With her popular media-critical Instagram account @zeikschrift, Madeleijn van den Nieuwenhuizen denounces gender stereotyping and inequality. In this way she shows that it is not about isolated incidents, but patterns.
“I was keen to participate in Media4Women because I think it is very important that there is visibility for this type of systematic pigeonholing of women and in some cases men in the media.
There is a strong interaction between society and media. On the one hand, those who practise journalism are also those who grow up with blind spots and prejudices. The difference between them and ‘ordinary’ people is that they have an extra large responsibility to combat that in their own work.
For @zeikschrift I carefully monitor everything that appears in the Dutch media. What I repeatedly see is that women are portrayed as being financially incompetent, poor negotiators, that all they want is to spend money on Chanel bags, and that they are hysterical and overemotional in how they communicate.
These are all sorts of assumptions rooted in history, from a time when women were made economically incapable or were not allowed to participate socially on the political front. Of course it has nothing to do with actual differences between men and women.
My motive with @zeikschrift is to show that these are patterns and not isolated incidents. The moment people think they can brush off stereotypical portrayals with ‘Oh, it was just a joke,’ or ‘That’s not what I meant’, you fail to touch on its underlying systematic nature. So I think it helps to show in my posts where it actually happens: in this article, again a man is used to illustrate economic negotiation, here a woman is used to illustrate an article about cleaning.
Naturally, I see more examples of stereotypical portrayal in the media, for instance in relation to people of colour. But almost half my posts are about gender stereotyping. That shows just how much it still occurs in the media. I set up @zeikschrift in 2016 and I now have almost 38,000 followers. It is extremely encouraging to see how much interest there is in this topic, because change starts with insight.”