Essay on Gender Roles And Its Impact On The Way The Audience Perceives The Self

Essay on Gender Roles And Its Impact On The Way The Audience Perceives The Self

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INTRODUCTION

There is limited literature offering specific theories that clearly explicate the connection between mediated representation of genders and audience identity, yet some conceptual resources can be used to address the relationship between media representation and its impact on the way the audience perceives the self. Before looking at the theoretical foundation of media representation of genders, I will provide a brief description of how genders and identity are constructed in history.

A major factor contributing to the longevity of gender roles is cultural hegemony. Within this system, binary thinking of masculinity and femininity is fundamental to the constitution of sex roles and later the conceptual development of gender role theory. These binary oppositions have always dominated cultural discourse and their underlying master narrative where “men and masculinity discourses occupy the dominant centre of rationality, displacing women and their femininity to their seemingly emotional margins” (Knights and Kerfoot, 2004). This inescapable social hierarchy based on gender distinction and the construction of “masculine hegemonic stories” “obstruct the development of sexual equality” (Knights and Kerfoot, 2004), subordinates and suppresses women in relation to men. For example, traditional oriental cultures are heavily influenced by the teaching of Confucius – a system of social rules and etiquette that have been criticised for creating “traditional chains oppressing women and preventing their full equality with men in political sphere as well as their quest for political power” (Tangeraas Hansen, 2014). Confucius teachings accepted the subservience of women to their husband and children as natural and proper, strength...


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...self-presentation and ways to find happiness.
I cannot bring this discussion to an end without emphasizing the conflicting interaction between “the ground-in power of the old ways of doing things and the power of new ideas” (Gauntlett, p.287). In some parts the media still likes to foster forces of tradition and conservatism while in other parts of media culture it puts out a whole spectrum of messages that help to create spaces for greater diversity of identity. This element of contradiction means that the media establishes a non-linear, non-straightforward relationship with people’s sense of identity, gender and selfhood; and it is the multiplicity of messages disseminated by the media that sometimes creates an open realm of possibilities where individuals use the media as a resource to “think through their sense of self and modes of expression” (Gauntlett, p.288)

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