John Berger discusses the presence of humans in images presented to the mass media. Berger states that, “The surveyor of woman in herself is male: the surveyed female. Thus she turns herself into an object-and most particularly an object of vision: a sight” (Berger 41). Regrettably, I have to agree with this statement. When it comes to paintings of the past, a female simply appeared to represent the power of the male who owned her. This is shockingly similar to the treatment of women in modern mass media. They are still treated as though they are objects. Women are used to appeal to females who want to be like them, and males who want to have them. They are often seen wearing little clothing, and are dismembered in photographs. Only the arms or legs of a woman may be featured, and they may be situated in a vulnerable position. Berger accurately describes this exploitation of women in the media, and tells us that the only way to make progress in the future is to examine the past, analyzing the impact of media messages on both men and women.
Maybe the mass media is something more than the communication of information to the world. From oil paintings to contemporary advertising, the mass media has become a symbolic fiction. The way we perceive reality is shaped by what we see in the mass media, which is dangerous to our culture as a whole. Accepting women as objects is considered to be normal, despite the damage this tolerance causes the average woman. The photographs we see in the media present unattainable images of beauty, wealth, and success. If we believe this to be reality, it will be impossible to find happiness in our everyday lives.
Berger, John. Ways of Seeing. London: British Broadcasting Corporation and Penguin Books, 2008.