Sexism in the Media

sexism in the media, feminism

Not too long ago I revealed my deep, dark secret – I am a feminist.


That’s right. I believe in equality. Shocking! Many people, both men and women, continue to argue that the feminist movement is no longer needed. We have the right to vote. We can wear pants whenever we damn well please (in this country anyway). And we can open our own bank accounts. That must mean we’re equal.

Wrong! All we have to do is take a look at the rampant sexism within our media to see that we are not equal. Women continue to be reduced to mere sex objects to sell things like beer, cars, and even burgers. I mean, I know that I always wear a bikini and crouch on all fours to eat my burgers, but that doesn’t mean everybody else does. Surprisingly, some women may actually prefer to be sitting at a table or wearing clothes.

Let’s take a look at what happens when men are sexualized in the same way women are:

These men look absolutely ridiculous. Yet, this is how women continue to be portrayed in the media every day.

Now, let’s take a moment to focus on the ‘Nerdy Guy + Hot Girl’ dynamic. In actuality, this dynamic boils down to ‘Any Type of Guy + Hot Girl.’ It seems that men can be overweight, nerdy, short, tall, etc. and it really makes no difference. Their worth is not based on their appearance. The women, however, must all meet a certain level of attractiveness or standard of beauty. Even those who are portraying the homely or unattractive girls are basically hot girls sporting a ponytail and glasses.

When television does actually attempt to challenge this dynamic by matching a woman, who deviates from society’s approved beauty standards, with a hot man, all hell breaks loose. In the episode of Girls titled “One Man’s Trash”, Hannah (Lena Dunham) hooks up with a very attractive doctor played by Patrick Wilson. In response, people everywhere, especially women, turned to social media to voice their disgust with this pairing.


Girls, HBO

Lena Dunham, Patrick Wilson

HBO Girls, Patrick Wilson, Lena Dunham


Society has become so accustomed to linking a woman’s worth to her outer beauty that people couldn’t even handle this pairing. It seemed so outrageous that a man like Patrick Wilson would ever be interested in a woman who looked like Lena Dunham.

But, nobody seems to mind this:

King of Queens, Big Bang Theory

I could go on forever about sexism in the media, from the portrayal of women on the news to characters on the big screen, but the bottom line is that we are not equal. And that is not okay.

Sexism hurts everybody. It places unrealistic standards on both men and women by stifling our humanity and dictating the parameters of female and male personalities, interactions and expectations. So, it’s up to us to change it. The first step is awareness.

I’ll leave you with one last video:


The Lady Errant


Tell me, what are your opinions about sexism in the media? I’d love to hear them!

  • SMD @ Life According to Steph

    I love this post. I totally agree with you across the board.

    It actually enrages me when people (women especially) think we’re equal – we are so far from it it’s not even funny – or that we’ve come so far we should be grateful. It makes me spitting mad.

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      Right?! I just don’t understand why they would think we are equal. There is still a wage disparity. Men and women are not portrayed equally in the media. And men still maintain most, if not all, the top positions. We are definitely not equal.

  • lisacng @

    Completely agree that women are still sexualized in the media. Maybe it’s because men are more visual creatures so companies cater to that, but still, ugh.

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      Yes, men are more visual, but they are not the only ones buying some of those products. I mean, women eat burgers too. Shouldn’t the advertisement be aimed at both men and women? Unless, you know some women really do like eating a burger in a bikini, while also lathering themselves with oil. Then I will take it back. Lol.

  • Amanda

    Bahahah… those videos are RIDICULOUS! Makes you realize just how ridiculous it is for WOMEN, too!

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      I know! I love them! It really puts everything into perspective. :)

  • Kiersten

    I loved this post!! (Especially that first video – hilarious!) And you make such a great point about men can look however and still get any and all women, but switch that and nobody can even fathom it. It’s such a difficult subject to bring up because if you say like “hey, why is she with him” or something people tell you that you’re being awful, but it’s somehow completely normal to imagine a gorgeous model dating a short chubby guy. I completely believe that what’s inside is just as important (although can we cut the crap and just admit that attraction is ALWAYS going to be a part of it. That may differ for everyone, but you’re just not going to marry someone you aren’t attracted to), but it seems ridiculous to me that that only goes one way.

