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Women in Media

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Images of women were only limited, it would be sad, but not tragic. Unfortunately, most of the images of women are not just restricted, but negative. These images misrepresent who we are, demean us, and make it harder to see women as people. When women are only shown as beautiful and passive or rich and bitchy, it becomes more difficult for both men and women to accept them as the diverse, multifaceted people they really are. The majority of women on TV are restricted to a few roles. Male roles are far more extensive and more exciting. Women are often shown on TV in ‘traditional’ roles such as housewives, mothers, secretaries and nurses. With a very few expectation, television dramas usually portray women in some limited roles of emotional mothers, dependent wives, very well decorated fiancées. Bangladesh film industry has attained notoriety for being vulgar by focusing on women as sex objects. Men are more likely to be shown outdoors or in business settings; women in domestic setting. Images of female bodies are everywhere. Women—and their body parts—sell everything from food to cars. Popular film and television actress are becoming younger taller and thinner.

Women’s magazines are full of articles urging that if they can just lose those last twenty pounds, they’ll have it all—the perfect marriage, loving children, great sex, and a rewarding career. Media influence the other women of society. Almost every woman wants to be as beautiful as the model or actress they see in television. We all know the stereotypes—the femme fatale, the supermom, the sex kitten, the nasty corporate climber. Whatever the role, television, film and popular magazines are full of images of women and girls who are typically white, desperately thin, and made up to the hilt. Many would agree that some strides have been made in how the media portray women in film, television and magazines, and that the last 20 years has also seen a growth in the presence and influence of women in media behind the scenes. Nevertheless, female stereotypes continue to thrive in the media we consume every day. It looks at the economic interests behind the objectification and eroticization of females by the media as well as efforts to counter negative stereotyping. In Bangladesh women’s role in media is limited, backdated, and stereotyped and it influences on the other women of society.

Women are making their mark in every field, but their portrayal in media remains limited to age-old stereotypes. Women in media are most often presented in relation to the men in their lives, always based on gender identities as women. Women are shown as dependent, foolish, indecisive, deceitful, and incompetent and so on with such flaws often being presented as being desirable or even funny. In many cases, women are directly objectified, becoming products along with those being advertised. With a very few expectation, television dramas usually portray women in some limited roles of emotional mothers, dependent wives, very well decorated fiancées. From setting fashion trends to mindsets, it plays a role in almost everything we do. It is a major agent of socialization and these is not limited to children being affected by violence and sex on television. Adults are also influenced by what they see in the media. Besides entertaining and providing information, the media also serves to reinforce already existing values and often, stereotypes. This is especially true with regards to the portrayal of women in the media a patriarchal society. Images of female bodies are everywhere.

Women—and their body parts—sell everything from food to cars. Popular film and television actresses are becoming younger, taller and thinner. Some have even been known to faint on the set from lack of food. Women’s magazines are full of articles urging that if they can just lose those last twenty pounds, they’ll have it all—the perfect marriage, loving children, great sex, and a rewarding career. “The barrage of messages about thinness, dieting and beauty tells “ordinary” women that they are always in need of adjustment—and that the female body is an object to be perfected. Thinness, dieting and beauty tells “ordinary” women that they are always in need of adjustment—and that the female body is an object to be perfected. That the overwhelming presence of media images of painfully thin women means that real women’s bodies have become invisible in the mass media. The real tragedy is that many women internalize these stereotypes, and judge themselves by the beauty industry’s standards. Women learn to compare themselves to other women, and to compete with them for male attention.” This focus on beauty and desirability effectively destroys any awareness and action that might help to change that climate. ( Wakefield, 2007 ). Imagine a day with no newspaper, no television, not one billboard looming over you no matter where you may be. It’s that difficult to get away from the media.

