Media stigmatization of women.

Please just take a look at the following photo.

I guess that most people will see a beautiful woman. Some people will probably see that it’s a photo of Audrey Hepburn the 20ht century moviestar. Fashionistas will most probably see Audrey as the Dior woman she was: stylish and feminine. And I wouldn’t be surprised if some people, probably most of them men, will see a woman with gorgeous legs.

Now look at the following screenshot made from the homepage of, one of the most visited news websites in the Netherlands.

In this case we see a pair of pretty good looking legs and a policeman. The text next to the photo read in Dutch ‘Large police action human trafficking Eindhoven.’ The byline reads ‘Distric Attorney’s office has information on abuse prostitutes.’

Apart from the loose use of the Dutch language by leaving out ‘unneccessary’ words the text next to the picture has a weird type of stigmatization connected to it. As if women with great legs wearing black stockings are prostitutes. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was a male editor with a fetish for black lingerie ans stockings who made this news item.

The crazy thing is of course that somehow the second image is supposed to make the reader do a mental jump and let him or her associate it with prostitutes. It is of course an all too common way of manipulation of thought by the media. And also a very mysoginistic approach of the female image. Sexism is the word and stigmatization. It demontrates very clearly the juvenile approach to woman in general in the media. Because is does not stand on its own. No one can let me believe that the image on the side of the trucks of Hünkemöller, the lingerie reseller, is like it is because it’s the women who like to see this. Ok, personally I do like it a lot. No, that add on a truck was made from a male perspective and when people say it’s sexist I guess they’re absolutely right.

Now, I don’t mind a little sexyness in advertising and media. Absolutely. After all I love women, sorry guys. But what I don’t like and actually disapprove is news media that sexualize feminity and use that to label women as whores. It’s cheap, it’s stupid and it’s an appaling way to make news. Media stigmatizes women and does that by imaging like the above photo. And whether the guys believe it or not but if I wear sexy lingerie, stockings and maybe even garters or anything like that, I do that because I like it. Like most other women who do so, not because I’m a whore.

Alice © 2012