October 30, 2011

The end of the chick flick -- on the media industry and gender

What comes first? Or inborn femininity or masculinity, or the expectations of the culture around it?

Those who have followed this blog will know that I am pretty much convinced that most of what we consider masculine or feminine is culturally defined, and that all "masculine" of "feminine" personality traits are -- in fact -- common to both sexes.

This does not mean that there cannot be some kind of pre-cultural personality core that is male of female, but it means that we cannot reduce what it means to be a man or a woman to, let's say, a propensity to ask for directions when out travelling.

The advertising industry has a set of categories that are closely correlated to cultural stereotypes. In this TED conference video, Johanna Blakely argues that the fact that women dominates social media will not make media more feminine. Instead they will kill off the genre categories like -- for instance -- chick flicks. The diversity among women will change the media industry.

 Johanna Blakley is Deputy Director of the Norman Lear Center (a media-focused think tank at the University of Southern California).

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