Be it the news, your favourite drama serial, a movie with a friend or four glowing Aishwarya Rais smiling down at you from four huge billboards together, no one is left untouched by the media today. It goes beyond entertainment and even beyond selling products and services. The media today sells values and ideas, ideals and idols; images of good and bad, success and failure, normalcy and deviance. From setting fashion trends to mindsets, it plays a role almost everything we do. It is a major agent of socialization and this is not limited to children being affected by violence and sex on television. Adults are also influenced by what they see in media. Besides entertaining and providing information, the media also serves to reinforce already existing values and, often, stereotypes. This is especially true with regards to the portrayals of women in the media of a patriarchal society. “Beauty seems to be the main concern of women in the media,” says Shahana Alam, a homemaker. “ Even while doing laundry, they are made-up as if going to a party.”“The portrayal of women in dramas and films is also generally negative,” says Alam. “Man invariably dominate and this is so common-in reality and in the media-that is what seems natural and such values are further strengthened in peoples minds.” ( Shahana Alam, face to face interview, Nov 01, 2007 )

“Very few women don’t want to be as thin, as fair, as beautiful and as successful as the model or actress they see on television or on the huge billboards ruling the city. Very few men, too, don’t want their significant others to look like them. Or be them-the perfect homemaker-cooking, cleaning and caring for their families all day long; dependent on their fathers, brothers, husbands and sons”. So what if they seem to have nothing better to do than biker and gossip? Better then being so lonely professional with no life, the women gone astray or the victim of harassment or rape. ( Shehreen, 2007 ) Television still perpetuates traditional gender stereotypes because it reflects dominant social values. In reflecting them TV also reinforces them, presenting them as ‘natural’. As one might expect in a society still dominated by men, men dominate TV production and, influenced by these stereotypes, unconsciously reproduce a traditional ‘masculine’ perspective, perpetuating dominant gender stereotypes. Many narratives on TV are still implicitly designed to be interpreted from a masculine perspective. Viewers are frequently invited to identify with male characters and to objectify females.

This has been called ‘the male gaze’. This mode of viewing is called ‘unmarked’: it is an invisible and largely unquestioned bias – the masculine perspective is the ‘norm’. Girls learn from most TV that it is a man’s world, and learn to displace their own perspective. In recent years there has at least been a notable increase in the number of women news presenters. Formerly, TV directors (largely male, of course) had argued that women were less likely to be taken seriously by viewers. However, one could perhaps argue that physical attractiveness may play more part in their selection than for their male counterparts. There is in fact some evidence that girls (aged 8-12) may tend to find a male newsreader more believable than a woman newsreader, whereas the newsreader’s sex does not seem to influence boys’ ideas of their believability. Girls may grow used to being presented with the male on TV in general as more powerful and knowledgeable. ‘‘Whatever its limitations as a TV research method, content analysis do at least provide us with basic data about the prevalence of gender images on TV. The number of women shown on TV is far smaller than the number of men shown.

Men outnumber women in general TV drama by 3 or 4 to 1. 70-85% of those on children’s TV are male, and in children’s cartoons, males outnumber females by 10 to 1. Even in soap operas women can be outnumbered 7:3. There are also more men than women in starring roles; the exceptions are notable only as exceptions. In contrast to this dominance of the screen by men, we all know that in the everyday world, women in fact slightly outnumber men. In this sense, TV does not reflect observable demographic realities, although it may well reflect the current distribution of power, and the values of those who hold it.” ( Resisting stereotypes and working for change ) [pic] The majority of women on TV are restricted to a few roles. Male roles are far more extensive and more exciting. Women are often shown on TV in ‘traditional’ roles such as housewives, mothers, secretaries and nurses; men are shown as husbands and fathers, but also as athletes, celebrities and tycoons. Marital status on is more often revealed for women on TV than for men. Men on TV are more often portrayed in employment, tend to have a higher status and are less likely to be shown in the home.

