Women in the Media and Women in Comedy: An Informational Interview
Me: Do you think there’s a problem with the way women are represented on television today?
Dr. Erin Foley-Reynolds: Yes, that’s the short answer. I think there’s a shortage of diversity – the general understanding of diversity, diverse sizes, and diverse talents, so I think in general there’s still a small script for what we sort of see. It tends to be white, tends to be middle class, tends to be attractive, and tends to be small. We’re starting to get more images of professional women, but I still think there’s a limited script.
Me: Do you think these images are damaging to those who watch television? Men included?
EFR: Yeah, because I mean if you look at issues like body-image expectations, there’s no question that people are skewed in terms of what they think the world looks like. So when we watch a lot of television and use it as a gauge for what you think is kind of normal, people tend to think that the world is smaller than it is, more attractive than it is. People compare themselves. Men have expectations about what women should look like, how they should behave, how interested they should be in sex, etc. And it’s definitely problematic. It’s hard for people to think about alternatives for their life if they never see alternatives.