What Men Really Think about Women in the Media?

Finally!  It was about time that we open the conversation to men!  Today we have almost reached the 50+ mark for male contributions (!!): these men and boys speak from all over the world and the majority of their voices seem to allineate perfectly with women and girls’ concerns.

So what do they think? Check this short promo first

and then move on the full playlist at

It is all very exciting and I cannot wait to see more contributions coming in, so please keep sending in and keep sharing!!

<3

35 thoughts on “What Men Really Think about Women in the Media?

  1. What a great initiative! I’m really impressed that you have had such a great response from both men and women.

    I just wanted to add one important point. We don’t need to change media, we need to change ourselves. Media only serves what people want. If beautiful women on covers of magazines didn’t sell magazines, they wouldn’t put them there. You can change society by not buying that magazine, that newspaper, that beauty product, watching that YouTube video.

    • Daragh, I love your point! I want to add to it that the best way to change media is to create media that expresses your point of view. I think that is why this initiative is super important. It adds to the narrative of what women and men expect and accept from the media.

      I love that Francesca has included the voices of men in the project. Society is so polarized these days that we forget that there are only two sexes. We talk about sexes as if there are so many and as if one can exist without the other.

      One thing I would like to see explored is how mothers and fathers feel about the portrayal of women in the media and how they counteract or support those portrayals while raising their daughters and sons.

    • Daragh, I also agree with the point you mentioned, and I think I can “translate” it in another way. While we try and change ourselves by stop supporting media which provide the false image of women, we could also do it by starting to remind our brains that all that the media wants us to see is fake and staged and that we do not necessarily have to feel that those impossibly beautiful women are the standard or the goal for any real-life girl and woman out there!

      Men being concerned about the amount of ‘sex’ that is inserted into the woman image by the media is important, because, naturally, we, men, are the main target of those sexual messages. And it really proves a point when we declare that we do not like that. When men ask for more real and natural women in the media, you know something should change drastically soon!

      • “When men ask for more real and natural women in the media”

        But that’s the problem: men do NOT ask for this to change. A huge majority of men do not want it to change because they enjoy watching what they see. Even several of the honest men in the video admitted that “nothing should change”.

        The reason nothing has changed is because men don’t ask for it to change. This is why this is such an issue. The media will never change as long as men are asking that nothing change.

        • Rachael, I don’t completely agree with this. There are a large number of men out there who notice not what dress size a woman is. Most men don’t actually like woman wearing make-up, and alot can’t even tell or don’t notice. I think women are the harsh critics.

    • Daragh, I agree with you to an extent. However, consider this example from a woman’s perspective. You’ve said that you can “change society” by not buying a product. But that’s an outdated assertion. Take the media handling of the case of Jian Ghomeshi, the journalist who was rightly fired from CBC for sexual assault. The power of the media in relaying an incorrect message to young girls that his behavior is “OK” (including through Facebook) is such a widespread problem, much of the context is being forced on women specifically without them having to buy a product to receive the message. The media don’t need women to. They have such power today, the media can bombard women with negative messages, and negative examples for younger girls, and it’s all around us. On TV sets in airports, on billboards, social media… I’m afraid the conversation has moved on from your position.

    • Yes, Daragh! Thank you! You’re so right! I don’t believe enough people are willing to step out of their (un)comfort zones and make this change, because it feels too counter-cultural (personally, we already are, so we don’t buy into it) but I sure hope it happens.

    • Yes I agree 100% with you. Everyone is trying to change the world without seeing the obvious answer right in front of them. You have to change yourself before changing the world. It’s a lot harder than you think and won’t take just a couple minutes.

    • Daragh,

      I thought your point was fantastic.

      It reminds me of something that happened a few years ago. The CEO of Abercrombie had made a statement about only wanting the “cool” kids to shop at his store, and this meant that those who weren’t skinny, etc weren’t welcome.

      Everyone started signing petitions to change this, but I sat back and knew that instead of asking for someone else to change, we needed to take responsibility for ourselves.

      We vote for our reality with our wallets. The media is meant to produce a profit. To do this effectively, they have to own our minds – to convince us to believe (buy) what they have to say (sell) and make choices (purchases) based on this perception.

