NOW Foundation to Launch Major Media Campaign
By Lisa Bennett, Communications Director
NOW photo by Holly Manning
Megs Callahan protests at the FCC hearings in Washington, D.C., where NOW Foundation President Kim Gandy testified about media ownership by women and people of color, and the responsibility of television and broadcasters to serve their local communities.
Have you had it with the media? Fed up with turning on the political talk shows and seeing only men around the table? Tired of the press discussing Hillary Clinton's cleavage, her voice, her laugh -- anything but the real issues? Outraged by sexist, racist, homophobic slurs on the public airwaves?
Well, we are, too. That's why NOW Foundation and NOW are launching a major media campaign in the coming months.
It goes without saying that women will not be truly equal until we have full and fair representation in the media. As far back as 1966, NOW's founders were talking about the impact of media on women's lives and recognized that changing images of women in media would require fighting on multiple fronts.
What would truly equal media look like? Well, it would include many more women media owners and high-level executives (not just a token few), and a greater proportion of women in decision-making roles (like news directors) and high-visibility positions (like network anchors). Not to mention more women experts weighing in on the big issues of the day on political talk shows and newspaper op-ed pages. Issues important to women would be covered more often and with greater emphasis and depth.
More TV shows and movies would portray women as real, multi-dimensional people worthy of respect, not just arm candy for men or rape/murder victims. There would be more music and web sites that don't rely on humiliating women and girls for fun and profit.
Finally, we're not just talking about reforming mainstream media, but also creating and utilizing alternative forms of media and guaranteeing that all women have access to these critical information sources -- like high speed Internet.
Media access also is important because the media affect all the other issues close to feminists' hearts. We cannot advocate effectively for pay equity or violence prevention, for example, if all the public gets is one-sided analysis and inaccurate information.
With so much to cover and so many people eager to talk about the media's powerful role in our society, NOW Foundation decided it was the right time to join NOW in launching a multi-faceted media campaign.
A centerpiece of this new campaign will be a media blog by NOW Foundation staff that will tackle all kinds of media: TV programming, newspapers, magazines, radio, Internet, books, all forms of advertising, video games -- you name it! We will single out examples of media that degrade women and girls and those that uplift. The blog and the whole campaign will promote awareness, stimulate conversation and inspire action.
Speaking of action, the campaign will reach beyond its online home -- into communities across the country where activists can take their demands to their local TV and radio stations, newspapers, even the streets! NOW Foundation will provide the tools women and men need to help educate others and make a real impact on media justice. Stay tuned for the campaign premiere at www.nowfoundation.org.