by Faith Ongeziwe Qinga
The media portrays women in a stereotypical fashion. Turn on your television to watch a soapie and you will see how often women play characters that depict them as emotional beings and incompetent in professional working environments, as opposed to their male counterparts.
Women are weak, women are fragile, and women cannot be married and succeed in their profession
are some of the common stereotypes you find in media. Women are capable of performing tasks that require hard labour and can perform exceptionally well in male-dominated industries.
At work, I saw a lady dressed in a navy overall fixing the lights at the corridors and I couldn’t help but say “Yes, ghel” as I walked past. I, myself use a plunger whenever the sink blocks at the flat. Piece of cake if you ask me, as compared to the house chores that are reserved for women. Cooking, doing laundry, washing dishes, thorough cleaning. Dear gentlemen, now that is hard labour!
All humans are emotional, women reason and think logically.
“Unmarried scientist the first female to blah blah blah” are some of the headlines I’m anticipating as we approach women’s month. Dear media practitioners, there are plenty of career-driven women who are excelling at their family duties. How about re-looking your angles next month?
Ladies and gentleman, the problem is not lazy journalism, but rather a narrative that is not controlled by women. Let media practitioners negate prevailing stereotypes pertaining to women by putting more female writers in decision making positions in the media industry. Lizette Rabe (2002) makes reference to the portrayal of women in Eve-olution: the status of a female voice in South African media and rightfully calls on media owners to put women in editorial positions who will then control the narrative of how women should be portrayed.
As Rabe, I will also call on journalists to counteract these prevailing gender stereotypes by engaging with female reporters on what is true and what is incorrect. This will help shape the manner in which females are portrayed by media as it will talk with women, as opposed to talking for women.
The female voice is there, but it is oppressed because our narrative is not controlled by us.