Gender is the psychological characteristics and social categories that are created by human culture. Doing gender is the concept that humans express their gender when they interact with one another. Messages about how a male or female is supposed to act come from many different places. Schools, parents, and friends can influence a person. Another major factor that influences millions of impressionable females and males is television. Not only does the television teach each sex how to act, it also shows how one sex should expect the other sex to act. In the current television broadcasting, stereotypical behavior goes from programming for the very small to adult audiences. In this broadcasting range, females are portrayed as motherly, passive and innocent, sex objects, or they are overlooked completely or seen as unimportant entities.
Stereotyping women is not only rampant in the adult world; it also flourishes in the kiddie universe as well. Here, there are depictions of women and girls as motherly or innocent, silly, and passive. This occurs not only in popular programming on Public Broadcasting, but also on television in other countries. Mothering images on Philippine TV has shown some of the same trends that is seen in the United States. Although “Teletubbies and Barney & Friends display an equal representation in number, each show displays gender stereotyped qualities,” it is obvious that these programs are sometimes reinforcing the wrong ideas about gender roles to children, roles that feminists have been battling for almost half a century. “Both programs demonstrated clear gendered roles with males being more active and females being more social and passive. This distinction appeared most obviously in the real-life segments of both programs with women as mother or passive viewer of action. Neither program shows women or men in non-stereotypical roles, indicating at an early age children are exposed to gender-specific occupational expectations.” Each show has children as additional characters, and each episode consists of a live action activity.
In Barney & Friends, Barney interacts with two female sidekicks. Baby Bop is “a silly, excitable, and giddy [dinosaur] carrying a blankey, wearing a bow—a stereotypical little girl”. She plays dress-up, sings, and plays pretend where she might be a ballerina or...
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...get less attention than male’s. “On boys’ favorite TV shows, male characters are frequently portrayed at work, while the occupations of nearly half of female characters are unidentified.” This is damaging because boys will begin to think that either women are lazy and can’t find work, or their work is not important enough to be seen as something to regard.
The media and television broadcasting of women is not all negative. But current culture is constantly taking the easy way out. It refuses to explore different ways in which women can be represented. That is why for years to come women will still be seen as motherly, passive and innocent, sex objects, or they are overlooked or seen as unimportant entities. Whether it’s motherly birds on kids TV shows or scantily clad dancers on Monday Night Football, the portrayal of women has yet to catch up with what real life women are like. There are single women, obese women, and smart women. Women who are single mom’s, lesbians, or don’t have any children at all. Women are able to do the same type of work as men without being manly. The day that women are treated as equals on television will whole new level of success for feminism.
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