Race, Class And Gender Influence On Hegemonic Masculinity And Femininity Ideals

Race, Class And Gender Influence On Hegemonic Masculinity And Femininity Ideals

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In the United States, women are universally experiencing misogyny and pressure to conform to the ideals of hegemonic femininity. This experience for women is in part due to the acceptance of controlling images such as stereotypical gender roles and sexual objectification in the media and other broadcasting outlets. On the opposite side, men are also experiencing the stress and pressure of conforming to the ideals of hegemonic masculinity. The media is thus creating a vicious cycle of rhetoric and images persuading men and women that they have to act, look, and live life a certain way. Within this vicious cycle, the commodification of difference is created to benefit mass media, marketing representatives, and the generally white, upper-class male, CEOs that make the decisions for mass media conglomerates. In this essay, we will discuss and examine how controlling images in the media in regards to race, class and gender influence the creation and conformity to hegemonic masculinity and femininity ideals. It will be dually noted that this is not only a modern day media crisis, but that this practice has been going on for hundreds of years, dating back to the 1800’s. Furthermore, we will analyze how the commodification of difference only benefits a small group of elitist individuals. At the conclusion of this essay, the reader should have a firm understanding of the toxic interrelationship between hegemonic femininity, hegemonic masculinity, and the commodification of difference portrayed in the media and marketing world.
Controlling images in the media in regards to race are rampant and only seem to benefit wealthy white individuals, who are commonly men. When exploring Julia Jordan Zachary’s piece, Mythical Illusions: Cultural Image...


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...ion of difference, the use of the media to employ differences, and hegemonic femininity and masculinity work together to suppress us all. In the piece, Beyond Racism and Misogyny: Black Feminism and 2 Live Crew, Crenshaw states, “In order for sensibility to develop into empowerment, Black women will have to make it clear that patriarchy is a critical issue that negatively impacts the lives not only of African-American women, but men as well.” Her quote is specific to patriarchal oppression, but also can be applied to fighting against hegemonic femininity and masculinity. It needs to be acknowledged that countless individuals are affected negatively by gender related hegemony and the commodification of difference. If Americans continually buy into the images projected in mainstream media, the world we live in will forever be plagued with discrimination and prejudice.

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