The media takes these consistent behaviors and amplifies them thus affecting our perception of self, the choices we make, and hat society values. Ergo, gender roles that exist in the media then turn into an obscure portrayal of what it is to be a woman or a man, in today’s world. This paper will argue that gender stereotypes in the media, have a very prominent and negative effect on society as it creates constant inequality between genders in daily life, affects health through self-esteem. The beginning of the paper will outline relevant, recent, scholarly literature about gender stereotypes that are present specifically in the media.
The paper will continue on to discuss why gender stereotypes in the media are a social problem. The essay will conclude with a discussion and annotation regarding the way media portrays women and men in society, and how this amplifies inequality between both genders, through several aspects. The Social Role Theory, according to Eagle as cited in Vogel (2003) explained that one reason women and men confirm gender stereotypes is because they act in accordance with their social roles. These social roles are considered the norm, and society is determined to conform.
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Oliver (2012) explained that these solicitations occur in order to belong and conform, because we fear alienation. This process of uniformity in relation to gender is called gender colonization, where “people learn their gender based behavior” (Tapering and Curtis, 2011, p. 92). Gender is constructed culturally, as mentioned before, and thus we have our definitions of masculinity and femininity in our surroundings and upbringings. When forming our identity, we try to match these ideal definitions, in order to be happy with ourselves. Tapering and Curtis (2011) explained that notions of gender differ from society to society.
The notion of what it is to be either gender has since been shaped into something much more narrow-minded. The media suggests the “perfect” man and “perfect” woman, explains Oliver (2012) as there is a certain way that one is supposed to act, dress, act, think, right down to how much money one might make (Gender, Para 2. ) Oliver (2012) explained that men were the more dominant gender in nearly all aspects of life. Women continuously fall victim to patriarchy. The truth of the matter is, that a lot of the roles that each gender has are now interchangeable, and the stereotypes that we so often see are inaccurate.
Media has always presented both women and men in gender-stereotypical ways that MIT our capabilities as people. Symbolic Interactions, as a theoretical perspective, would say that “media, religion, and language help maintain gender differences” (Tapering and Curtis, 2011, p. 102). The differences media portrays are quite narrow-minded aspects. Wood (1994) explains that men have always been emotionless beings. As for women, they are overly emotional and devote their time to taking care of their appearance, people, and homes. They are made out to be softer, feminine, more passive characters.
If these common behaviors do not match our own, we are often alienated. Roles and traits are interchangeable between the two genders, but media has made this image seem uncommon and almost unwanted. In relation to this, the media is massively responsible for creating the image of a perfect being, which is quite unrealistic for most of the human population. Over periods of time, our ideal “person”, so to speak has been greatly influenced by the media around us; books, magazines, TV shows, (etc. ). Kilojoules as cited in Pole Lynch (2001) states that “media advertisements set unrealistic expectations of girls’ physical appearance.
This observation has been supported by media theorists and researchers, who also tot a recent trend toward setting unrealistic expectations for boys. ” As we are looking to conform, and build upon our identity and self-esteem, this becomes very crucial in our attitudes toward ourselves, as well as our health. The Learning Theory, according to Oliver (2012), suggests that human behavior is learned (Para. 5). As the human population tries to “fit in”, they will often give in to what is seen in the media surrounding them.
This is almost impossible, most of the time and it has detrimental effects. “Connections have been made between media’s influence and negative psychological impacts. These include eating disorders (Waller et al. , 1994), body image problems (Henderson-King and Henderson-King, 1997; Strasbourg, 1995), and the construction of negative gender stereotypes (Currie, 1997; MacDonald, 1995; Ward, 1995). As well, media’s messages regarding what to wear, what to weigh and how to sculpt muscles, may relate to worries about physical appearance and self- evaluations” (p. 1).
This lack of satisfaction, could lead to depression, and a skewed self-concept, resulting in a drop in self-esteem. Thus, impossible standards of becoming the ideal man or woman can affect health. Furthermore, the gender troopers in the media make it difficult for women to be taken seriously in the real world. This was to have changed as women’s rights came about with the suffrage movement, which was during the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century Brooks as cited in Tapering and Curtis (2011) as they gained the right to vote, work, social reform, and both political and legal rights (p. 00). Ever since then, women have continued to strive for change to slowly draw equality between both genders. This has not been entirely successful however, because there are underlying stereotypes in the media that displays under-representation. Women are assigned to domestic roles, whereas the men are associated with career, authority, and leadership” (Eagle & Mammalian, 1994). Oliver (2012) goes on to explain that women are almost always portrayed to be of the “secretary role” in TV shows (Para. 4).
When they are shown to be an important figurehead, it is made out to be a bad thing as they are given and attitude problem, or made to be ugly. Truthfully, this is not always the case, but media has made this image quite prominent. This discourages either gender from Jobs that do not fit their designated social standing. Ultimately, this leads into ender-stereotyping affecting societies as a whole, in terms of what we value. There are mass amounts of money going into all the wrong places, rather than where it should be. Gender-stereotyping is very directly related to the amount of money that itself in its subjects… He people still manage to make their own meanings and to construct their own culture within, and often against, that which the industry provides them. ” (Hall, 1980) We, as consumers are constantly exposed to advertising, Thus, we are giving into the stereotypes that we claim to dread. This money could be going out to help more important matters, but it is not. Overall, spending on advertising in 1996 increased nearly 14 percent over 1995, says Lynn FAA, a senior research associate at CM. The industry spent $736. 6 million in 1996 compared to $646. Million in 1995 on consumer media, including print, television and radio” (Card News, 1997). Millions of dollars are being put to air gender stereotypes in the media, such as TV shows, and degrading music videos where all men have six packs, and women are beauty queens. Ergo, we consumers spend money on things to become Just like them; weight loss programs, a home workout system, drugs, make- up, etc. We are ultimately ignoring important matters that really do need the money, and are giving in to the stereotypes we once dreaded instead.