As BYU student Alec Parkinson remarked, "there really is a whole lot of good that's done by spreading information, even if sometimes there is bad that goes along with it" (Digital Dialogue on LearningSuite.byu.edu, an online forum).
In her post “Women's Identity Molded by Media”, Samantha Ellis explores the idea that public access to information is the primary effector of the identity of women in society. Although media-driven social expectations limit the ability of women to create their own identity, the high expectations set by media motivate women to have progress in ways never thought possible. Often when expectations are made, expectations are met. If a woman's identity determines how she perceives reality and the media determine her identity, then the media determines how she perceives reality and therefore how she acts--her behavior--for better or worse. The media's intense social expectations for women influenced identity of both the flappers and later the baby boomers of the 20th century and to the women of the 21st century today.
See Samantha’s thoughts on how public access to information shapes the expectations of women by affecting their identity.
Marriage and Divorce
In her post “Great Expectations: Why the Mass Media’s Portrayal of the ‘Ideal Marriage’ May Not Be Such a Bad Thing”, Emma LeSueur explores the idea that public access to information empowers women and encourages them to seek the happy marital relationship they deserve. Women who seek to know and understand the world and its complexities through mass media have the confidence necessary to stand up against abuse and seek loving, successful marriages. Although the mass media's portrayal of the "ideal marriage" can lead to unrealistic expectations for marriage and the over-analysis of marital relationships, ultimately it is the mass media that is primarily responsible for motivating women to strengthen those marital relationships that need strengthening and end those marital relationships that need ending. The media's ultimately positive influence on marital relationships was evident throughout the history of the noble class in England and, despite the marital struggles of the 21st century, continues to play an important role in today’s digital community.
See Emma’s thoughts on how public access to information shapes the ideals and expectations of women by affecting their marital relationships.
In his post “The Media and Women’s Education”, Brady Davis explores the idea that public access to information in large part determines the extent to which women and girls receive quality education. While sexists use media to propagate a societal ideology of absolute domesticity, subservience, and ignorance among women, feminists use media to propagate a societal ideology of independence, equality, and education. This tension between those promoting ideals destructive of women's education and those promoting ideals conducive to it has existed since the beginning of the women's rights movement in 18th-century England and continues today as the world-wide digital community joins together to fight for women's education wherever there is a deficiency, like in the Middle East. As was true for English society in the past, the amount of ground we gain in this metaphorical "tug-of-war" between the ignorance and education of women depends on our participation in the fight.
See Brady’s thoughts on how public access to information shapes the ideals and expectations of women by affecting their view of and access to education.
About the Authors
Samantha Ellis is a student at Brigham Young University studying speech therapy. She grew up in Sandy Utah, loves the outdoors and is very family-oriented. She is the oldest of 8 siblings, and when she is older she wants to be a homemaker and raise children of her own. Armed with a love of service and a positive outlook on life, Samantha is at the advent of an exciting life’s journey.
Brady Davis is a student at Brigham Young University studying biology, Portuguese, and print editing. From 2013-2015, he served a two-year service mission in Brazil and fell in love with the people there. While in Brazil, Brady realized how blessed he was for having had such a quality education at such a low price, and that is when he became interested in promoting education for disadvantaged children and adults. Upon returning, he watched the documentary "He Named Me Malala" and immediately fell in love with Malala's campaign for girls' education. When Brady is not planning an event to help promote awareness for children's education in third world countries, he enjoys running, hiking, reading, and writing.