      But if we truly think for ourselves, if we control our own minds and listen to our instincts, we will be the ones that have influence over decisions. We’ll be in a position to use discernment and critical thinking. We’ll know we are the observers of our world and our level of participation will stem from this level of awareness.

      These men all had different things to say, but they also all said the same thing:

      “Just be yourself and stop pretending to be someone else.”

      I don’t feel that men are given enough credit. They too, are victims of the media. They’re told what to consider attractive. Many of them not only aren’t in agreement with this, but when they do meet someone and fall in love, it’s possible they may wind up in a relationship with someone who can’t accept their love and devotion because of their own insecurities.

      As a result, men and women want many of the same things, but can’t receive them from one another. We all end up misunderstood and rejected – and it’s because of our belief in – and emotional reaction to an unquestioned story we’ve been told by the media.

  2. I agree Daragh Walsh and it is a shame how the bottom dollar is what is driving the Media. That is what it all boils down to is how much money can the Media make on the sell of that magazine, TV show, movie, beauty product, etc… Can we change Society to not buy that magazine with the pretty girl on the front page? Well, there was the incident with the Abercrombie & Fitch CEO and his comments in regards to the “fat kids”. That did not go over well with “Society” and people stopped going to their store. He corrected that situation. Whether they lost money I do not know, but the power of the people did stand.
    I hope to see the LetMeBMe project hit the airwaves and take stand. That could be very powerful.

  3. This post has sparked a really fantastic discussion between my boyfriend and I. After reading this post and watching the promo video I approached him with the same question, asking him how he would change the media’s perception of women. I myself had thought about a lot of the answers given by some of the other men (regarding the physical appearance of a woman, using women as sex objects, etc.) but my boyfriend brought up a great point in another aspect of the media that I hadn’t thought of: sports.

    He spoke about women not being fully respected in the sports world – that the women chosen to report on the sidelines seem to be primarily “eye candy” for the men who watch the games. I agree with this completely – I’m a sports fan myself, and I’ve noticed that while the men covering the games get to have these in depth discussions on statistics and facts and the game itself, the women are just these highly attractive girls who truthfully don’t add much of anything.

    Example: I was watching a baseball game, I don’t want to get too specific and call out the actual reporter, but I will say that I live in New England, and while the two male announcers talked about the game, they occasionally came back to the woman who was attempting to eat a pretzel in the ballpark. And they would occasionally send the camera back to her to check her progress. (And of course, the comments that men were making in response to it were unbelievably sexual). I wish I was joking, but that incident happened years ago and it has stuck in my mind ever since. The idea that came across to me was that there’s no place in sports for women to be taken seriously. And I don’t like that.

    Here’s another example – one that made me very upset: There was one specific female reporter who I absolutely loved. She covered my favorite sport and my favorite team, and I enjoyed watching her. She really knew the sport and could legitimately contribute to the game, and it was highly apparent that the team members themselves had a lot of respect for her, but she wasn’t exactly “beautiful” by the media’s standards. The station made an announcement at the end of the season that her contract wasn’t renewed because they were going in a “different direction.” Lo and behold, next season a petite, beautiful, blonde woman took her place. It angers me as I write this because women shouldn’t be cast into these roles just to satisfy men and give them something to look at during quarters or intermissions. Women’s involvement in sports is a topic I now intend to do some more research into – thanks for sparking this fire in me and thanks for the whole LetMeBMe project!

    • Christine,

      Unfortunately the channels who broadcast sports events make their money through advertising. They broadcast to a large number of people, they try to speak to the lowest common denominator. This brings me back to the point Daragh Walsh made. The only way this situation is going to change is through the common people changing their own views. We have to raise our voices, and stop watching shows that insult our views and intelligence by using women as eye candy.

      I do not follow baseball closely, but I have been watching a lot of soccer lately. It makes me disappointed that the chairman of soccers’s govening body, Sepp Blatter is allowed to make sexist comments on a regular basis without repercussions. Even though all of the above paint a bleak picture, some clubs and organisations in soccer approach the issue as it should be. Karren Brady was a director at Birmingham City, and Helena Costa was a manager for a French second league team, unfortunately the first woman to do so, but it seems like the tide is turning. There are female referees in the English and German first division, working every single week.

