Making Noise @Humber Women and Stereotypes

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By: Hannah Diggins
Before attending our workshop on Women and Stereotypes for Urban Alliance on Race Relations Making Noise @ Humber project, I believed that I had a full understanding of the way women are often portrayed. However, during this workshop participants were provided with view changing perspectives and examples. Karen, the facilitator, designed a workshop that could be understood by many young women and men because it incorporated examples from the media. Without these examples, the topics may have been more difficult to discuss or may not have been applicable to everyone. These examples, such as Rihanna, were well known and helped create a sense of familiarity to the topics we were discussing. It allowed us to see the way in which women are often portrayed in society, which many of us may not have fully recognized or discussed before. It also allowed us to see that the media plays a crucial role in constructing not only the way starlets are portrayed, but also the way women in general are seen.
Through discussions, we further explored the harmful way that both genders are shown in media outlets such as the news, magazines and tabloids. An important connection was made between the way in which both women and men are portrayed and how this affects the way violence against women is viewed. For example, women are often portrayed as in need of protection, weak and dependent. This socially constructed view can have a lot of implications that effects the way in which we view violence against women. The view that men are always supposed to be strong and are more violent than women can also have grave effects on those suffering violence and those who are viewing it.
This workshop was very useful for my future career, because I will be able to understand the role that the media can have for people in their lives. There are thousands of television programs, magazines and advertisements addressed to women. They are constantly bombarded by these messages and it is vital to recognize this. It will allow me to take into account a more multi-faceted approach when looking at people’s milieu or environment around them. It also helped me realize how women view themselves as well and how this affects their life. For example, if a women views herself as weak and dependent, she may have more trouble leaving an abuser because she does not believe she can make it on her own. For further development, I would like to understand the effects that stereotypes of women and men have on those who have been survivors of abuse. I would like to delve into this more and have further discussions about what it means to be a women these days. What do men tell women to be like? What do other women tell women to be like? What does society tell women to be like? This would provide very useful information that could further help counsellors and the public in general to fully understand all the aspects that women deal with.

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