European & International News

Look at Me! Project draws attention to the effects of misrepresentative media images on older women

[Brussels, 27 April 2012] The EWL regularly draws attention to the importance of an objective and balanced representation of women and men in the media to ensure their equal rights. The distorted image of women presented by the media in general, and advertising in particular, which focuses on youth, beauty and sexuality, affects women’s attitudes to their bodies. It also leaves older women feeling invisible. Indeed, as the EWL pointed out for example in the 2010 publication ‘From Beijing to Brussels: An Unfinished Journey’: “Up to the age of 34 women represent 79% of television presenters. In the 50-64 age-bracket, they are just 7%.”

The research programme New Dynamics of Ageing has taken a first step towards encouraging publicity of older women and raise the profile of older women in campaigning for gender equality in and through the media. Participants worked with various artists to create art works challenging existing stereotypes of older women and highlighting their strengths and contributions to society. Visitors to the resulting exhibition signalled their appreciation of this “celebration of the ordinary” and called for “more truthful images of older women in the media.”

The EWL supports this initiative and calls for a more accurate portrayal of women in the media as well as a wider range of generations. In particular, the EWL calls for the EU to extend gender equality legislation to the media.

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