      I think the people who watch sports broadcasts will demand the channels to give different roles to female presenters in the near future.

    • Wow, Christine.

      I really appreciated your brutal honesty… and it’s true. It never occurred to me until right now, but you’re right.

      I love football. And every Sunday, I watch men in suits sit at a desk and make predictions, talk strategy, and discuss statistics. But the only women I ever see are half-naked cheerleaders, or a female reporter at the sidelines asking players redundant questions like, “Was there ever a doubt in your mind that you could win today?”

    • I completely agree with you Christine! My husband and I are very big sports fans, and that passion has rubbed off on our daughter.

      She takes after her dad, and is growing into a tall, lovely young woman before my eyes. In years past, she has had no problem fitting in with the young boys she’s played basketball and soccer with, but now that she has turned 10 she is beginning to hear the “girls aren’t as good, as strong, etc” nonsense, and some of the comments have made her less interested in competing on teams. This truly saddens me.

      Now, my husband is wonderful and he makes sure that she always knows there’s at least ONE boy who knows she’s just as good as everyone else, and that boy is him. But, with the points you bring up about ‘eye candy’ reporters & sexually laced comments being made by male reporters… It’s hard to seriously state that women are considered equals in the sports world.

    • I’ve noticed that too Christine but I’ve also noticed a difference in tennis, in particular. Tennis has many female commentators who don’t fit into the stereotypical image of youth and beauty. Maybe coincidentally tennis also seems to value their female competitors who have fought long and hard to receive equal prize money between the genders. It isn’t completely fixed in the sport but tennis may be leading the change to equality in the sport as well as in the analysis and commentating.

    • I’m so happy to hear from my Jamaican brother about the use of makeup. I think that’s a sentiment that is pervasive throughout the island. Women need to realize that heterosexual men are attracted to women, full stop. There isn’t a need to change your appearance so drastically. There is a perception that men hold the power but women let’s be clear that if we want a man (generally speaking) we don’t have to do that much to get him, lol.

  4. It will really get very difficult to change the entire industry, but we can change ourselves and thinking. If we need to change something it is important that we first change ourselves. Media has both positive and negative effects on the audiences and especially the way they portray women. Different people have different opinions. Media also has some responsibilities but in many cases we see them ignoring them: after all it’s an industry and they are after making profits… People just need to rejoin and stand against the media that displays a wrong image of women. Men are not completely responsible for the image of women, in fact it’s the media that come targets them. It is time to change and change will start from ourselves rather than expecting media to change.

  5. The media is nothing more than a reflection of ourselves, and what we as a society desire. By following what the media tells us, we are allowing the media to control every aspect of our lives.

    In recent years, reality television has replaced scripted sitcoms, and taught us that looking good, making a lot of money, and being rude to each other is what we must all aspire to.

    It has also made women look inferior to men, and coincidentally, I recently watched a segment on the news that showed clips of moden video games that showed male characters abusing female characters. By no means was this an isolated incident; there were reportedly more than 30 or more video games which featured such content.

    Is this the image we want to teach our young people? Especially given the fact that most children and young adults who play video games are male. This is not the image I want to portray to young people, regardless of their gender. It is time we teach our young people to respect one another, regardless of gender.

  6. Christine’s point about gender roles in sports broadcasting is a thought-provoking one. In the US, the sports news media this month has been dominated by negative images of men as abusers – one who punched his now-wife/then-girlfriend in an elevator enough to render her unconscious, another who hit his son with a switch as a form of discipline.

    The first scenario is a fascinating window on the power of visuals and media. Initially, the only video publicly available showed a man dragging his unconscious girlfriend away from an elevator, and he admitted to having hit her and was suspended. Later footage from inside the elevator showed him actually landing the punch that rendered her unconscious. The commissioner for the sport levied a punishment of a two-game suspension after the first video was made public, but before the second. After the second video, the punishment increased considerably – this despite there being little disagreement about what happened. The commissioner noted that they didn’t have the evidence of what went on in the elevator, only agreement that there was an assault and the visual evidence of the incapacitated woman after the assault being dragged away. The difference was that we no longer had to imagine what happened, rather it was available for immediate consumption and in violent detail.

