My Critical Analysis Of The Exploitation Of Gender Roles In The Media

936 words - 4 pages

It has been suggested in psychological studies that people innately observe, starting at as early as two years old and especially during adolescence, people’s behavior in order to determine a norm for genders. Therefore the development of a gender or cultural identity isn’t exclusively based on what one views in the media but it does composite a great influence on one’s outlook. Gender is viewed culturally as a multidimensional system including gender specific personality/interests, globally approved sex role behaviors, as well as masculinity and femininity ideology (Levant et al, 2007). These systems are supported through different medial outputs such as music videos, dramas, comedies, ...view middle of the document...

A unique process of normalization governs the production of desired and deviant subjects. In each of these environments, several normalities co-exist in which any of the characters in that specific field would fit perfectly into one of binary normalities. Masculinity’s binary is typically associated with the superior ability to reason while femininity is more associated with a denigrated intuition of emotion. Not fitting in to one of these binary normalities would be found to be obscure and severely out of place.

The media has been scrutinizing masculinity and femininity and even narrowed the acceptable normalities as a visually appealing ideal man and woman dominates the societal norm. Many commercials portray an impossible idea of feminism typically including flawless skin, the silkiest of hair all of the time without a single flyaway—characteristics no real person can truly obtain. This relays pressure on females to attempt to follow these apparently normal yet impossible standards, which furthermore creates an internalizing “male gaze”. By doing so women learn to evaluate and assess their appearance due to fear of the obscure exile that could happen if they don’t follow this binary feministic ideal of a woman instead of really feeling and experiencing their own body (Tolman, Impett, Tracy & Michael, 2006). In early television such as the show Leave It to Beaver the portrayal of the female character was typically entirely restricted to the housewife. It wasn’t until the 1990s females appeared to have a more complex character and even now the roles are limited (Lotz, 2006). The media has ventured away from the housewife portrayal of females and has moved more into a postfeminist femininity, the new characters are more rebellious, independent, individualistic and claim men as equals but still often undergoing an identity crisis of some sort.

To say females are the only ones to feel the pressure of an internalizing gaze would be an understatement. The advertising...

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