Sexism and Feminism in the Media

When it comes to the media, there a very mixed opinions on it. Some view it as the root of all evil, while others idolize it. So when it comes to feminism and sexism, there are many different arguments and points on it.

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In the past couple of years, some of our Disney stars have begun to grow up. When Miley Cyrus came back on the media’s radar, it was because of her new “sexy” look. After the release of her “We Can’t Stop” and “Wrecking Ball” music videos, many people found her new personality and antics as wild and out of control. But when Nick Jonas came out with this photoshoot in which he his stripped down to his underwear and even shows the camera a little bit of butt crack, he is praised for it and the media claims “he is coming out of his shell.” Society needs to stop with the double standards, and should defer from having two opinions over the same issue just because of their gender.

Over the past month or two, there has been a lot of talk of sexual abuse and unhealthy relationships on YouTube, one of the world’s largest media platforms. It first began almost a year ago when it came to light that Alex Day, who had over one million subscribers at the time, that “[he] created situations that put people under enormous pressure” (Baker-Whitelaw). Many came forth saying that they, personally, had been part of a manipulative relationship with him. More recently, Sam Pepper had become possibly the most infamous YouTuber yet. Pepper is known on YouTube for his prank videos, but one went too far, and led to the downfall of his career. In his video ‘Fake Hand *ss Pinch Prank,’ he is seen roaming the streets of London grabbing the butts of passerby women as a ‘joke.’ Some of previous videos before this one had been pretty close to crossing the line as harassment, but this one definitely received the most buzz. After all of the hate that the video received, some girls began to confess their less than enjoyable experiences with Sam. Dottie Martin says that on date with the YouTube star, who had well over two million subscribers, “he tried to touch me around my chest area,” also that “he was holding my hand and he put it on his crotch area and moved it closer, but I pulled it away.” Later after Sam had gone, she says: “I felt I was doing something I wasn’t meant to be doing, which was refusing.” Is this not wrong-that a women, a person, a human being, would feel like it was their fault for refusing, when they were the one’s on the receiving end of potential assault? (McCamley). But Sam Pepper has been known to go even farther than a little butt pinch or boob grab here and there, he has been accused of rape. Days after his ‘*ss Pinch’ video had been uploaded, one person chose to speak out. In the video below, an anonymous girl tells of her experience with Pepper at his apartment in Los Angeles. She went in not knowing what to expect, not being familiar with his online persona. Only after minutes after her arrival, Sam had led her to his bedroom. Even after she had repeatedly refused him, he kept coming on to her. He then forced her onto his bed and stripped both of their clothes off. Despite the fact that that he overpowered her, she kept refusing. While committing the rape, he kept telling her “Shut up, shut up,” until he was satisfied and then just walked up and left the apartment, with her still in his bedroom. This is a man that had an audience of two and a half million people, made up of mostly impressionable young girls. If these are the type of people that media elevates, then what is it teaching today’s youth? That it is normal and acceptable to be in an abusive relationship. That women are susceptible to this kind of thing, that they are not allowed use their voice.

Also, there cannot be equal rights if their is not equal censorship. In movies and other related media, a woman’s boobs are not allowed to be shown. If they are shown, the movie automatically receives an R-Rating, and people under the age of eighteen are not allowed to legally view it. Why? The anatomy of our breasts and breast tissues are structure, except that the female one has a dramatic increase in fat after the age of puberty (Israel).  paragraph continues under photo


Yet, when a woman is seen without a top on it is obscene and she is labelled as a slut and some other terms far much worse. But if a guy posts a topless photo, he’s considered self-confident and no one thinks anything of it. The majority of teenagers in this day and age see humans killed in the movies and play video games in which they can shoot and torture people by the time they are eighteen – I think they can handle a nipple.

Taylor Swift is arguably one of the most talked about celebrities of the past decade. It has been rough on her, having all of her life out in the open for the world since she was sixteen. One of the biggest things the media loves to speculate about is her love life. In one interview, she says, “You’re always gonna have people who say, ‘Oh, she only writes about ex boyfriends,’ and frankly, I think that’s a very sexist angle to take. No one says that about Ed Sheeran or Bruno mars. They’re all writing songs about their exes, their current girlfriends, their love lives. And no one is raising a red flag there” (Merrick). Taylor makes a compelling argument here. No one is incessantly bashing Ed Sheeran for singing of his past loves. No one is hiding outside of a male celebrities house, hoping to snap a picture of them without make up on.

Also, in the year of 2013, in the top grossing films of the year, only 15% of the protagonists were female, and only made up about 29% of all major characters. If that was not bad enough, they only comprised 30% of all speaking roles. Women remain drastically under-represented in the world of film (Lauzen). No one can argue about these facts. When are we going to stand up against such blatant misogyny?

But the media is not only a voice for the sexists of the world, but also one for the feminists. Recently, Emma Watson gave a very compelling speech at the United Nations on feminism. This has spurred many other celebrities to “come of the closet” as feminists, as pictured below.    paragraph continues under photos


YouTube is also a very positive media platform, where after the outing of Sam Pepper, it spurred a lot of discussion about sexual and rape culture, helping to  inform their audiences about healthy relationships. This including the music video for a song called ‘Consent,’ by a popular comedy duo Jack & Dean, where the song talks about the importance of consent in a relationship and sex in a comical approach. Also, there is the song ‘Little Games,’ about breaking the social construct of gender roles, performed by an up-and-coming YouTube musical star Benny, a fifteen year old boy. Colbie Caillat, an already well-known name in the music industry, recently released the music video for her song ‘Try,’ in which she and a handful of her famous friends strip off all of their make-up. The song teaches girls that they do not have to try so hard to be liked by everyone, that they need to keep it slim, or go shopping all day, if it doesn’t make them happy. There has been a release of some very pro-feminism commercials released: one by Always, and the other by the NFL. In the commercial from Always, titled ‘Like a Girl,’ they address the degrading phrase ‘like a girl,’ which is often used to mean weakness or unsatisfactory. By the end of the advert, it makes you think that ‘like a girl,’ could also mean do the best that you can. In the NFL’s No More video, different football stars stand up and use their voice to help end domestic violence.

The media is a very mixed bag. So just be wary of what you see online and in the tabloids. Try to view the world through a feminist lens!

Here are the videos that I mentioned in this post. I highly encourage you check them out!


Little Game:




Anonymous Sam Pepper Confession (WARNING: Explicit Content):

Works Cited

Baker-Whitelaw, Gavia. “Alex Day and the dangers of YouTube celebrity culture.” DailyDot. Daily Dot, 15 Mar. 2014. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

Israel, Beth. “Anatomy of the Breast.” Mammary. Beth Israel Health Care System, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

Lauzen, Martha M. Ph.D. “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World: On Screen Representations of Female Characters in the Top 100 Films of 2013.” womenintv. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

McCamley, Frankie. “YouTube star Sam Pepper faces sexual harassment claims.” NewsBeat. BBC, n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.

Merrick, Jules. “Taylor Swift’s 1989 secrets and response to SEXIST song speculation.” YouTube. YouTube, 19 Oct. 2014. Web. 7 Dec. 2014.