It’s a man’s world…in the media

“Men comprise the majority of the creative community,” said Martha M. Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, and one result is “male fantasies of women’s sexuality” according to an article in Friday’s New York Times. Dr. Lauzen studied the 2008-9 television season, surveying more than 2,100 of the most powerful jobs in prime-time network broadcasting, and found that only one out of four was held by a woman.

She did a similar examination of the film industry, which revealed that of more than 2,700 people who worked on the top 250 films at the domestic box office last year, women accounted for 16 percent of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors. Nearly a quarter of those films employed no women in any of those key jobs.

Focusing on directors, the Lauzen team found that women made up a mere 9 percent of the total — the same as in 1998.

The way that these mostly male creators and executives portray female sexuality include women who resemble Victoria’s Secret models, voracious female libidos and routine pairings of older men with women 20 and 30 years younger. The new film “Crazy Heart,” released this week, which matches Jeff Bridges, 60, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, 32, is just the latest example.

“The Proposal,” a hit over the summer that starred Sandra Bullock, 45, and Ryan Reynolds, 33, is among the few films that switch the age disparity. Generally, in these sorts of films, Dr. Lauzen noted, “the entire story has to revolve around explaining that relationship, because how can it be that a younger man would find an older woman attractive.” An older man-younger woman relationship, by contrast, is “just accepted, no explanation needed.”

Read the rest of this article in the New York Times

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