In the present, as well as in the past, it has been thought that women are held to a different set of standards than men, simply because they do not measure up. This is not only true in real life situations, but also in the media. The harsh reality is that a majority of the worlds’ population believe these false ideas. In the essays “The Smurfette Principal” by Katha Pollitt, “Two Ways a Woman Can Get Hurt” by Jean Kilbourne, “The Wonder Woman Precedent: Female (Super)Heroism on Trial” by Julie O’Reilly, “Taking a Bite Out of Twilight” by Carmen Siering, and “From Multicultural Barbie and the Merchandising of Difference” by Ann Ducille, they discuss several different ways in which the idea that women do not measure up to men is portrayed. Through the media, women learn that they must prove themselves to the world. Men on the other hand are able to do things women cannot, simply because they want to. The scholars listed above agree that the media and advertising have negative impacts on women as they present a view that women are inferior to men, which impacts the development of their identity as well as how they live throughout their entire life.
The media has several different aspects and tactics that impact gender roles. It has a way of impacting the emotions of men and women alike, as well as their view on their own gender and the roles they should carry out for the rest of their lives. By aiming toward emotions and personal feelings, the media is able to affect their being in a way that no other source of influence can.
Both DuCILLE and Pollitt tend to agree that at a young age, girls learn that they are not held to the same set of standards and values as boys are. In DuCILLE’s “From Multicultural Barbie and the Merchandising of Difference,” she discusses how the media encourages young girls to strive to look and behave like Barbie. All around the world, Barbie is known as a blonde hair, blue-eyed beauty who spends a good portion of her time shopping. With Barbie as an icon for young girls to look up to, this says a lot about society. DuCILLE states, “When little girls fantasize themselves into the conspicuous consumption, glamour, perfection, and, some have argued, anorexia of Barbie’s world, it is rarely, if ever ‘in their own image that they dream’” (532). All in all, to DuCILLE’s point, society is telling young girls that their focus in life should be to strive to look a certain way, to appeal to the eyes of what most men expect them to look like. DuCILLE also points out that “In that same vein, I am not so sure that most of us would want to buy a doll that ‘looked like us’” (542). This means that when young girls compare themselves to the likes of Barbie, they no longer consider themselves beautiful. This holds them to a completely different set of standards than boys because in comparison, boys are not taught that they must look a certain way to fit in in society.
Pollitt’s argument agrees with DuCILLE’s argument, but...