Where women are shown as successful outside the domestic sphere they are frequently portrayed as unhappy in their personal lives. Once again, such a distribution of occupational roles lags well behind current realities in the workplace (however limited these may still be). [pic]Though not as strongly as in earlier years, the portrayal of both men and women on TV is largely traditional and stereotypical. This serves to promote a polarization of gender roles. [With femininity are associated traits such as emotionality, prudence, co-operation, a communal sense, and compliance. Masculinity tends to be associated with such traits as rationality, efficiency, competition, individualism and ruthlessness.] “How on TV, ‘good’ women are presented as submissive, sensitive and domesticated; ‘bad’ women are rebellious, independent and selfish. The ‘dream-girl’ stereotype is gentle, demure, sensitive, submissive, non-competitive, sweet- natured and dependent. The male hero tends to be physically strong, aggressive, assertive, takes the initiative, is independent, competitive and ambitious. TV and film heroes represent goodness, power, control, confidence, competence and success. They are geared, in other words, to succeed in a competitive economic system.” There is no shortage of aggressive male role-models in Westerns, war films and so on. Many boys try to emulate such characteristics through action and aggression.

There are few women in the heroic role played by Sigourney Weaver in Aliens. Men tend to be shown as more dominant, more violent and more powerful than women. Men on TV are more likely to disparage women than vice versa. They drive; drink and smoke more, do athletic things, and make more plans. They are found more in the world of things than in relationships. Women on TV tend to be younger than the men, typically under 30. So TV images largely reflect traditional patriarchal notions of gender. Stereotypical masculinity, for instance, is portrayed as natural, normal and universal, but it is fact a particular construction. It is largely a white, middle-class heterosexual masculinity. This is masculinity within which any suggestion of feminine qualities or homosexuality is denied, and outside which women are subordinated. The notion of ‘natural’ sex differences help to preserve the inequalities on which our economic system continues to be based. In television advertisements, gender stereotyping tends to be at its strongest because the target audiences are frequently either male or female. There has been some lessening of this in recent years but the general pattern remains.

In adverts, men tend to be portrayed as more autonomous. They are shown in more occupations than women; women are shown mainly as housewives and mothers. Men are more likely to be shown advertising cars or business products; women are mostly advertising domestic products. Men are more likely to be shown outdoors or in business settings; women in domestic settings. Men are more often portrayed as authorities. As far as ads go, with age men seem to gain authority, whilst women seem to disappear. Voice-overs represent the programme-maker’s interpretations of what is seen: these are the voices of ‘authority’. They are overwhelmingly male (figures of up to 94% have been reported). There have been more female voice-overs in recent years but mainly for food, household products and feminine care products. Male voice-overs tend to be associated with a far wider range of products. Media research has shown the portrayal of women to be more or less of two types; the perfectly good women and the wholly evil women. Women are either the devoted wife and mother, chaste and innocent; or they are victims, vamps and sex workers, physically wronged or morally wrong. They are rarely shown as professionals. The only constructive things they engage in doing are happily cooking meal after meal and frenziedly cleaning the ring around the shirt collars of the men folk. Even here there success is attributed to packaged spices and detergents.

Generation after generation, grandmother, mother and daughter reap the benefits of the magic detergent, hair oil or beauty soap. But, at the end of the day, if the tea is just right, the cooking to the mother-in-law’s liking and the husband looks spic and span in his ghostly white shirt, the women is satisfied with her life and is rated “100 percent” by her husband and son. Fie on the women whose husband or son is more grimy then her neighbours’! The second category of women, present in some dramas and most films is the evil vamp. They are there own enemies, finding fault with each other, stealing other women’s boyfriends and husbands or depicted as sensuous bar dancers and sex workers. Once in a while in Bangla films we see the rebellious women, clad in black leather, whip in hand, fighting against all odds, all evil and all men. But this is too spurred by the wrongful acts of men-betrayal, rape etc. Dramas are less exciting, where women are limited to the characters of doting mother, devoted wife and darling daughter. Indeed, women in the media are most often presented in relation to the men in there lives, always based on there gender identities as women.

