Saturday, April 10, 2010

More Attention for Women and Minorities!

Even though women make up more than half the population in the United States, only “less than 5 percent [own] television stations and 6 percent [own] radio stations,” Carol Jenkins reported in The Women’s Media Center blog, "Media Ownership: Impact on Minority Ownership and Localism". How can it be that women is the dominant group in terms of numbers, but men control a majority of the media, that, for the most part, teaches the society what to buy and how to live? Specifically, it is white men that lead in the media industries, with very few men of color, and even less women of color. According to the National Organization for Women’s "Women in Media Fact Sheet", “women own just six percent of the commercial broadcast TV stations in the U.S., and people of color own a mere three percent,” and “women own just six percent of all full-power commercial broadcast radio stations in the U.S., and people of color own just eight percent.” And when women and minorities do work, they are mainly “mere props in our media, playing no significant part on the air or in management.” (Jenkins) In addition to that, white men get a higher pay than both white women and women of color. (Women and Media Fact Sheet) Despite these statistics, there are few women who lead in the media, such as Katie Couric and Diane Sawyer, both white women who are one of the first leading anchorwomen in the United States. Another example, although not as successful, is Tyra Banks and her Tyra Show.

Tyra Banks is a role model for not only women but also men all over the world. She stands up for what she believes is just, specifically for women and minorities, as she is a black woman. In her television talk show program, The Tyra Banks Show, Banks spreads the message that minorities should be strong and hold their head up high. According to Wikipedia, The Tyra Banks Show is aired not only in the United States, but also in many other countries. There, she addresses various problems women and and men face constantly and invite guests, both famous and non-famous, to speak about it if it applies to them, how they deal and/or overcome it, all while having fun talking about it. She challenges other people's beliefs in order to help them see a broader view of things and in return, she listens to other perspectives. In addition to this, she also discusses about things a woman can do to keep herself beautiful, healthy, and in style.

An instance of her zealous encouragement is in an episode where Banks had a few black people, a few white people, and a few biracials of these two races, all of whom hate the opposite race, their own race, or only acknowledge one side of their race. She had them all explain their views on how and why they felt this way, and then they all talk it out as Tyra asked questions to help them lift or at least lessen their hatred toward others or themselves. In another episode, Tyra talked about sexuality and invited guests to talk about their difficulties today in being a gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and intersex. A few weeks ago, a few children came on the show to talk about themselves being transgender. Tyra interviewed them to expose their hardships from bullyings to allow her audience to understand what they go through and let them see that they are the same people as "normal" people are.

The Tyra Banks Show first aired on September 15, 2005 and will continue to show until the end of the fifth season, which will be some time in spring 2010, so that Banks can concentrate on her production company, Bankable Studios. ( Her show has been successful in the five years it was running because of her interesting topics of choice mainly aimed for women and occasionally, also men. Just recently, she invited a group of men on her show to talk about how they look and the insecurities they may have. Many women can relate to the subject matters talked about in the program and look to her for advice, since there aren't much accessible resources that women can find their answers from, and there aren't many television shows specifically for women where women (and/or men) have conversations about women, whether it is gossip (which is always a fascinating topic of choice) or something educational, openly on daytime television.

In order to keep her shows interesting, she invites celebrities to her show just to talk to them and ask them funny questions they normally wouldn't get in an interview. She always had some sort of topic that is somehow of appeal to everyone one way or another, and her perspective on it is a plus. Other issues Tyra speaks about includes, but does not limit to, domestic violence, sexuality and gender identity, sex and the sex industry, and medical mysteries. In addition to her talk show, she also has a website,, and a Facebook Page,, that goes hand in hand with the show, where viewers and her fans can share their opinions and stories.

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