In todays society, we are constantly surrounded by media, whether on TV, on our phones or online. The media influences and affects how we perceive the world around us, and helps to shape our understanding of people and places (Goddall, 2012). Unfortunately, the media that we consume today is saturated with stereotypes, especially issues revolving about women’s role within workplaces.
A prime example of this is Aaron Sorkin’s HBO series, ‘The Newsroom’, where many scenes ‘involve men setting women straight, men supervising women, a man teaching a woman how to use email etc.’ (Ryan, 2012). According to sources, ‘The Newsroom’ seems to enjoy putting ‘loud’ women in their place or to portray them helpless and dramatic (Lacob, 2012).
Having only watched a few short snippets of the show myself, these comments seem to be true, although Sorkin’s work in the past is seen to be very popular. Critics have said Sorkin has a habit of creating one-dimensional female characters in male-dominated settings, with references made to one of his previous works, ‘ The Social Network’ (Spencer, 2012).
This is obviously not the first show to portray women in this way, and definitely not news to anyone; this idea that, even more than men, women in broadcast news are judged on their looks. (Ryan, 2013). Julie Burton, president of the Women’s Media Centre, was quoted: “While media is the most powerful economic and cultural force today, it still falls far too short in its representation of women… the numbers demonstrate that the glass ceiling extends across all media platforms… we’re still not seeing equal participation. That means we are only using half our talent and usually hearing half of the story.” This is a very strong view on the matter, however I do feel that public stations still have work to do if their male-female journalist balance is to mirror the larger society (Marcotte, 2012).
Marcotte, M, 2013, ‘Gender Inequity in Public Media Newsrooms’, MVM Consulting, viewed 3rd May 2014, <http://www.mikemarcotte.com/2013/03/gender-inequity-in-public-media-newsrooms.html>
Ryan, M and Lacob, J, 2012, ‘“The Newsroom”: Women Problems Abound in Aaron Sorkin’s HBO Series’, Huffingtonpost.com, viewed 3rd May 2014, <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/maureen-ryan/the-newsroom-women-aaron-sorkin-hbo_b_1641982.html>
Spencer, R, 2012, ‘Are Aaron Sorkin’s women ‘silent bearers of sexism’?’, The Guardian, viewed 3rd May 2014, <http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2012/jul/02/aaron-sorkin-the-newsroom-sexism>