Society & Culture & Entertainment Education

First Year of NOW’s Task Force on the Image of Women

When the National Organization for Women formed in 1966, the leaders created task forces to work for women’s equality. One of those task forces set to work to change the stereotyped image of women in mass media. The NOW Task Force on the Image of Women in Mass Media outlined its initial goals in a 1967 statement by task force chair Patricia Trainor.

Stereotyped Images

The feminists in NOW wanted to eliminate stereotyped images of women.

As an example, Patricia Trainor cited the many simple Dick and Jane-type school books that showed women only as mothers wearing aprons, waving goodbye as they sent their children off to school. Whether in school books, advertisements, printed news publications or broadcasts, the media lacked images of women in all respected fields and areas of society.

Task Force Tactics

The Task Force on Image of Women in Mass Media planned to use all possible forms of protest and pressure against networks and advertisers. The task force statement noted that pressuring editors and advertisers had helped to change stereotyped media images of African-Americans and Jews. The same methods were to be used to end the denigration of women.

Patricia Trainor organized a New York committee on the image of women to work on the issue. Her 1967 statement explained that a local committee in New York City, a center of communications media, could serve as a “nucleus” of the national task force. The plan was for the task force to have three main focuses:

  • A monitor subcommittee, to monitor the media and suggest specific targets for NOW action.
  • A research subcommittee, to gather facts about the image of women and women’s roles in the modern world. 
  • Individual participation, whereby members of NOW throughout the United States would protest whenever they came across a false image of women.

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