Media Affects How We View Gender Stereotypes

1607 words - 7 pages

Society plays a vital role in constructing our gender. Often times, it attempts to define what being a man or a woman is like. It makes an effort to use general terms to force human beings to conform to what society thinks is acceptable. For instance, society feels that men should be strong while women should be sensitive. However, numerous groups of individuals have forced society to modify its beliefs in regards to gender. As time passes, society has become more gender neutral in different aspects of life, such as in sports. Men and women, alike, are able to play sports and receive equal coverage in the media. Like society, media greatly impacts our understanding of gender. It portrays different ideas and relays them to society in a way to either accept or challenge the status quo. In 2002, Marger argues, that society must make itself credible. In order to do that, it must create “an ideology, a set of beliefs and ideas that explain and justify the existing social organization.” Afterwards, the media, through its various forms, must relay those ideas to the public (qtd. in Aulette and Wittner 396). Today, some of the most popular forms of media are television and the Internet. Both can be easily accessed by vast numbers of people across the world. Likewise, they can provide information to audiences quicker than other forms of media, such as the newspaper. The television series, Pretty Little Liars, illustrates four young women attending high school and the troubles they face when one of their friends is presumed to be dead. It depicts ideas which maintain and challenge the status quo. It reinforces the concept that women should care about their appearances. However, the show challenges society’s beliefs in regards to genders in that the women challenge the authority or dominance of the men and adults. Likewise, it challenges the perception of what normal relationships should look like.
According to society, women should be more concerned with their outward appearance than their inner appearance. Numerous forms of media assert the idea that women should be concerned about their looks. For instance, many of the advertisements for women’s magazines revolve around self-improvement and looking presentable at all times. It is nearly impossible to see a women’s magazine without seeing models advertise beauty products or being photo-shopped to alter their bodies. This concept that women should look glamorous and perfect is often seen in movies and television shows. In this sense, the television series Pretty Little Liars supports what society thinks is normal and appropriate. It asserts that girls should maintain their appearances no matter what. One of the first things the audience witnesses when watching the show is the introduction. The viewers see a person putting heels, nail polish, and makeup on a corpse. It illustrates the idea that women should look glamorous even when they are dead. Even when looking at other characters in the show, it is...

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