The Portrayal of Young Women on Television Essay

The Portrayal of Young Women on Television Essay

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The Portrayal of Young Women on Television

Television is widely known to represent and reinforce the mainstream
ideology of contemporary western culture. While television's
representations of women has changed greatly in the last twenty years,
in order to accommodate the changing role of women in society. one is
left to ask how much the ideology has changed behind the more modern
representations of women. "Television is regarded by many viewers to
be the most 'real' form of media". If this is the case, then it is
important for us to question how real the representations of women are
on television and how this affects the attitudes of those who watch.

As mentioned above, there is a higher number of women in the
population than men, so if television is more realistic, this should
be reflected. Yet women are typically seen less often than men on
television and much less frequently in central dramatic roles. For
example, figures show that in television drama women are outnumbered
by men 3:1. In cartoons women are outnumbered 10:1 and in soaps women
are outnumbered by as much as 7:3 which is quite surprising when one
considers that this genre of television viewing has a very high
proportion of female audience. Even children's television is dominated
by males: 70% . Men also dominate the production side of television,
so it is hardly surprising then, that the masculine or patriarchal
ideology is presented as the norm, when women are so outnumbered by
men on screen, and behind the scenes in television.

Gunter argues that televisions sex stereotyping occurs in relation to
various roles in which men and women are portrayed and which have a...

... middle of paper ...

...or people to gaze through, and believe what
they see. Television allows people to see more things and so choose
what they want to be.

But unfortunately that choice for girls is often one full of
impossible contradictions in what they are shown, meaning that
television perhaps confuses further an issue which it could help to
resolve with more equal and less stereotypical portrayals of women.


· DINES, G. & HUMEZ, J.M. (Eds.) (1995): Gender, Race and Class in
Media: A Text Reader. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

· DURKIN, K. (1985): Television, Sex Roles and Children. Milton
Keynes: Open University Press.

· FISKE, J. (1987): Television Culture. London: Methuen

· WOOD,R(1998): Sexual Politics and Narrative Film

· GUNTER, B. (1986): Television and Sex Role Stereotyping. London:

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