The Guardian once noted that “male bylines and sexist stereotypes” dominated Britain’s national newspapers.
If you’re wondering if the same is true of the Australian media, behold an Instagram account that might make your jaw drop.
Candidly titled Front Pages Without Males, this anonymously-run social media account does exactly what it says.
It posts front pages of national Aussie newspapers without a single male in sight.
The take away from scrolling through this account is seeing the under-representation of women in the majority of newspapers around the country.
It’s a reality that hits home.
Despite living in a time when we think women have broken huge gender barriers, these newspaper pages show something different.
You’ll also notice that when the men are stripped off the pages, the stories that do remain of women involve murder, body image, celebrity news and a trickling of politics.
Or, you know, there’s just one story remaining on the front page. Sigh.
Studies back up the idea that women are under-represented in media.
According to media research portal Who Makes The News, under-representation of women in “power and decision making structures” in places such as Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Tonga is linked to the “unequal presence of women in the news”.
Moreover, in their 2015 Global Media Monitoring Report, data revealed that in Australia there were more males in online news stories across all topics including Politics and Government (74%), Economy (67%), Science and Health (59%), Social and Legal (64%), Crime and Violence (69%) and Celebrity news (70%).
George Gerbner coined the phrase for what we’re seeing here: symbolic annihilation. It’s the idea that a group of people are under-represented in the media due to their race, sex, sexual orientation, and so on.
Hopefully, this Instagram account will go viral and editorial teams will work harder to reflect the diversity that is in this country.
Fingers crossed that comes to pass.
In the meantime, follow the Instagram account for yourself!