Monday, 1 July 2013

The Gender Gap in The Media

The gender gap in the media


Why is it that when you are a female, your seen to be lower ranking in society?

Some women work hard to break the stereotype but it comes with consequences, such as not being seen as feminine for being a successful business manager.

But why is this the case?

There are many reasons for this misrepresentation of women, mainly the media is to blame in my opinion; it has biggest influence on people’s lives, no matter the medium, it helps us to form opinions on issues.


I dislike the way women are represented in the media, we look helpless, submissive and Photoshop pretty; but why? To sell products. This objectifies women negatively.

Our male counterparts on the other hand look daring, dominant and strong; why don’t we? Because the media said so? Fair? I think not.


The website ‘fbomb’ launched a short video outlining the misrepresentation of women in the media, it stated that ‘50% of ads in women’s magazines portrayed women as objects’ … Does this affect how we feel about ourselves?

I feel downgraded, I am not an object but a human being, I don’t want to be ‘sold’ or ‘told what to do’.

I was born a female, why does this make me predisposed to be the underdog to men in society, meaning I’m less likely to have as good of a job, paid as well or respected as much; all because I was born female. Fair? I think not.

Due to being misrepresented in the media, as women we feel as though our power comes from our beauty, our bodies, our youth and our sexuality not our potential to become a leader, a MP, an entrepreneur or a CEO.


Girlguiding 2012 Girls Attitudes Survey found that 68% of girls feel that women are judged on their appearance more than their ability.

I would suggest that this is because we are constantly bombarded with the ‘perfect girl’ images from such a young age right across the media, from ads on television where we seductively sell anything, to Photoshoped pictures of cover girls in magazines and more recently the pressure to seek out if your pretty if or not by submitting ‘selfie’ photos for Instagram online beauty pageants.

Whilst I don’t feel the pressure directly to look good for other people, I still wear make-up and clothes that flatter my body shape… Is this because the media has told me in order to fulfil the role of girl this is an essential? or is it because I want to look better myself?

Both answers suggest that I have been indirectly influenced by the media on the decisions I have made.


As a Girlguide Advocate! youth panel member at one of our most recent meetings we got to study magazines and music videos to see just how big the gender gap is in the media: males wear suits, and stand head up, shoulders back while women wear very revealing clothes, and lie in awkward shapes to look seductive. In music videos women are often dancing, sexually round a male singer… I’m concerned about the message this sends to young girls, and it related back to the previous statement about how women are judged more on their appearance than their ability.


How do we then get the media to represent girls truthfully? I think with enough campaigns like the Dove: Body Confidence campaign where they show an ordinary looking woman being transformed in fast motion by makeup, lighting and, most significantly, airbrushing, into someone who bears little resemblance to her actual appearance. I think this is a must for every woman to watch: women could be represented the way they deserve.


Making girls aware that beauty isn’t everything is my main personal goal, for now. I think I can achieve this by delivering Peer Education sessions on ‘The media’ and ‘Self-Esteem’ locally.


Haley Bell




Thursday, 31 May 2012

Mental health & diet?

Coming round to exam time many of my peers complain about being under pressure to do well and as a result they are usually stressed and unhappy.

Being stressed isn't good for your mental health and can often lead to comfort eating or not eating at all which in turn is not good for your physical health.

My top tip would be to make sure you have a source of Omega-3 in your diet to aid brain development and cognitive function. It can be obtained from oily fish or a supplement.

By fuelling your body with healthy nutritious foods, you will feel good emotionally and physically.
However, by fuelling your body with unhealthy foods regularly this could amplify the effects of stress, resulting in poor mental health, which could effect exam performance!

Monday, 23 April 2012

Old bra's could prevent violence against women?

You always see charities collecting odd item nowadays, such a batteries, ink cartilages, mobile phones and even bottle caps! They are a fundraiser as in return for mass amounts, charities are given money from another company.

However, today I received an email informing me that by collecting old bra's for charity, they actually get sent out to women in third world countries, I was confused as I thought they would have wanted all types of clothes and not just bra's.

I went on to find that by a women wearing a bra she is less likely to be raped, as wearing a bra represent that she comes from a wealthy background, and also bra's are seen to have prestige.

