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Magdalene Indonesia’s #FTW Media (For the Women Media)

News Stories /18 March 2021

If media acts as both a mirror and mould of public attitudes and perceptions—what does it betray about society if media is sexist in its depiction of women and men?

Magdalene Indonesia’s latest podcast series, #FTW Media, puts the spotlight on representations of women in media (news, popular culture products such as films, videos and advertisements, and social media), their impact, and what consumers can do—how they move from passive to critical viewing and wield their power to choose and, consequently, influence the very media created for their consumption. 

“FTW” is an internet expression that is short for “For the Win,” but in this context, it can also be interpreted as “For the Women.” Each 20-minute episode covers a specific aspect of women in media—objectification, sexism, stereotyping, underrepresentation, beauty standard, etc.—using a particular medium or format as a case study. The podcast series, made more accessible to its audience by using the local Bahasa Indonesia language, will run for 12 episodes on Spotify.

Some of the questions posed by #FTW Media as of publication date (translated into English):

  • Episode 1: Women in Media, Why You Should Care
    Have we looked closely at “standardised” media portrayals of women? Why should we care that women are commonly framed in a domestic setting, or presented as helpless and oppressed by their spouse, in mass media (i.e., Indonesian TV and popular novels)?

  • Episode 2: (Un)filter me
    How dependent are people on image filters? How do these filters reflect/reinforce beauty standards, including at work? How do these idealised images impact women and girls?

  • Episode 3: Portraits of Women in Commercials
    How often are women shown at home versus the workplace in advertisements? Are there perceptive differences in these images of women, depending on whether the target audience is male or female? Are beauty products marketed to women for their own benefit or for the benefit of the male gaze?

  • Episode 4: Netizens’ Thumbs Up
    Why are women often on the receiving end of online abuse? How do we change the behaviour of netizens, cloaked in anonymity, engaging in malicious commentary or bullying of women on social media?

  • Episode 5: A Toxic Love Story in Fiction: Yay or Nay?
    How do toxic fictional relationships—like the one between Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in erotic novel-turned-movie Fifty Shades of Grey—affect readers/viewers? How do these depictions compare with traditional gender roles and gendered power dynamics at home and at work? Is there space for alternative narratives?

The thought-provoking podcast series explores the interplay between unconscious bias and media portrayals and, in the process, questions gender norms. #FTW Media’s conversations continue to raise awareness of damaging portrayals of women in media, and push for a shift to more positive perspectives, not only of women but also of men.

Magdalene, a bilingual web magazine advocating women’s rights and gender equality, provides alternative perspectives on sensitive—often taboo—subjects not covered by mainstream media. #FTW Media is part of Magdalene Indonesia’s Women Lead program and is supported by Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government.

Watch out for the rest of the podcast series, with a new episode released weekly on Spotify. Links will also be posted on the Magdalene website

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