Women’s Success At Home and The Workplace Revealed or Hidden?

Are female breadwinners a problem? Without a doubt the answer is no. We see that over fifty percent of people in the workforce are women. With the rise in education we expect numbers to continue to increase. Although we have plenty of statistics to support these facts, how does the media portray and promote women with families as well as in the workplace?

Scandal and The Good Wife are two shows that have become popular over the past two three years. Both of these storylines are different and demonstrate different mindsets for women and mothers in the workforce.

KERRY WASHINGTON In Scandal, Ms. Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) once worked in the White House as the communications director, but now moved on to create her own crisis management firm, Olivia Pope & Associates. Although we see her as a very successful and determined individual, there is one thing the producers lack. This missing piece is family. Both parents are present but no family of her own is in the making. As an audience, we see an independent woman who gets weak in the knees every time she sees the President of the United States, Fitzgerald Grant (due to an ongoing affair). Although we know in reality the relationship between Olivia and Grant cannot go further than friends, Olivia stands alone. The television reflects that women have a chance to have executive level positions, but to obtain this position she must have one focus: work. Although we do not write these storylines we can predict that if children were brought into Ms. Pope’s life, her role in the workplace may be over and a new focus on her family.

The Good WifeIn a different light, we have The Good Wife. This television show exhibits a wife and mother who places herself to make decisions for herself and family after her husband’s public sex affair. Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) reenters the workforce (with her original job) as a defense attorney after being away for thirteen years. Her choice of thirteen years was due to having two children, Grace and Zach. By going back into the workforce Alicia picks her family up by her bootstraps to move from an embarrassment (of her husbands affair) into a strong career woman. The producers of this show portray Alicia as a woman, similar to many mothers out there who want to reenter the workforce to support her children. Although women do not always start where they left off, Alicia’s character promotes that women can be both successful in the workforce as well as at home with their children.

This television show exhibits a wife and mother who places herself to make decisions for herself and family after her husband’s public sex affair. Alicia Florrick (Julianna Margulies) reenters the workforce (with her original job) as a defense attorney after being away for thirteen years. Her choice of thirteen years was due to having two children, Grace and Zach. By going back into the workforce Alicia picks her family up by her bootstraps to move from an embarrassment (of her husbands affair) into a strong career woman. The producers of this show portray Alicia as a woman, similar to many mothers out there who want to reenter the workforce to support her children. Although women do not always start where they left off, Alicia’s character promotes that women can be both successful in the workforce as well as at home with their children.

Ads are another avenue that tend to define women’s roles. I will compare and contrast two very similar ads that Pantene created. The difference between the two ads are that the roles are switched along with the values both women and men have in regards to being in charge. In both ads we see an individual in a leadership position talking to a male. Both individuals look professional, in their black suits and on a top floor of the business building. The male has his hands by his side and maintains eye contact with his employee. On the other hand, the woman in charge has her pointer finger out as well as looking down instead of using eye contact with her employee. One key difference between the photos is the wording that is pressed against and spelled out along the background. When the male is in charge the word “boss” remains, but in the ad with the woman in charge, a letter is added to the word boss. The media promotes women in the workplace as bossy instead of competent, strong, and successful. The media embodies negative characteristics, labels, and images to women who can obtain the same amount of success as any male. This makes me question, why does the media get to tell us how to think? Who cares whether a male or female in charge? He/she has proven himself/herself and other authorities that they have the characteristics to help the business succeed.

Do the individuals behind these media messages really agree with what they are revealing to the public? Are these producers and editors using these labels and values about women balancing home and family to agree with what we have thought for years? What is their purpose? Is their purpose to display something is wrong? Encouraging these stereotypes? Using these roles for pure enjoyment? Although media has the choice to help encourage change and switch up roles and expectations of married and childbearing women in the workplace, they choose to hold back. The power is in their hands and they can either reflect or refract the light women shine in the workplace.

BossyBoss

http://msmelange.com/2014/04/08/scandal-is-my-life-right-now/

http://www.cbs.com/shows/the_good_wife/about/

://www.adweek.com/adfreak/amazing-pantene-ad-defiantly-tackles-how-women-workplace-are-labeled-154385 

http://firstbiz.firstpost.com/videos/pg-stands-up-for-women-in-its-latest-campaign-52460.html

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