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      Exactly! :) You said it perfectly. Meanwhile, if a hot guy dates someone who is less attractive, he gets a lot of crap for it. People make fun of him for dating the chubby girl or dorky girl. In all honesty, you are completely right. It’s what’s inside that counts. Inner beauty is the best kind. And outer beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

  • Kati Rose

    It’s sad but almost just “are you serious funny (like get over it)” that being a feminist and labeling yourself proudly as one is considered shocking. I just read an article from a popular feminist writer who tackled one of the subject you talked about. She’s curvier and her boyfriend is “common attractive” and it was a take on the double standard and how she grew up thinking that she would never be loved by an attractive man because the media told her so. It was a brilliant read.

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      That’s amazing! Have you read the blog, The Militant Baker? She has a post about all the things people never tell fat girls. One of them is that ‘fat chicks bang hot guys….all the time.” Hah. It kills me that people think you have to date within your same ‘league.’ There are no leagues.

      • Kati Rose

        I haven’t, but now I feel like I need to! Thanks for the rec! It’s crazy how deeply imbedded the thoughts and comments are. I’ve had friends say things off the cuff that are in that vein and at first I’ll be like “haha yeah” and then I’m just like “wait, what???”

        • Eternally WanderLyn

          The things that people say are just crazy. I just want to know if they hear themselves. LOL

          Here’s that post:

          I hope you enjoy it! :)

          • Kati Rose

            Thanks for the post!

  • Nicola

    Fanfrickingtastic post my dear. Its like we were thinking the same thing this week. Although adverts like the fast-food one isn’t something that happens here in the UK but sadly we do get sexism in ads its shocking. The advertising executives who put these pitches forward to the clients all need a reality check. X x

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      Thanks, lovely! :) It’s sad that sexism dominates the media so much. And even sadder that it’s reflected within our societies, as well. We’ll just have to give them that reality check, huh?

  • Lora

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for posting this. Seriously I have been ranting about this for the past couple of days. I am going to be linking your post in a blog I am doing up.

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      I’m so glad that you could relate to this post. I find myself going on rants all the time, especially when I see those Carl’s Jr. commercials with Paris Hilton. *insert eye roll* It’s just ridiculous that women are still being portrayed this way.

      Also, thank you so much for sharing my post! I look forward to reading yours. I’m heading over there right now. :)

  • Lindsay T.

    oh i LOVE this!!! Great post and awesome examples!

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      Thanks! I’m glad that you enjoyed it. :)

  • Jana @ Jana Says

    Those commercials drive me absolutely insane. I can’t even think of the right words to express how irate I get when I see them. And as far as the Doug and Carrie couples, those make me nuts, too. I hate the implication that a man of any shape, size, or level of attractiveness can have literally any girl he wants but when it’s a larger or unconventionally attractive woman, she is relegated to only dating a certain type (and that type falls into the “less desirable” category as well. Look at Amy and Sheldon on BBT). It’s absolute bullshit.

    This is a soapbox issue for me, too, so thank you for stepping up on yours and talking about it.

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      Haha. I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels the need to get up on my soapbox about this issue. :) It’s just ridiculous! I complain about those commercials every time I see them. I just can’t stand them or the double standards when it comes to those couples.

  • Elle

    Haha, I love those videos! And you’re so right about how any type of guy on TV can get the hot girl, but if a good-looking male character is with a non-conventionally pretty girl, it’s not accepted. Unless it’s done for some kind of humorous effect – which is also a problem.

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      Oh, that’s definitely a problem. And I think it carries over into our daily life too. If a hot guy is with a non-conventionally pretty girl, people make fun of both of them. But if a hot girl is with a non-conventionally attractive guy, people don’t say anything. Or they might even tell him how lucky he is or what a stud he is for landing the ‘babe’.

  • kristen

    totally true, especially about the tv shows and movies.

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      Right? Isn’t it sad?

  • Lulu

    Excellent examples to illustrate your point! The double standards are RIDICULOUS.

    • Eternally WanderLyn

      Thanks, Lulu! They really are. It’s sad that people are so used to them too.