“Media researcher and writer Margaret Gallagher in her book ‘Unequal Opportunities; the case of women and the media’ terms this the “virgin whore” dichotomy, saying that is on women’s sex that their individual identities and social acceptance is based. The “virgin” imagery here, says Gallagher, runs a consistent stress on subordination, sacrifice and purity and the “whore” imagery is connected with cruelty, inhumanity, insensitivity and unscrupulousness. The role are propagated by the notion of rewards and punishment – if the women behave well, she will be given the love of her men; if she behaves badly, she will be alone, unloved and castigated”. Model and actress Shrabastee Tinni agrees that it is up to women to educate themselves and prove their worth.

“It’s true that women joining our media are chosen based on their looks rather than their talent or qualifications,” says Tinni. “Women are often portrayed as sex objects. The more glamorous you are, the more sponsors you get.” “But we also have great talents like Suborna Mustafa, Bipasha Hayat, Afsana Mimi, etc., many of whom have gone on the direct and produce and have set examples.” Tinni recognizes the fact that what celebrities do often influences their audience. After her popular ‘Shundoritoma’ ad, for example, many people began see her as a fashion icon, imitating her dress and hairstyle and her casual style of dialogue delivery. ( Shrabastee Tinni, Model and actress, face to face interview, Nov15, 2007 ) Passivity and emotional dependence are rewarded in women, while characteristics which are defined as “good” in men – such as decisiveness, independence, forcefulness and tenacity – are defined as “bad” in women.

According to the fictional reality of the mass media then, women are actually rewarded for ineffectuality then for actively controlling their lives. They are shown as professionally and emotionally subordinate to men, vain and indulging in fantasies and escapism. Women are shown as dependent, foolish, indecisive, deceitful, and incompetent and so on with such flaws often being presented as being desirable or even funny. “Due to the open market economy, the media has become very powerful in the last two decades or so,” says actress and social activist Sara Zaker, “From advertising to politics, it has become a powerful tool for changing minds, behavior, patterns of thinking.” “This open market economy, however, limits women to stereotyped roles and the role of women in the media today is weaker than it was 20 years ago,” says Zaker.

“Today’s women is perfect – looking – thin, beautiful, with a perfect body.” Before, says Zaker, there weren’t as many beauty contests, soap operas or advertisements for cosmetics, toiletries, etc. Now, even in talent hunt shows you can see how, as the candidates move up, they become more and more glamorous. “Not only does the media reinforce these values,” she says, “but it also pressurizes women to strive to be beautiful by following media trends.” “But the strong voices of women are not heard in the media,” Zaker points out, “and her significant contributions to society are not visible. Garment workers, success stories of women who have taken micro credit are not heard. Some journalists and news presenters have made a name for themselves, but there are numerous other social and political activists, businesswomen, etc., who are still not visible. Women have done a lot in every field, but their presence is least in the media.” “To counter this,” says Sara Zaker, “we have to come out of our patriarchal system. We need more women producers to bring about change for women.” ( Sara Zaker, face to face interview, Nov 17, 2007 ) In advertisements, women are most often shown as “product users” or those depicted primarily as using the product while men are more often shown as authorities or characters “with all the facts” about the product being advertised.

It is almost always women who do ads for “home products” such as foodstuffs, body care, house hold times, pet care, toys and medication while men mostly advertised “away products” such as travel, banks/money, restaurants and cars. Remember the ad where a man tries to win over his girlfriend with a promise of vacation abroad, a new sari every month, a red rose everyday? The women is not easily swayed, but ultimately becomes elated when he offers her a home in the particular housing complex being advertised. Or the ad for a cell phone operator where a women wanders around with absolutely nothing to do all day but wait for her husband to call her and can hardly believe her ears when he offers to take her on a trip abroad. Men are always providers and the provided – for. This is not always shown blatantly either. We are so used to seeing men bigger and taller then women, that the fact that women are always looking up at men and men are looking down at women never strikes us as odd. Neither does it occur to us that the continuous dismemberment of women in the media – showing only her long, sexy legs, cleavage or navel – makes it seem as if that’s all a women processes and there are no brains connected to her body. In many cases, women are directly objectified, becoming product along with those being advertised. And so the hefty, half-reclining women by a table fan, or the women, who are receiving a mysterious phone call goes straightly for a fluffy, luscious-looking bubble bath, spends the whole day decking herself up and is picked up in the evening by her mystery men for a date.

