Gender, Race, And Media Representation Essay

Gender, Race, And Media Representation Essay

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The media, through its many outlets, has a lasting effect on the values and social structure evident in modern day society. Television, in particular, has the ability to influence the social structure of society with its subjective content. As Dwight E. Brooks and Lisa P. Hébert write in their article, “GENDER, RACE, AND MEDIA REPRESENTATION”, the basis of our accepted social identities is heavily controlled by the media we consume. One of the social identities that is heavily influenced is gender: Brooks and Hébert conclude, “While sex differences are rooted in biology, how we come to understand and perform gender is based on culture” (Brooks, Hébert 297). With gender being shaped so profusely by our culture, it is important to be aware of how social identities, such as gender, are being constructed in the media.
Gender can be represented in the media through the creation of patriarchal societies. From individual relationships, to the society as a whole, women are rarely in control, and are overall dominated by men. Women are forced into roles that diminish their impact to society, and do not have the freedoms that a man would. A platform to recreate such a society is available in post-apocalyptic narratives. The TV show, Survivors, establishes a patriarchal society where traditional expectations of gender are prevalent.
In, Survivors, a new strain of influenza has killed most of the human population almost overnight. The show takes the perspective of a small group of survivors, as they search for basic necessities, and defend themselves from the chaos other survivors create. The show’s main character is a white, middle aged woman named Abby. She is able to start this group and tries to be the voice of reason, but under clo...


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...o lines in the episode
Although, Survivors, revolves around protagonist Abby, the world created after the apocalypse is not one for women. When discussing the state of the society, Abby states, “we are still human beings” to which Tom replies, “yes, but the rules have changed” (Survivors). But has the society changed really changed that much? Are we living in a patriarchal society today, or is this just something created because of the apocalypse? A normal viewer of the show would most likely not notice the significance of gender roles because it would not stand out to them. Women in the show are shown listening to the directions of men, and in comparison, women only 18.5% of our current US congress (Statistics). Although our society may not match the exact definition of a patriarchal society, it still has elements seen in this show that allow men to dominate women.

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