are told who they should be and who they should seek to become primarily through the lens of males, and most often those messages come through media and a Western male framework. This article takes a closer look at two particular areas of the world's media: China and India as reflected though a Western (mostly U.S.) lens.

The United States, specifically Hollywood, is well known for its creation of entertainment that is sold worldwide. However, a look at two countries that not only purchase and disseminate Hollywood created media but create a substantial amount of their own media gives a more globalized view, and how (in China's case, specifically) government control of media and advertising can have an effect on girls. These government "controls" appear in extreme forms (what may be seen as too lax in one area of the world, or in another almost entirely controlled by government entities). Integrating women's voices as part of mainstream media is a matter of globalized public policy. A not-so-subtle gender discrimination continues to support a foundation where is it next to impossible to create actionable change. An incredible financial investment has been made on the part of corporations to sell to the world's children, and have used every available method to reach the greatest number, regardless of the consequences.

Rational Choice Theory

Rational Choice Theory as explained by Whistler and Ellickson (2010) posited that women who are in politics (United States Legislators) will like men, be influenced by personal economic benefits of the policy put before the government for vote, rather than be guided by what has been described as an "ethic of caring" as a single factor. Without intention, female leaders are biased by their economic standing. While this study found that like men in similar positions of power or in competitive occupations, women are less supportive for the policies that would be considered "caring" policies. However, regardless of their personal economic status, women political leaders continue to be focused on representing women and the issues that are important to them. …

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