Gender Stereotypes In Media Essay

1392 words - 6 pages

The judgments we make about people, events or places are based on our own direct impressions. But for most of the knowledge, we rely on media. The media actually re-present the world to us. However, the media only shows us some aspects of the world, ignoring the rest. So basically, the media chooses what is to be shown and what is to be discarded (Andrew Pilkington and Alan Yeo (2009)). . In this essay, I will explain what stereotypes are and primarily give an example of a famous men’s magazine called ‘nuts’ and explain how these stereotypes are created by print and the digital media and what are their impacts on people.

Stereotypes can be defined as an exaggerated belief about an individual or a group based on their appearance, behavior or beliefs. Though our world seems to be improving in many other ways, it seems almost impossible to emancipate it from stereotypes. Today, the media is so powerful that it can make or break an image of a person and also can change the views of the audience.

‘Gender refers to the cultural nature of the differences between the natural biological sexes of male and female’ (Long, P & Wall, T (2009)). Gender is perhaps the basic category we use for sorting human beings. The media mostly portrays men as strong, masculine, tough, hard and independent while women are shown as fragile, soft, clean and mostly 'sexy'. Whatever the role, television, film and popular magazines are full of images of women and girls who are typically white, desperately thin, and tailored to be the perfect woman. The representation of women on the print and the visual media mostly tend to be stereotypical, in terms of societal expectations (mediaknowall.com).

These days, most of the fashion magazines are full of white girls with large breasts and small waist. Beauty ideas are commonly represented in such magazines. The appearance of the women in these ad’s focus on every little feature of a woman which includes the darkness/lightness of the skin, the eye colour, the appearance of the hair, how her nose is shaped, if she has luscious lips and various other physical traits, so basically it tells us a woman should look perfect (edubook.com). One will see a white female with pouting red lips and the very petite body that resembles a thirteen-year-old girl. The extremely artificial women and the heavily photo-shopped pictures in these ad’s create a norm and make those women who look differently, feel insecure of who they are and make them feel as if they are less of a woman, for example they tend to over represent the Caucasian, blonde with bright eyes, white complexion and a petite body. This is an unattainable beauty for most women, which has caused many to develop issues such as eating disorders, depression and the very much talked about these days, anorexia.

Ferguson (1983) conducted a study of young women’s magazines and found that they promote a traditional idea of femininity. They promoted the idea that girls should aspire to be...

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