Such images are so common however, that, to many, this is what seems normal and acceptable. Samiul Haque believes that women in our media are not commoditised as much as they are in the Western world. “But you still have to show some good-looking women in ads,” he says, “otherwise people will just turn away or switch off the television.” “Women are often used even where they are not needed,” admits Haque, “for example in ads for men’s products. But that’s because everyone likes to see a pretty face. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s natural.” “But the face shouldn’t become more important then the product,” Haque adds. “Respects towards women must be maintained. Advertisers should concentrate on selling there products and services, not the women’s looks.” ( Samiul Haque, Admaker, face to face interview, Nov 06, 2007 ) According to Dr. Gitiara Nasreen, Professor, Department of Mass Communication and Journalism, media portrayals of women broadly fall into two categories; marginal and stereotypical. “Women are rarely seen in the news, talk shows and interviews and are overwhelmingly present in entertaining programs,” says Dr. Nasreen.

“They are included in the news coverage only when they are victims or sensual. With a few expectations, television dramas usually portray women in some limited roles of emotional mothers, dependent wives, decorated fiancées.” This objectification and commoditization of women are most apparent in advertisements and mainstream movie, says Nasreen. “Women’s sexuality and physical attributes are used as baits though which products are advertised. Moreover, Bangladesh film industry has attained notoriety for being vulgar by focusing on women as sex objects.” Coverage on issues related to the media has improved and increased relatively, says Dr. Nasreen. However, results of several studies show that in spite of some quantitative increase in publishing women-related issues, very little quantitative progress has been made in terms of women’s portrayal in the media. “Conversely,” says the media analyst, “the date show a worsening trend in some cases, particularly in regard to exploitation of women’s images as gratifying commodity in advertisements and as sex objects and victim to male – violence in the main stream cinema.” According to Dr. Nasreen, the media does not reflect a mirror image of society, rather, it focuses on the values and expectation of the dominant class.

“Ours is no doubt a very patriarchal society, where women’s contribution and achievements are usually not recognized. And the variation of women’s voices are never heard. The phenomenal promotion of consumerism in recent years has worsened the situation.” ( Nasreen, 2007 ) “We live in a mass-mediated society today,” says Dr.Nasreeen, “where mass media are powerful agent of socialization transmitting attitudes, perceptions, images and beliefs. If the media continues to portray women in traditional roles, as victims of violence or sex objects, then I am afraid that there is a very slight change that we are going to achieve gender equality. While women’s view and achievements are omitted, it implies that they are unimportant and virtually invisible members of society.” (Nasreen, 2007 ) Dr. Gitiara Nasreen believes that as powerful socializing agents, the media sets the agenda of the society. “Women in the media are primarily depicted in a narrowly limited role range of roles, which is quite unrepresentative of the wide spectrum of interests, concerns and behaviours of women in contemporary Bangladeshi society.” c“If women continue to see their only work is to beautify themselves, decorate there homes and cook,” says Dr. Nasreen, “it becomes difficult to see themselves in role other then these.” With the few flow of information crossing though borders, teenage girls of Bangladesh are now growing up with Hollywood/Bollywood idols, she says.