The excellent charity that is Pretty n Pink, the only Northern Irish breast cancer charity that isn't connected to mainland UK is running this collection project.
Girlguiding Ulster will be doing a collection and for every kilo of bra's they receive they will donate £1 to Pretty n Pink :D

I think this is an excellent idea and my personal goal will be to collect at least 50 bra's from my friends and family! The more bra's collected the more it decreases the chance of a women being raped!!

Bra's can be old, woren, broken (recycled), new and nearly new!
pretty n pink breast cancer charity Girlguiding Ulster

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Easter break :)

Easter break from school was well and truly appreciated to say the least.
I love hearing about people who are giving up their time to a worthwhile cause, for example, this week I gave a small donation to Kevin who on the 20th August 2012, will be part of a team climbing the fabled Atlas Mountains in Morocco in aid of Childreach International to help keep kids off the street, keeping them fed and watered and giving them an education. I think its truly amazing! View more at:

I also applied to be a Youth Participant at the 3rd Women Deliever conference in Malaysia in May 2013. I feel like this would be a fantastic opportunity to learn more and offer my contribution. Its very unlikely I will get chosen but I hope someone from WAGGGS gets a chance :)

My boyfriend and I have recently returned from an overnight stay in Londonderry in the Tower Hotel, the only hotel within Derry's City Wall's! We did the Martin McCrossan City Walls tour which enriched my knowledge (of what was very little) about the City of Derry, which is the 2013 UK City of Culture. We would both highly recommend taking a visit to a city so known for its troubles but more recently being remembered as a city of change! :)

I like to think of myself as someone who is very aware of their surroundings. I take into consideration someones body language, their tone of voice and their general being, then usually be able to tell the emotion that person is feeling. However, today I will have to admit that I mustn't be able to 'read' people as well as I thought. It never really occurred to me that someone can permanently be hidden behind a mask, too afraid and restrained by disability to show their true colours. When I read a blog entry from one of my fellow students I felt like I had been so oblivious to the situation. The blog entry can be read at

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Stop The Violence

Back in February I attended the 56th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations HQ in New York as a delegate for the World Association of Girlguides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) representing Girlguiding UK (GUK).
Myself at the CSW sign at the UN.
One of our many roles as being a WAGGGS delegate was to promote the Stop The Violence campaign.

I didn't realise the problem was so severe:
  • Globally, up to 6 out of every 10 women experience physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime.
  • 60 million girls are sexually assaulted at or on their way to school each year.
  • 60 million girls worldwide are child brides.
  • Violence against girls puts them at higher risk of contracting HIV.
Reading those statistic's for the first time made me feel sick, and they still do. I really glad that WAGGGS has a campaign in place and hopes to launch a non-formal education programme that can be used to raise awareness and combat the issue.
Currently WAGGGS are trying to encouraging everyone to add their voice to their Stop The Violence campaign, I already have :)

This is my WAGGGS collection I made earlier this morning. It includes information about the campaign, wristbands, and the WAGGGS scarf. Also an article about Lynne Featherstone.

Lynne Featherstone, who I met back in November 2011 at the launch at the Girls Attitudes Survey results. Lynne Featherstone is the Equalities Minister for UK attended the CSW too. I met her again at the British Ambassador reception in New York, she told me that she recognised me (I was in my Guiding uniform) - but that was a wonderful moment.
Lynne, recognises the Stop The Violence campaign along with UN Women :)

WAGGGS Stop The Violence Video -
WAGGGS International Womens Day Video -
The Girl Effect: The clock is ticking -

Do something powerful today and add your voice to the Stop the Violence campaign!

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Gender Equality..Crisps?

I know McCoys aren't the healthiest crisps BUT surely not only men can eat them?

But on the back in capital letters it states:

Surely crisps can be consumed by anyone?
Their target market might be men, but is the packet discriminating against women? Are McCoy's trying to suggest that ONLY men should be allowed to consume such a prestigious packet of crisps?

An explanation as to why McCoy's feel the need to have this on their packaging would be welcomed. I'll let you know if I ever do find one.


Very pleased that Girlguiding Ulster now has a rep for Girlguiding UK on the British Youth Council (BYC).
Even better as I actually know the rep, Faith Viney who was part of the SOAR 2011 Canada International Group from Ulster.

Rachael Ferguson, Myself, Faith and Stacey

I know she will do Ulster proud :) Good Luck Faith! :D