Mass media is especially harmful toward women because it constructs negative perceptions of women and reinforces a set of cultural norms for them to fit in society. This paper will address its focus on women and how the tools used by media shaped images of women, how they are represented and how their identity is perceived in society. Media influences their audiences in many ways, one of which is done through advertising. People prefer to believe that they are not being affected by advertisements however “advertising’s influence is quick, it’s cumulative, and for the most part, it’s subconscious” (Killing Us Softly). Advertisements are everywhere, found on televisions, buses, on the sides of buildings, on the Internet and in the magazines we read.
The Representation of Females in the Media It is generally accepted that the media, primarily television, 'lags' behind reality and current social trends (Butler and Paisley, 1980) (Gunter, Television and Sex Role Stereotyping). However, This does not make the way women are portrayed in the media any better. Women are not only under-represented in the media but more importantly are portrayed to be "half clad, half witted and needing to be rescued by quick thinking fully clothed men" (Stereotypes, Adelson 1990). Women are most commonly portrayed as sexual objects and housewives; whose lives revolve around landing the right man. "When women are in the news, their role is often trivialized.
From a radical theory of feminism, fundamental changes are in need in order to improve the position of women. Nowadays, women still face inequalities and multiple forms of discriminations. Society considers women by nature inferior to men. In fact, social institutions have reinforced these beliefs, which limit the opportunities for women. A current problem in the feminist ideology reduces the chances of moving toward a better position for all women, because feminist groups do not represent all types of women, and these groups are very middle class and very Western.
Thus, the media today does abuse the power of stereotyping in order to gain a favorable reputation. Everything they present in the ad, from symbolism to the lifestyle of the characters, race, age and gender, has an effect on strengthening the stereotype. In this case, women are perceived as emotionally drained, weak and incapable, although now a days that characterization is trying to be broken because women are much more than that and can actually get to achieve greater things.
They are often viewed as objects, whether for a man's pleasure, or for as a group to sell only cleaning products to.The portrayal of women in the media has a highly negative impact on the easily shaped young women of today. Women of power are often criticized, others hypersexualized. The media also directs advertisements for household things at women. Women of power are treated very poorly. These women of power include politicians, doctors, lawyers and businesswomen.
Media has become a significant component within society. While media provides many pros, it supplies various cons as well. One very prominent fault that the significance of media has is its visual depiction of women. There is an abundance of media portraying women to have ideal bodies, and this undoubtedly has a negative effect on adolescent girls. Two of the many effects of media on females are depression and self esteem issues, as well as eating disorders.
The Media’s Negative Influence on Society There is a lot of controversy about how the media affects people, but in my opinion I think the influence we get is more negative than positive. The media is one of the things that impact people the most because in today’s society it is impossible to ignore. It influences the ways in which we dress, speak, act and think. Media is fed to us through movies, television, radio, social media, music, and magazines. I believe mass media is pressuring the way woman and girls want to look, twists reality, and is sexist towards woman without people even realizing.
It is hard for women to be told that they are not mature enough, smart enough, pretty enough, or skinny enough because it is just too painful and humiliating to hear. Advertisements are exposing an unachievable body image for women and at the same time they are making it harder for women to be seen as beautiful in men’s eyes. It is bad enough that they might be going through a hard time because of their insecurities, but to see them on advertisement just makes them feel worse about themselves not better. The article “Sex, Lies, and Advertising” by Gloria Steinem states, “After all, advertising was (and is) as potent a source of information in this country as news or TV or movies. It’s where we get not only a big part of our information but also images that shape our dreams” (202).
Through the media, women learn that they must prove themselves to the world. Men on the other hand are able to do things women cannot, simply because they want to. The scholars listed above agree that the media and advertising have negative impacts on women as they present a view that women are inferior to men, which impacts the development of their identity as well as how they live throughout their entire life. The media has several different aspects and tactics that impact gender roles. It has a way of impacting the emotions of men and women alike, as well as their view on their own gender and the roles they should carry out for the rest of their lives.
Is this to say that women are held responsible for nudity in advertisements rather are women enjoying the sexuality in advertisements? It is complex to understand human society and culture however, women have always been discriminated. In this case, it is important to understand why women are the main instrument in advertisements. The structure of society plays a role in the display of a women’s body. The World Health Organization reported that the sexualization of women and girls is related to societal problems.