In a scathing report, the Women’s Foundation found that the most viewed videos on YouTube offer a humiliating view of women. We are dissecting this report together.
A damning report
Since its inception, YouTube has had tremendous success. Whether it’s watching the latest news from our favorite videographers or music videos, the platform is an integral part of our lives. But its immense success would mean an embarrassing setback.
According to a report by the Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel (CSA) from 2018, the Women’s Foundation, in collaboration with Sciences-Po, drafted an even more damning report. The study process is simple: an analysis of the 200 most watched videos between 2019 and 2020. And the result is tough: the most watched videos on the platform would highlight a degrading image of women.
In its report, the foundation states that 73.3% of the 200 most viewed videos on YouTube are music videos; followed by animation (8.6%), entertainment (5.1%), tutorials (3.5%), video games (2%) and humorous content (2%).
According to La Fondation des femmes, 39% of the 200 videos viewed show female stereotypes. The women are “for sale” (8.5%), “seductresses” (12.5%), “dolls” (13%) of the great “sentimental” (15%). The report says:
If we take a closer look at the videos with stereotypical content related to the female gender, we find that the majority (81.7%) were also categorized as “several”.
The Women’s Foundation also highlights the fact that women are more likely than men to be represented with multiple related stereotypes. The man is “hypervirile” (35.5%), “protective” (21.5%), “macho” (19%), “seducer” (10%), “womanizer” (6.5%), ” brave “(6.5%).
An overrepresentation of men
The report’s authors also point out another problem: “Men remain over-represented compared to women”. Thus men have the privilege to cast the main roles: 62.2% for men, 16.3% for women. Several categories follow: “not applicable” (14.3%), “other” (0.5%), “mixed” (6.6%).
If the Women’s Foundation 2018 “sees the same trend as the CSA” (73% leading roles for men, 27% for women), be aware that the CSA report did not include a “mixed” category. “,“ Other, ”and“ Not Applicable. ”So if there is a real gap between the male and female lead, it is still hard to tell whether or not that ratio has improved.
Hypersexualization of Women
As expected, the Women’s Foundation also examined the sexualization of male and female characters and came to this conclusion: 20% of the videos contained sexualized content.
These sexualized characters are, by and large, women. We have found that very often these women are not naked, neither partially nor fully, but their bodies are objectified by much more insidious processes, the most common being camera games aimed at showing the various female attributes (68.3% ) as well as their erotic movements and lascivious poses (31.7%).
In her report, La fondation des femmes then analyzes the types of relationships between men and women. 39% of male-female relationships are thus seductive relationships, 26.7% “neutral relationships”, 12.8% friendly relationships, 11.7% stereotypical marital relationships, 4.4% submissive relationships, 3.9% of the reports about Obedience, 1.1% of reports of violence. The women’s foundation stipulates:
We classified as “reports of submission” or “reports of violence” and not as “reports of seduction” situations that occurred again and again where “flirting” with women was not an issue, no return from the latter.
An increase in degrading images of women?
Finally, the women’s foundation notes an “increase in content that depicts a humiliating image of women”. The authors of the studies observed 35% problematic content, compared to 15.5% in the CSA study 2018. This increase is explained by a gradation of the “degrading scale” created by the women’s foundation.
The most frequent degradation is thus the devaluing image of women, which we have defined as the presence of aesthetic or inactive female supporting roles in globally objectified women. The image of contempt runs particularly through stereotypical gender roles, the characters and the statements made. The humiliating image is visible when the comments or images indicate a dimension of subordination of women to men and when the comments are sexual or sexist in nature. The degrading image corresponds to the dimension of objectification and the most violent degradation if the content shows elements of sexual and gender-specific violence in particular. […] We find that out of 69 items on the “degrading” scale, 21 are degrading, 14 are contemptuous, 15 are degrading and 19 are degrading.
It should be noted that the authors of the report do not name the authors of the videos, but rather denounce a global system.