Women Power and Sex in The Media

Photo women lyon

Here is the Front Page of a French Magazine, March 2010.
I found it last Thursday, as I was waiting for a business meeting, at the hotel lounge.

What attracted me was the title
"Femmes lyonnaises : celles qui prennent le pouvoir!"

Women in Lyon : women in charge ( literally women who take the Power!)
Also the Top 50 most influential women…

Ok, why not, I was curious and took the magazine while waiting for my appointment.

Two remarks:

  • The picture is a very sexy woman's  naked back, with a dress you would only wear on
    Oscar ceremony or festival de Cannes.
    What does it have to do with women leaders and women 's influence?
    I guess a man must have designed this front page, for other men…

  •  Second remark: the little header before the big headline
    Les Hommes vont en baver!

    Now, that's really shocking.
    It means " men are going to suffer"
    (literally :men are going to drool)
    The content of the magazine reflected the cover, not worth mentioning here.
    On this women's month, I wanted to blog about the distorted representation of women and power in the media. 

Waiting for your comments!

13 thoughts

  1. Since I was a young girl on a farm in North Carolina, USA I have been unhappy with how a woman’s body is used to sell everything from cars to food. It is disgusting and it is effective. Sex sells.
    As women we need to claim our power and not be controlled by this immature marketing approach. Power is not control. A powerful woman has the energy, freedom and security to dress in a comfortable, sensuous manner.
    You are controlled if you dress like the women at the Oscars. Even the most powerful women at the Oscars continue to drape their bodies in ridiculous garb.
    I have spent the last 34 years as a holistic psychologist and sex therapist empowering women and men so they access their red, fiery, truly sexy selves. No drugs needed.
    Women claim your power, insecure men and the media will never give it to you!

  2. Good for you, Marion! I’m not so much disgusted as shaking my head in amazement. Oh, brother! Haven’t we progressed a little beyond this? “Men are going to suffer”, indeed! It’s true that everything changes, but some things seem to change extremely slowly. I’m so thankful for the emerging, grassroots leaders, women and men, who are focused on cooperation and mutual respect. That is what will eventually change this puerile mindset.

  3. Disturbing. In the face of change there are always such attempts to raise the specter of what used to be. I say we ignore it and keep on movin’ on.
    The domain of Power is the next frontier for women. In the U.S. women are predicted to own 60% of the wealth this year. Money provides access to resources – one form of power.
    How will we use our power? On behalf of what?
    The trends on women indicate we are socially conscious, forge connections, and build communities. And yes, we can also engage in harmful psychological warfare – our shadow side.
    If, however, we use our power to create a more community oriented, caring, socially conscious and connected world, this would be a great compliment to the use of power to build and expand.
    Thanks Ms. Marion for continuing to forge ahead on behalf of women and humanity.

  4. I’ve worked in several industries in the last decade, and seen women who use their ability to deliver results and be professional day in and day out, and those that try to use their looks to get where they want to be. The successful represent themselves as beautiful, hardworking and intelligent people. As a man, I dress in a way that I hope is attractive and makes me look “put together”. Let’s face it, half the people in the office are of the opposite sex, and their opinion of you and I, no matter what it is, counts in your career.
    Sex does sell, that much can’t be argued. Some women use it as a selling point for their own skills, and while it might work for a while, it certainly won’t work forever. This can be said of any no value add facet of who you are, or say you are. Fundamentally, we must build a reputation on results, trust and credibility. (I wrote about this very topic here: http://ow.ly/1kftj). Without those things, we have no real long term potential. With them, our physical appearance becomes a little less important (but never completely unimportant). You can argue this isn’t fair, but it is reality for both men and women and probably isn’t going to change anytime soon.
    It’s nice to see women whom are professional, deliver and can be trusted, all while maintaining their femininity and being the beautiful women they are. These women have the power to influence because of who they are, and are an asset to the organizations the work within.
    Good topic here, looking forward to reading others thoughts on this.

  5. there’s no question that the kind of advertising you point to belittles the real effort that countless women expend to achieve their career and life goals. But to Anne’s point, there is so much evidence that women have impact that goes far beyond some magazine’s idea of what sells, that my reaction to it is less passionate than it might have been a few years ago.
    Sex might get you to open the magazine, or allow you to walk in the door but it is the substance that generally wins the day. I think we all know that.
    I like Matthew’s last comment and agree that women who are professional, who do good work and build strong professional relationships while maintaining their femininity have what it takes to be successful in whatever they undertake.
    No kind of advertising that diminish that.

  6. I love that line, Doris “Women claim your power, insecure men and the media will never give it to you!”.
    And what a beautiful way to describe a powerful woman “she has the energy, freedom and security to dress in a comfortable, sensuous manner”.
    Bravo, Doris, you must have empowered many women and men beautifully on their journey to self esteem and freedom.

  7. Thank you Heather for your “indignation”. We discussed shortly after on skype and I could still sense the anger and shock in your voice.
    That’s why I posted this picture. Fortunately, it’s not representative of the main French Newspapers and hopefully, we have excellent intelligent journalists who do their job and talk about women with respect for their mind and spirit.
    Grateful for your passionate reaction!

  8. Always food for thought, Anne, in your brilliant comments. Thank YOU.
    “The domain of Power is the next frontier for women”.
    I agree with you Anne, and it might be scary actually for some men, and for some women themselves as well.
    Is this why we still see these “games” of competition between men and women, winners and losers, getting even, seeking revenge, when everybody is just sick and tired of them…
    Our challenge and the challenge for the next generations, is to use this power wisely, in a creative and collaborative new way, it could be revolutionary…and complementary to the power to build and to expand.
    Wonderfully expressed, Anne.

  9. Excellent points, Matthew, and thank you for pointing them out.
    We must build a reputation on “results, trust and credibility”.
    It’s about who we ARE and not about our Image.
    There’s also the interesting point about being “feminine” and happy to be a woman, and at the same time trusted professional.
    Welcome to this forum of discussion, where I’m sure we shall enjoy more passionate debate!

  10. Thank you for this wise comment, Gwyn.
    You are right, we are making fabulous progress, no matter how the media still misrepresent women who reached powerful positions.
    I just like to start a little fight, to keep my spirits up and get myself in movement 🙂
    I also believe it’s good to be alert and on the watch.
    In a recent linkedn forum, via Reuter,we discussed Younger women facing “gender fatigue”, subtle bias…
    Much energy deserves to be dedicated to focus on gaining confidence and fostering creative cooperation, new forms of learning and working together on our small planet.

  11. It is people like you Marion, who like to “start a little fight” that allows for needed changes to happen. And I applaud you.
    There are whole generations of young women who deserve to feel much better about themselves than they do. If I were to be really honest about it, if I had had someone like you around when I was making my way through the corporate snake pit, I would probably have felt better about MYself too.
    So, bless your heart and count me in.

  12. Re: TypePad: [Geronimo Leadership Coaching ] Gwyn Teatro submitted a comment on "Women Power and Sex in The Media"
    This couldn’t make me feel happier, Gwyn!
    Thanks for your trust , honesty and  enthusiasm.
    Bless your heart, Gwyn.

  13. The thing is this. The whole notion of Power has been consistently described over the years through business, politics and the media through the masculine form. It is further perpetuated through these channels that women who are in power do so as alpha’s or/and with have to look sexy.
    Imagine if power is reframed as influence without coercion. As visionary without being sensual. As clear thinking without just being right brained, the whole tenor of the conversation changes.
    Unfortunately I see too many woman fall under the misconception of the masculine form as to what power is, so it’s a breath of fresh air for people like yourself Marion to address this.

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