“But they are not shown the role models they really need to see, who posses qualities like knowledge, intelligence, leadership, etc.” Also, the overwhelming exposure of media reports on violence against women generates fear and further curtails women’s mobility. “Women’s submissive acceptance of physical violence and cruelty is often presented as a natural expression of ‘angry’ men. Such depictions naturalise violence against women. Undermining women leads to an increase in violence, child morality and resulting discrepancy in population growth rates, ultimately leading to an unhealthy society, says Nasreen. So can women be portrayed more positively in the media? Dr. Nasreen says that the media should depict the various roles of women in society, their accomplishments as well as their struggles. “Following our National Policy on Women and National Plan of Action, necessary measures should be taken to formulate and implement a comprehensive gender – sensitive media policy and to set up mechanisms to supervise the implementation and enforcement of this policy.” (Nasreen, 2007) Policies are one way of countering the trends of typecasting women.

But where the media plays such a vital role in making people think the way they do and changing the way they think, the onus lies on the people in the media to give the right messages. It is their awareness and conscious actions that will stop the same old images of women from being shown repeatedly, reinforcing negative stereotypes which undermine women. Actor, admaker and politician Asaduzzaman Noor, however, admits that the portrayal of women in the media is not always proper. “This is due to lake of taste, lake of knowledge and internationally placing women as commodities, which men have been doing for centuries,” says Noor. “Women have proven themselves in every field,” he says, “not only in the media, but also in the performing arts, the army, police. There are women doctors, architects, Justices of the High Court. This should be reflected in the media by portraying women in more positive roles and not only as cooks.” “Always depicting women in stereotyped roles may lead women in society to think that this is life and they come to accept this as the way things are. But it’s not,” says Noor. “No one should sit around at home and do nothing.

Women should simply ignore negative portrayals in the media, and admakers and other media persons should act more responsibly with regards to the content they produce.” Noor believes that women are playing very positive and growing role in society which should be reflected in the media while their dignity, honour and prestige is maintained. “Women were not born only to cook and they should not be shown as commodities,” says Noor. “More opportunities need to be made for them but men may not help out as they may feel threatened. They may think, who will cook for them if their women are out working? It’s no use seeking men’s sympathy; women must fight for their own rights.” ( ( (Asaduzzaman Noor, Actor and politician, face to face interview, Nov 06, 2007 ) Women have yet to be all they can be onscreen, however. Stereotypes are shaded more subtly, but they are still there. Female leads must still be brighter, smarter and funnier than their male counterparts (and, almost always, much better looking as well.)

Wrinkles and glasses are still taboo. More depressing still, too many parts still feature “the wife,” “the mother” or “the girlfriend” as interchangeable parts. If images of women were only limiting, if would be sad, but not tragic. Unfortunately, most of the images of women are not just restricted, but negative. These images misrepresent who we are, demean us, and make it harder to see women as people. When women are only shown as beautiful and passive or rich and bitchy, it becomes more difficult for both men and women to accept them as the diverse, multifaceted people they really are. The stories and images we carry in our heads can mold us as profoundly as other major influences such as our families, educational experiences or religious beliefs. If they are inadequate or negative, that’s bad news. The good news is that it’s possible to break out of stereotyping.

Popular actor – director Afzal Hossain believes that things have changed for the better over the years. “Before, we used to look at women as women, as a member of the opposite sex,” says Hossian. “Now we look at them as friends, colleagues, as people.” “Change has taken place and it will continue to do so, but gradually,” says Hossain, “you can’t rush it.” The sometimes – negative portrayal of women in the media is not only the media’s fault, claims Hossain. “Ultimately, it depends on the women herself what she want to do – whether she wants to show off her looks, her dress, make-up and jewellery, or whether she wants to show her brains.” “It also depends on one’s way of looking at things,” says Hossain. “Some people may have a problem with a woman being in an ad for men’s shaving cream. But it’s not necessarily derogatory for women. It depends on how it’s made and how you look at it.” ( Afzal Hossain, Actor and director, face to face interview, Nov 09, 2007 ) While it’s true that things have changed in a big way for women in the last thirty years due to lots of women (and some cool men) speaking out and acting for progress and equality for women and girls, there’s more that needs to be done. We’ve got all sorts of new, 21st century kind of challenges, especially important being a girl or woman today—and old problems that still need lots of our attention and energy.

