The Effects of Printed Media on Gender Roles

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I will be looking at women’s 'to-be-looked-at-ness', and examining the representations of women as objects of the male gaze and male desires. In simple terms, a stereotype is the application of one (usually negative) characteristic to a whole group. The stereotype is an easy concept to understand, but there are some points you need to consider when looking at media representations with regard to stereotyping. For a stereotype to ‘work’ it needs to be recognisable to the audience and when so recognised, then judgements are made about the subject. If the stereotype is negative, then the judgements will also tend to be the same. The predictable thing about stereotypes is that they are predictable! They create a sense of order and also provide a sense of identity (even if it is a negative one!) Stereotypical judgements and stereotypical media representations can (and often do) lead to different treatments of groups by other groups, (sadly, often quite discriminatory). If we define ‘male’ and ‘female’ all we are doing is a biological classification, but if we think about the terms ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ we have to think about certain roles and lifestyles. Put simply, the words have very specific ideological assumptions of what is ‘natural behaviour’ for each sex. The portrayal of men and women in traditional roles is very prominent and also very contested in advertising. Characters, both male and female are constantly placed in roles, socially constructed to 'match' their gender. In other words, society has constructed (made) a set of ‘truths’ about what is the ‘right’ way for a man or a woman to behave. The media, of cou... ... middle of paper ... ... adverts to highlight these changes. These reversals are, however, often portrayed in a sarcastic or less serious than in other adverts. Without these gender roles maybe society would have had an adverse effect on the media and what we portray as acceptable would in fact be outrageous. Why is the media so important? —One may ask. More often than not, it’s the way we get most of our information. Information we tend to think of as the “truth. Overall when looking at different types of media I got the general impression that women are portrayed in a worthless provocative manor. This was repeated in the same way across the whole range and always looked as if they were being exploited. Society have dictated to the media what they want to buy and see, all that’s left for the media to do is provide this product.

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