Body Image and Media

We’ve all got problems with how the media represents women. In related news, women are also underrepresented in media employment? We’re not trying to say correlation implies causation or anything, but here’s some resources that help us sort through the mess.

Please keep in mind that we do not agree with every thought, argument, and idea in these suggestions but feel they are a good place to start discussion.

Raising Media Content Awareness :

Just in case you forgot about the Bechdel Test!

Bechdel Test

1. It has to have at least two [named] women in it
2. Who talk to each other [ a total of at least 60 seconds]
3. About something besides a man
The Extended Bechdel test also means:
4. no sexual violence
5. on a film not primarily intended for children.

Please keep in mind that a movie passing this test does not mean it is at all “good” or feminist friendly just that it passes.
Racial Bechdel Test or The Shukla Test

The Racial Bechdel Test is to POC presence in the media what The Bechdel Test is to female presence in the media. It tests whether or not a form of media has a strong POC presence. The test is important because it shows trends in how POC’s are not only represented in media, but also how they are portrayed.

In order to pass the test, three requirements must be met:
1. There must be more than one named character of color
2. At least two characters of color must have a conversation
3. Who don’t act in a service capacity
4. The conversation has to be about something other than a white person, race or racial stereotypes.

Vito Russo Test

LGBTQ characters are typically left out of the picture. That’s why GLAAD, following the example of the Bechdel Test, developed a set of criteria anyone can use to determine where and how well LGBTQ characters are included.
1. The film contains a character that is identifiably lesbian, gay, bisexual, queer, and/or transgender.
2. The character must not be solely or predominantly defined by their sexual orientation or gender identity.
3. The character must be tied into the plot in such a way that their removal would have a significant effect.


Article Suggestions:

A thought-provoking blog post about the actual effects of some “new” beauty standard campaigns – specifically, “strong is the new skinny”.

Women’s media center: pretty much all you need to know, ever. A great resource on an overwhelming amount of data about women in the media industry

Women’s media center annual report

If you don’t have time to read the full report, here’s 9 points to enrage you!  A good article about racial double standard for women in the media  Amazing a must watch about woc and media

On sexual dysfunction in female teens; speculative causes, problematic solutions.

An article about misogyny in fashion styles and how where you spend your money can really count in the companies decisions to hire and fire.

An article about the stereotype-based shaming of black women for choices that don’t harm anyone and, really, aren’t anyone else’s business.

An article about sex positivity and body positivity and children. We think it is great and an amazing step in the right direction, but an excellent example of how as girls we are not given options of the full range of sexual choices; that we are born into heterosexuality. We are failing girls when we tell them that they only have one option, and that is with a man. We think it is a good article, but imagine really, if as girls and women we were allowed our full spectrum of sexual choices. Now we think that would truly usher in a wave of sex positivity.  An article about women’s representation in the art world.


Video Suggestions:

Female representation in movies and the gaming industry.

What an educator. Articulate, engaging sex-positive videos on sexual health and equality.  A very good one about Beyonce and women in the media  Ted Talk about reshaping body image.


Book Suggestions:

The Good Body by Eve Ensler


Movie Suggestions:

W.A.R: Women’s Art Revolution THE MOVIE.

Miss Representation by Jennifer Siebel Newsom

The Punk Singer by Sini Anderson

GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling  by Brett Whitcomb

Orgasim Inc.

Coloring Book:  Coloring book of vulvas


*If you have any suggestions for additions to our pages, please feel free to e-mail us the links.