These include: good health; genuine self-esteem; understanding of and comfort with sexuality; relationships based on mutual respect and equality; safety from domestic and sexual violence; goal-setting and career success; sound financial judgment; educated participation in government and democracy; and overall power-sharing in society for women and girls. We’ve still got a l-o-o-o-o-n-g way to go. For example, women are still twice as likely to live in poverty as men, and violence against women isn’t decreasing at the rates of other crimes. Studies show that many women with equal credentials don’t receive pay or promotional opportunities equal to men. Women’s progress in the highest jobs in corporate America—including some of the largest and most profitable companies in the communications and entertainment media sector—hasn’t progressed as much as was expected. Girls’ education about financial matters isn’t widespread; women’s representation in government doesn’t look like their true numbers in society; and stereotypes of what women should be and should want to be are all over.

So, because in today’s culture, media communicates so much, to so many, so much of the time ….(hey, that’s why they call it “mass” media!), the time is right to look more closely at if and how this new culture packed with commercial media “products” from increasingly powerful media companies is influencing girls and women (and men’s attitudes towards girls and women.). Do these companies and their “products” have girls and women’s best interests for health, confidence, success and progress, or even just entertainment, in mind? If not, what can we do about it? Actress and talk show host Aupee Karim also believes that people tend to limitate what they see in the media. “And because I believe I have a social commitment, I have to think twice about the role I do, which sometimes limits my versatility.” But Karim does not see the portrayal of women in the media as being negative. “I don’t think women are belittled in the media,” she says. “They’re performing very well, in everything from acting and presenting to singing and dancing.” “Sometimes,” says Karim, “the story demands that the women act as a weak character. For example, wife – battery. This is a real issue and it must be shown and then countered. Or if the story is on education for women, first you have to show that the woman is not educated and then you must show her getting an education.” “Women must prove themselves and make their place,” says Karim. “The media won’t do it for you.

It’s not enough to demand your rights. You have to win them by proving your talent and ability.” (Aupee Karim, Actress and talk show host, Face to face interview, Nov 20, 2007 ) We are not here to blame men for the current state of the world although this is a refrain often heard from bitter feminists around the world. But let us realize that the hope for the 21st century will be determined by how much women are willing to work with men to influence the direction of the world’s nations. Can any of you imagine two women sacrificing the lives of everyone in their nation because of some boundary dispute?

Would women risk all they hold dear to satisfy some political slight? It’s just not our nature. And history is now demanding that we quickly play a key role in solving our world’s ills at this critical time. So how can women play their part? When I speak to women’s groups there is one question I am asked most often. “How can I play a role?” they ask. Many women will tell me that they do not have confidence they can contribute. They tell me they have no Ph.D. no great career no experience in the work place. We are as a trumpet of truth in these days of confusion. Having worked at the heart of the media, I have learned that we must not be intimidated into cowardice by those who despise truth and deplore values. As women we must be bold in our commitment to defending traditional values and those things we hold sacred and dear in every aspect of life. Women and men must work together. Women and men need each other. Work as a team.

Reference list

► Shehreen, K. ( 2007, March 09 ). Women in a make—believe world. The Daily Star, pp. 8a.
► “Resisting stereotypes and working for change”. Retrieved May 02, 2007 from http://independent-Bangladesh.com/news/wo.html
► Wakefield, J. ( 2006 ). Role of women in the 21st century, 15.
Retrieved Nov 2, 2007 from
http://gender sensitive media.com/full/bd.html
► Nasreen, G. ( 2005 ). Beauty and body images in the media: How to evaluate media images of women. Retrieved Oct 24, 2007 form
http://women in media Bangladesh.com/news/cen.html

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