Women on TV
A. Television: some can live with it, but some can’t live without it! Television has “change the nature, operation, and relationship to their audiences of books, magazines, movies and radio” (Baran, 2012, p. 205). Women on TV, is that such a problem? Many may say no, but for a very long time it was and has been a “man’s world” (cue the James Brown song…) in television land. But times are changing and women are starting to earn their rightful role in front of and behind the camera.
B. Women on TV is a very interesting topic. This topic sparked my interest due to me being a women, and potential wanting to be a news anchor on television one day very soon. I feel that you must know where you have come from, in order to know where you are going. I also like to pay homage to the many women, who have come before me so that I am able to even have an interview for a broadcasting job, or a chance to be on television. So researching this topic provided me with the insight, on the struggle it took for women to finally start making their way into the “spotlight”. I ask myself do women always have to play poor, misunderstood characters in order to receive the “spotlight”, or is the time turning, that women can empower and protect others, and still be sexy?
C. In order to know how far women have come, we must go back to where it first started. Television made a humble debut in our society under the auspices of a UNESCO’s pilot project, on an experimental basis on September 15, 1959 (Television and Development of Women, Kumari, 206, p. 20). The first television sitcoms and TV shows featured mostly men, with women making appearances as being either a supporting actor, or just making a guest appearance. Hollywood has been known as the “man’s world” and it seemed that way with men mostly gained the leading roles in sitcoms. In early television women were made to be “submissive” characters which turned into wholesome housewives such as June Cleaver, from Leave it to Beaver, which was played by Barbara Billingsley. Later on, once TV begin to revolve a bit more, you moved away from the “housewife” mentality, but also gained an educated housewife, who had a job, helped raised a family, all while being a wife, with characters such as Clair Huxtable which was played by Phylicia Rashad. Women such as Billingsley and Rashad, helped pave the way for women stars such as Candice Bergen who played the lead character Murphy Brown for 10-years, and Roseanne Barr, who stared on her own TV show Roseanne for 9 years. Because of these women, it is reported from the “center for Study in Television and Film, women now account for 42% of all characters on TV “(www.forbes.com/the-stagnation-of-opportunity-for-women-on-tv, 2014). Even though that is good, and it seems that women are coming up, “women actually lost one percentage point in the last year, AND the amount of female characters on TV has only increased 3 percentage points since 1997” (www.forbes.com/the-stagnation-of-opportunity-for-women-on-tv). Women must keep pushing and striving to take over Hollywood, but the “Writers Guild of American published a report in June that showed women made up just 27% of all TV writers in 2012 and were paid 92 for every dollar earned by male writers” (http://time.com/318773/emmys-2014-women-on-television). Women are making strides little by little and day by day. Now there are many sitcoms that feature either an all women cast, such as Orange is the New Black, or women which are shown as smart and empowering such as Kerry Washington in Scandal or Julianna Margulies who stars as Alicia Florrick on CBS’s the Good Wife. I commend the women of today for the progress they have made as news anchors and talk show hosts, with women such as Barbara Walters, and Oprah Winfrey. Nonetheless, women must continue to strive, and continue to make strides of becoming big in Hollywood, and one day we as women may take over Hollywood and make it a