Credits: Gerd Altmann / pixelio.de
Are men still the drivers of trends? How do women approach the Social Web, and the new mobile technology? Is the realm of gadgets still a mens’ business? Interestingly enough, a recent study from Women at NBCU found that women are the main drivers of tech trends, particularly on social networks. But there are more studies to obey… Some findings of a recent study from Women at NBCU show that women are more engaged in social media and the mobile trend than men. The results say that women are the main drivers of tech trends, especially on social networks.
Women in General
Making purchases, a high number of women (71%) surveyed stated that they have their recommendations from online friends rather than review websites. And even more, they are far more likely to connect with brands on their social networks. According to the survey, women are alsoo more likely to own a smartphone, a gaming app like Angry Birds or a Wii than men. So, the question will be which social network is dominated by women and which one by men? The Pew Internet Research allows some insights. Except for LinkedIn all other social networks seemed to be ruled by women. Is business is a mens’ domain or just more men in the workforce…?
Females participate stronger and more intense overall and in every other social network. Also interesting, that male versus female usage on Twitter is just the opposite. Another study last year by BridgeRatings said that men prefer Twitter while Facebook is more appealing to women. However if we take a look at the Google+ stats, it seems that Google+ is a male-dominated platform by a ratio of 3:1. However, Paul Allen, predicts that “Google+ is quickly turning pink”. His view is that the “percentage of women on G+ may soon outstrip the number of women on LinkedIn”. Although women are more thinking in segmented friendship circles, I have heard many women complaining about the complexity of Google+. We will watch this trend evolving…
Women in business
The Women Presidents’ Organization found in a study, based on the responses of 259 women-led companies, that 40% women-led business owners thinks that an increase in revenue was based on their social media efforts. Even more, 10% of the respondents saw a “significant” revenue jump. However the great figures, 40% of respondents also denied having seen sales improve from social media, but 31% of them remained “hopeful”. They envision other benefits like building credibility or better recruitment opportunities. Still, there were 16% not using Social Media.
Women at home: Moms
Moms are a definiely an emerging and lucrative target group for marketers. We can see this from a NPD group research and Pandora, the streaming service. They are using social networks longer and more frequently to share their views on kids and education, and they are even more heavy mobile users. Mothers make up 20% Internet traffic and are the fastest-growing buyers of iPhones. And also a Nielsen report claims that American mothers are sharing more photos and news on Facebook than anyone else. “We’ve known about the opportunity of online moms for a while now, but then mobile technology came along and blew everything up”. Marshal Cohen, Chief Retail Analyst, NPD Group
Men are no longer the forerunners of modern technology. Women adapt at least as quickly as men, and seem to be more engaged in Social Media and social networking than men. If this is because men focus and identify themselve more with business topics, or whether there are other reasons like American focus of the studies, the readers of this post might find arguments for or against some of these views.
Images of Women in the Media
For a long time women were 'hidden from history' as so aptly described by Sheila Rowbotham. One of the first aims of feminist scholarship, which has gained such momentum in the past few decades, has been to render women's situation and experience visible. As a consequence of the feminist movement, many issues affecting women's lives have become important areas of discussion and study which have produced far-reaching developments in intellectual work. In a nutshell, the earlier phase of feminist scholarship tended concentrate on the male domination of women in keeping the latter largely confined to the domestic sphere and their consequent exclusion from the male world. The newer phase of feminist scholarship, however, has become a far more diverse body of thought. It has come to emphasize the special and distinctive nature of women's roles in both the 'public' and 'private' spheres of life. Media, and how women are represented in media, form one important aspect of such studies.
By Shoma Munshi
Academic discourse, debate, and research have been plentiful in feminist media theory and women in media research in recent years. Media has been described as "technologies of gender, accomodating, modifying, reconstructing and producing, disciplining and contrary renditions of sexual difference" (Van Zoonen, 'Feminist Media Studies', Sage, London and New Delhi, 1994 : 41). Media 'texts' as they are called, such as advertisements, television programmes, films, magazines, etc., provide an area of observation to see how such technologies function and provide meaning. These help in throwing light, as a starting point for further analysis, on issues such as the tensions in a struggle between tradition and modernity; the alternative, and at times, conflicting meanings encoded in such texts; the symbols of reality and fantasy in such models of communication; questions of gender, ethnicity, sexuality and power in the construction of femininity, etc. Objectives of the Conference
Drawing upon such polysemic media 'texts', this conference invites participants to discuss new methodological and theoretical approaches to deal with such data and address the sort of questions outlined above, and any others which will help form a linking point for discussions (discussed later in this article). The following two methodologies have been been current in such research so far. One has been the concentration on the 'reception' or 'consumption' side - the interpretation, acceptance/non-acceptance of such portrayals, the position of the intended (and non-intended) audiences and consumers in relation to such texts, ethnographic studies of consumption, interpretation, resistance, etc. This becomes inevitable when one recognizes the multiplicity of meanings in media texts and the multiplicity of ways that audiences make meaning of such texts. Another has been to concentrate on the 'production' side - the study of the media product itself, either by content analysis or semiotic analysis. In an interpretative research strategy the one can complement the other. Apart from these ways, the conference welcomes new approaches towards the examination of any type of media output.
Two related points for a broader linking of discussions need mentioning here. One, feminist scholarship has inevitably tended to make gender (as expressed in questions dealing mainly with femininity) an important component of research. However, this has led to a backlash, since by definition, gender needs to focus both on women as well as men, on questions of femininity as well as masculinity. Thus, without strictly adhering to the title of the conference, papers dealing with theory, notions of masculinity and male sexuality in the construction of gender discourses, etc would also be welcome for discussion. Two, geographical boundaries are not demarcated for the purposes of this conference; nor are strict areas of specialization. Hence papers will draw on empirical data from countries like Indonesia, Nepal, India, England, etc. What is of importance is to examine how different theoretical frameworks and approaches are applicable to the examination of such issues.
Last, but not least, the title of the conference, 'Images of Women in Media' is a deliberate choice. The word 'images' brings to mind 'representation'. Representation is of crucial political and cultural importance. By focusing on media, the conference will look at how far women are able to articulate their own perspectives and demands. How do women represent and re-present themslves through media? Representation also finds immediate reference to many of the important questions regarding culture and politics on the academic agenda. Cultural self-expression (through mass media) is a way of campaigning for political leverage. Not only does it lobby for social and legal changes beneficial to women, it also challenges cultural preoccupations concerning femininity and gender. The aim of the conference is that discussion and debate on such issues will lead to a broad cultural critique and raise further questions for future research.