It is no secret that the media holds an overwhelming amount of power on human perceptions. Its influence determines what we believe to be normal in terms of lifestyles, appearances, and relationships; often all of which end up being highly exaggerated and unrealistic. The same is true, more specifically, when it comes to dealing with the media’s effect on women and self-image. The use of photoshop in magazine advertisements, hyper-sexualization of women in television commercials, and degradation of female partners in films (both pornographic or otherwise) have reinforced an unhealthy and unattainable image and expectation of women, both socially and sexually. And it’s only getting worse.
However, the interactive nature of the Internet is providing a place for people all over the world to retaliate. The varying outlets the internet provides – blogs, social networks, shops, etc. – allow for persons with common goals and interests to produce, spread, and generate cultural meaning with their own media. There is now a locale where those resisting the objectification and fetishization of women can assert their position, counter the attacks on femininity and female sexuality, and negotiate the creation of negative stereotypes or dangerous perceptions in a way that was previously near-impossible.
In taking advantage of this, users can take back control of the way women are perceived, maybe more importantly, the way they perceive themselves and one another.