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After Leveson, a report into how newspapers portray women: what do you think?

(6 Posts)
KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Sun 25-Nov-12 21:35:21

You might remember that representatives from the End Violence Against Women Coalition (who worked with us on our We Believe You campaign), Eaves, Equality Now, and Object gave evidence to the Leveson Enquiry, arguing that sexism and misogyny was endemic in British newspapers. We thought you might be interested to know about some research the group has just published, which evaluated eleven newspapers over a two week period in September. They found that:

Reporting of violent crime against women frequently minimises the perpetrator's actions and blames the victim
Some tabloids contribute to the sexualisation of girls while purporting to condemn it
Women are persistently portrayed as sex objects
Women in public life are often subject to ridicule

The report details many instances of sexist reporting - but here are a couple of examples:

'Pop babe is latest upskirt conquest of papararsey Pete' (Sport): tabloid newspapers frequent use of 'upskirt' photography frequently present the images as exciting exactly because the subject is apparently not consenting to the photo being taken.

'CAVORTING provocatively in a tiny pink swimsuit, little Ocean Orrey struts her stuff in a British beauty pageant aged just FOUR' (Sun) - whilst apparently concerned for her welfare, this report on a toddler beauty pageant portrays a young child as acting in a sexy and knowing way.

So what do you think? Does the way women and girls are portrayed have an impact on our real lives? The groups want this issue to inform all proposals for the new press regulation regime - d'you think this is reasonable, or possible? And if you post on this subject, do let us know your URLs here - we'll be tweeting every one.

PlainBellySneetch Tue 27-Nov-12 09:32:22

I completely agree that how women are represented in the media mustn't be sidelined by Leveson. I think we all know that, from the Mail down, there's something rotten in how we are portrayed, which supports an unspoken - perhaps even unconscious - agenda to remind women that their position in public life is one of sufferance, and can be sustained only if they stick within a selection of very carefully defined 'roles'. By roles, I really mean archetypes - overweight and unhappy, young, 'fun' and sexy, humourless old bag etc.

Whether it's likely or possible that Leveson will agree is less certain - I think it was great to hear from these groups during the evidence-gathering sessions, but I don't think most members of the public really see this central plank of misogyny, and how it infects and informs many of the other failings of the press that the enquiry seeks to address.

StephanieDA Wed 28-Nov-12 17:26:00


I'm in my early fifties and sometimes I think we were the guinea pig generation, the first who had to negotiate seeing degrading images of women in national newspapers in the public space and in our own homes. I think it has a huge impact, I remember my confusion and humiliation as a girl entering puberty and seeing topless women in the newspaper in my house, and then as I grew up, in pubs and other public places. I think it intimidates and silences us in subtle ways that we don't realise, and I think the effect it is having on girls and young women today is evident. I really can't believe that this representation of women is allowed, and I feel that now is the time for us all to stand up and say 'No more' and take back our power.

wheeler Thu 29-Nov-12 09:40:27

there's also this excellent new website where you can post and discuss sexist media stuff:

KateMumsnet (MNHQ) Thu 29-Nov-12 20:30:13

Thought you'd be interested to know that the organisations mentioned in the OP have 'warmly welcomed' the Leveson report. They're particularly pleased with the recognition of a need for an independent mechanism and one which can accept complaints from women's groups - find out more here.

StephanieDA Sun 02-Dec-12 15:06:27

Has anyone found any media outlet who has even mentioned this in their coverage of the Leveson report?

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