Fighting for gender equality within the new media landscape

Photo of Sarah Banet-Weiser
Sarah Banet-Weiser is the founding director of the Center for Collaborative Communication at the Annenberg schools at USC and the University of Pennsylvania. (Photo / Courtesy of USC Annenberg)

TITLE IX: Professor of Communication Sarah Banet-Weiser helps the next generation transform the media landscape to be more inclusive.

On Tuesday afternoons, Professor of Communication Sarah Banet-Weiser challenges students in COMM 395: Gender, Media and Communication to examine the portrayal of gender and race across multiple media platforms. Her goal is to help them consider the ways gender is intertwined with notions of power, identity and voice.

“We need to learn how to recognize how images of race, gender and social class are constructed in the media,” Banet-Weiser said. “If we can understand that representations matter in the world and impact how we occupy our positions and how we organize our lives, we can also recognize that the negative constructions and expressions of gender and race are something that we made. If we made these expressions, then we can unmake them.”

Seeing Title IX’ impact beyond sports

As a mother of a college athlete, Banet-Weiser is still quick to remind her students that the Title IX landmark legislation has an impact well beyond sports — it’s about gender equality.

“Fifty years is not a long time, but it is enough time to actually repair some structural inequalities,” Banet-Weiser said. “We still see things like the state of Florida, which has just put forward a bill that wants to eradicate gender studies and critical race theory from higher education, and a movement across Europe where gender studies departments in universities are being dismantled. I see a very important fight coming. A 50-year anniversary can be a moment of celebration, but it also is a moment of reckoning and we need to be honest about that.”

Read more about Sarah’s story