How, and to what extent, have new forms of media changed the perceptions of women?


As science and technology have changed, growing in relevance and importance, they have affected the roles and images of women. Whether it be the era of consumerism, bringing leisure time into the lives of housewives with the assistance of washing machines, or the effect of the availability and distribution of birth control, women lives have been being directly impacted by new technologies. In addition, media has been able to influence the way women have been perceived and valued, causing corsets to transform into surgeries, enabling the achievement of properly feminine and attractive bodies.  


While the general population has shifted from reading magazines, to watching TV, and now to being greatly influenced by social media, women have become represented more equally. With this increased representation has come shifted perceptions about women in education, the workforce, and their overall sexuality and appearance. But have the perceptions changed enough?


  • Working woman
    • Early on newspapers
      • Working woman, on bike–early article HI
      • War efforts
        • Still feminine, temporary, patriotic
    • Still a lack of women represented in STEM
    • TV shows start bringing women into more intense roles–lawyers, detectives, doctors
  • education–today on college brochures
    • College brochures are the first place we start to see women in lab coats
    • In social media we see many more women in school advertisements
    • Greatest improvement, equal representation to men
      • Still not enough in STEM fields
    • The increased awareness of education around the world
  • Sexualization
    • In old newspapers, even while trying to promote a more independent, or working woman, they were still depicted as very feminine, proper, and cute
    • The Melania and Michelle cartoon here also
  • Minorities are still lacking
    • Movies, advertisements, politics
    • Movies like Black Panther and Wonder Woman–very recent progress
    • American Eagle’s models
    • President Obama (and Michelle–how she’s compared to Melania–political cartoon–>still objectified, why weren’t these women compared for activeness? Why are black women still depicted as monkeys? Why does the ideal woman have to have big boobs and long hair?


I will use books, archives and propaganda to research past depictions of women in media. I will also use political cartoons, images and actual adds in order to gain an understanding of how women are depicted today. I will use blogs and other articles to gain a better understanding of how people are portraying women in the media, and how it affects the roles and perceptions of women.

My introduction will introduce general sexism that has been demonstrated and affected through different forms of media. I will use my body paragraphs to break into women in the workforce, education and their general sexuality. I will also discuss the further divide for minority women. To conclude I will be able to note the great progresses that have been made, while addressing the fact that there is still a long way to go in terms of equality. I will tie my conclusion back to my thesis by addressing ways in which media has the potential to drive the continuing push towards true equality.


Modern American Women by Susan Ware

Through Women’s Eyes by Ellen Carol DuBois and Lynn Dumenil

Propaganda analyzation: WWII propaganda (feminine? Pretty? Use Colby’s archives)

Women in Modern America: A Brief History, “The Emergence of the Modern American Woman: The 1890’s” by Banner

Victoria Woodhull, Anthony Comstock, and Conflict over Sex in the United States in the 1870s by Helen Lefkowitz Horowitz by Leonie Roderick

Political cartoon of Melania Trump and Michelle Obama

College brochures, websites and ads by Heather Cumberledge