Female privilege is having hundreds of love songs written about you.
There are hundreds of love songs written about men, too! Unfortunately, not many of them will be heard by men. Studies have shown that male listeners are less likely to listen to music featuring a female vocalist than a male vocalist, whereas female listeners will listen to vocalists of either sex (although in younger age groups, both girls and boys prefer vocalists of their own sex). Pop music in particular is what most studies focus on, and predominantly in European or North American countries.
This kind of ties into the previous discussion about male and female role models in movies [CLICK HERE TO READ], but it also brings to mind some very important ideas about unwanted sexual attention and affection.
A lot of pop music written about women is not necessarily about love, but lust. Women’s bodies are often talked about like they are objects rather than human beings; a thing to be wanted, collected, taken, and used. This trend is even easier to see when one conducts a content analysis of gender portrayal in music videos.
I saw the full version of this documentary, “Dreamworlds 3: Desire, Sex, & Power in Music Video” when I was a freshman in college, and I’ve always found it useful to show other people who may need convincing of the power struggle we see between men and women in the music industry. Have a look at the trailer, and look around for it online! I think it’s chopped up in parts on YouTube. I definitely encourage you to find it and watch it - and show it to anyone else who might be interested.
female privilege means that almost every movie and tv show caters to our sexual gratification by having a male lead characterv
Lead characters on prime-time television programming are overwhelmingly male. Women are more likely to be shown in supporting roles, as love interests, or otherwise trivialized in mainstream media.
Researchers who study media find that girls and women are more likely to retain interest in a show with a male in the leading role than men are to retain interest in a show with a female lead. As a result, most prime-time programming caters more to male interest to hold maximum viewership. What this means is that boys and girls are expected to look up to men, and boys should have the choice to be able to avoid looking up to women in powerful roles.
Recently, the movie Brave came out and some parents were concerned that their male children wouldn’t be able to find any strong male characters to look up to.
Tumblr user quixoticandabsurd makes a great point: “…nobody batted an eye when I was little and walked out of the theater after seeing Toy Story proclaiming, “Woody is so cool! I want to be just like him!” Nobody cared that I was a little girl looking up to a male character. Not a single person would have been upset if I wanted a Sully toy, or if I admired Simba more than Nala. No parents said to their daughters, “No, I’m not taking you to see Up! because there’s no females for you to look up to!” Because as long as it was men being awesome, parents decided that our kids could see through typical gender stereotypes. They decided, “my kid can learn something from this film even though she is a girl and that character is a boy.” But as soon as the roles are reversed everyone is up in arms about it.”
Also, male sexual gratification is certainly being catered to on television. Female characters are almost exclusively beautiful and thin, young, and for all of their “career-girl nonsense,” are totally in love with the men of the show. Female homosexuality is hardly ever depicted on mainstream television, or when it is it is often shown as a trait among girls in wayward, drug-abusing crowds. Meanwhile, men are left to go about their stoic business, characterized by more than just what they look like and who they’re sleeping with. Male characters are more fleshed-out and defined, whereas female characters are often similar to dolls with swappable heads and career outfits - a lot like Barbie!
Female privilege is not being always potrayed in the media as bumbling, arrogant, unintelligent or bad.
Females in media are also stereotyped. We are often shown as lovestruck, clumsy, and incapable of doing much of anything without the help of a man.
Alternatively, whenever we’re shown as go-getters, it’s also portrayed in a negative light. First of all, our business casual garb is sexualized, often with heels and low-cut blouses that would never really go over well at a typical office job. Women who are on the ball are shown as nut-cracking, frigid taskmasters who eventually thaw in the arms of the Stock Love Interest Hunk, now free of their holier-than-thou “I think I can be an efficient woman in the workplace” nonsense. There is a kicking-off of heels, and that’s that.
There are plenty of things to love about being a woman. But it's important to remember that many of these things come at a price at the hands of male privilege, and may not even apply to women who are not cisgendered, straight, or are anything else that deviates from what is thought to be the common "female." As far as we've come, we have to keep fighting the good fight, and that starts with being educated about the inequalities that still exist for women of all forms!
I'm a graduate student studying telecommunications. I focus on gender and the media in particular, and especially empirically-measured effects that gender relations in the media has on viewers.