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Gender Stereotypes Essay

3058 words - 12 pages

Gender stereotypes and movies are two popular variables that have proposed a numerousnumber of theories and arguments in the communication field. However, there is a considerablelack of research on the possible, existing relationships between these two variables. This study,therefore, attempts to verify the relationship between gender stereotypes and movies. Itinvestigates the existence, construction and importance of gender stereotypes in society life andthen moves on to establish going to the movies (movie attendance) as playing a major role in theconstruction of gender stereotypes since the portrayal of both men and women on celluloid islargely traditional and stereotypical, serving to promote a polarization of gender roles. Based onthe evidence gathered on the above premises, this study thus hypothesizes that these portrayals ofgender roles play an influential role, if not in the formation, but the reinforcements of thesegender stereotypes, which shape perceptions and behaviors of adolescents in particular, and ofindividuals in general. The key concepts in this study are therefore marked as gender stereotypesand movies.The construction of gender stereotypes is a subject that has been broadly discussed byscholars. Hegstrom and McCarl-Nielsen described their study as a search for gender differences.They investigated the extent to which language used to describe known persons are gendered byperforming "a content analysis on open-ended essays that contain the most frequently usedmetaphors to determine whether or to what extent they contain gender stereotypes" (Hegstrom &McCarl-Nielsen, 2002). The results showed a significant relationship between the sex ofthe describers and the sex of the describees in the attribution of metaphor descriptions. A mostsuitable example was the recurring metaphors relating to "sun" used to describe women,indicating that women are thought to be more sociable than men (Hegstrom & McCarl-Nielsen,2002).Stokoe examines students' construction of gender categories by focusing on how theytalk about gender. The study employed a "discursive conversation analytic approach in order toexplore the ways in which participants themselves talk about gender" (Stokoe, 1998, p. 217).The results show that students focus on gender as an important aspect of discourse, makecharacterizations of men and women, and use gender stereotypes as argumentative evidence.However, Stokoe maintains that these gender differences are social constructs and not a result ofstable, biological categories, as believed by most (1998, p. 218).Coltrane provides support for this line of argument in his book, which endeavors toinvestigate a number of social issues through gender lens. He emphasizes that it is in the processof interacting with social artifacts that we begin to construct "reality" and perceptions and onlyby studying these artifacts and their effects (for example, movies), can we understand theconstruction of gender rituals and families...

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