    On another level, the same incident made manifest the stereotypes of the aggressive, male, sports figure, and of the passive and abused woman who stands by her man, with both stereotypes reflecting little nuance or depth in the hurry of the media coverage.

    • I think you’ll find Susan that rape and sexual assault by men against women is one of the least reported crimes. Do you know how little domestic violence there is, and how much gets unreported?? To anyone who reads this, here is a FACT from RAINN: Every 2 minutes, an American woman is sexually assaulted:

      https://www.rainn.org/statistics

      97% of rapists will never spend a day in jail. Please please please, before we begin the “men are victims” brigade, educate yourselves on how much abuse goes UNREPORTED before making inaccurate remarks that demean all women, and make it easier for men to abuse young women. As a mother, I am appalled at the level of nonchalance towards male abusers by the media. It’s the reason abusers like Oscar Pistorius and the MANY like him, are able to manipulate juries into believing that when they abuse, it’s actually okay, and that it’s society’s fault because these men are somehow victims.

      I’ll leave you with these abuse figures:

      https://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/sexual-assault-offenders

      Food for thought.

  7. I like how men are able to express themselves in this. I think women tend to demonize men for how their view us, but I think part of it is a myth. A myth a lot of people fall for because of how the media messes up how men really are just like they do with women. I know a lot of loving amazing men who want me to be happy with myself.

    I think men also face a lot of lies in the media, particularly how they treat women not really reflecting a lot of our real experiences. I don’t use #HeForShe, because I believe #WeForUs is a better catchall – I don’t think women or men have it really better, but we all have needs as human beings IMO. The media is a caricature of how we ‘want’ to see ourselves.

    We need to love ourselves first, male or female 🙂

    • Definitely, we can’t go by what we see in the media. We need to be ourselves for better or for worst. As long as you’re being truthful, everything will fall into place.

  8. We cannot lift up all men as if they are all against the images of women in the media. There are plenty of men in these videos that admitted “I would change nothing about the way women are viewed in the media” and “I would make women more sexy”. These men, although being honest, hold the same beliefs as most of the men throughout the world. They want a sexual image for their entertainment. So no man truly wants the sexual image of women to change in the media.
    I know there are a few exceptions to this rule, but a HUGE majority of men enjoy the way women are portrayed. The whole reason women are portrayed as sexual symbols in the media is because men enjoy it, and sex sells. The only way to fix this sexualized image of women would be to have a world of gentlemen, and a real gentleman is a dying breed.
    However, it is not completely men’s fault. Women are the ones that are signing up to dress a certain way and allow themselves to be sexualized. So these women are also to blame.

  9. I feel the real issue here is the two extremes. On one hand, you have feminists who want to pretty much be above men (don’t let them tell you they want to be equal, that is BS) and then you have men who view women as objects. Men are natural hunters. Prey that is weak and vulnerable is attractive to them. This is why women are often viewed as weak or needy on TV and in music, movies, ect. it is all part of marketing toward men. Then you have the feminists who try to be like men, in the sense where they feel they can work the same jobs, be as sexually loose and immoral, and even speak the same. TV shows like “Sex in the City” is an example of this and women love seeing this because they want to be strong and independent like those 4 women. Men are men. Women are women. I am open to equal rights and all but women are naturally more emotional and men just aren’t. Why are women sold off as being weak and needy? Because it sells, just like sex. You can’t blame men. You have to blame the entire work that both men and WOMEN created. We are spoon fed what we should wear, drink, eat, talk, act, and look like. Men don’t need or like strong, empowered, outspoken women. Men like stable women who are open and honest. There is a huge difference.

  10. Both my husband and I had the honour to be part of your video on the topic and like Christine said above, it definitely created a real talk in our house that night too ! what is amazing is that most men are agreeing that we are reduced to sex objects, to being compared to some unrealistic women that most would not meet in the street (a part from that guy from Ukraine but I guess I wont comment on that) but NOTHING is made to improve ! how come ? why are we living everyday with dogmas that we dont even believe in ! it is a mediocre way of being and I honestly would like to congratulate you for trying to change things. Well done !

    • Love this! So true that even though we know what the media does to women and how it represents us and gets other people to think about us, we still buy pretty clothes, pluck our eyebrows, paint our nails and put chemicals all over our bodies so that we “smell and feel nice”. WHY?! It isn’t for our sake (I honestly could care less if I smell like D&G ONE or whatever…It’s called soap and deodorant) We do all of these things for everyone else. So we look pretty for our husbands, so people treat us better, so we get the job even if we are already totally qualified for it. It’s insanity!!!

  11. I loved that this shows that it’s not just women who see an issue with how we’re portrayed in the media, but that men also see it. I feel like many men dismiss women’s issues because it doesn’t directly effect them, but this is showing that we are all people, and regardless of gender, we should be helping each other. Like many of these men said, women are portrayed as sex objects, as if their only role in life is for men to look at, have sex with ,etc. It’s not okay that we are seen as inferior just because of our gender. You can be a woman and be feminine and still be strong.

  12. This is a fascinating project, especially since it encompasses men and viewpoints from the world over. I know in the end it is just a small sampling, but I appreciated it anyway. I love the comment, “Simple. Women are not twigs. Portray them as real women.” Thank you. And I loved the high heel commenter – that made me chuckle. Being a Texas fan, of course I loved the Texan’s comment, which went straight to the the heart of the issue – we as parents cannot control society, but we can build up our children, have open conversations, limit their exposure to inappropriate media during their crucial formative years, and offer a readily available ear. My hat is off to you, Texan!

    One comment- just because some of us choose to stay home and support our husbands in their pursuits and raise family and be “submissive” as one commenter put it, does not mean we are playing a weak role. In fact, I wish the media would show how strong a “prairie woman” really is who can successfully run a home, manage and often educate their own children (I’m schooling seven, from preschool to high school), budget, earn a living from home, educate herself, manage medical and dietary issues, and carry the burden of being scorned by a society who thinks she should be out in the “real” world or else she belittles the cause of women. In fact, I don’t notice the media portraying women as submissive often at all, but rather men as dumbed down and women as superior to them. Anyway, that’s a topic for another day…

    I’m off to listen to the longer versions. Thanks for sharing this.

  13. Brilliant idea! Love it! I was amazed watching the video to see that so many men want women to be portrayed more realistically in the media! I knew this was a wish of many women but i hadn’t thought so much about how much it would affect men. They are all right! I do not want my boys to have unrealistic expectations of women when they grow up!

  14. The way that women are represented in the media comes down to being god and bad. You have your successful empowered woman like Michelle Obama, Beyonce, Jessica Alba, then on the other hand you have your Nicky Minaj crew who bounce around the stages wearing nothing. I believe this gives men negative impressions and only allow them to focus on one thing, their sexuality. A child growing up and watching this and thinking this is ok definitely worries me.

  15. I am so utterly inspired and excited by this project. It is so nice to hear some forward thinking perspectives from men. I have been thinking more and more about how I sometimes find it difficult to be taken seriously by my colleagues or men in my social circle. A lot of the time, it leaves me feeling, not overtly disrespected, but definitely not like my opinions or voice has been heard. I love seeing that there are men, and a large group of them, that respect women and want to see them well represented in society. My heart feels a little bigger after seeing this video. This project is an excellent idea and I will be sharing this with my social media group!

  16. I do agree with you Daragh Walsh: Media will change once we do! And by “we”, I mean us women. Most commercials are actually targeted to women. It would help the cause, if men do ask for a change, but I think it is to us women to do lead the change.
    However, I disagree with Stephanie Engel, media do are to blame, or more accurately, are mostly responsible for it. They started it and they are the one which, knowing what damages it does to society, keep on doing it. Like fashion magazines and designers make clothes and hire women that are out of the norms (tall and stick thin or tall and plus-size). I mean, if they think their products and clothes would look bad on average sized women, why should we buy them?

  17. No matter what we say or do here, nothing will change. Since from the inception of the world, women have been portrayed as wake, frail. The media benefits from it. The so called corporate world enjoys it. The male populace like it.
    Changing it will be like starting the world all over again, even if starting the world over again works, women will still be portrayed as they were in the old world. The media has all the work to do, changing ourselves is just a step in the part to eradicating sexism.

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