A number of popular television shows and films filling mainstream media today have taken a spin to promote women to main character roles of power and command. The traits of these female characters, however, become illusionary as plots thicken to reveal their status to be subordinate to leading male character roles; of which are typically controlling or manipulative over gender stereotypic female traits within the script. While media is being blindly applauded for their newfound glorification of women in power, there remains an underlying message of male supremacy in more than many broadcasted portrayals. Today’s mainstream television media delivers a notion that only a man can pave way for the merit of a woman.
I am a woman. Without the feminist understanding that my education has afforded me, mainstream media portrayals of woman in relation to man would burn holes through the fabric of my mind and dismantle my ambitions. Ignoring the infraction that media portrayals impose on naïve minds gives the impression that it is acceptable to be inappropriately cultivated in gender equality. Television media continues to pose a grave threat; but worse is the deceitful attempt to find something attributable to women, the attempt to lure them with admiration, only to smack them with the patronizing undertone of being incomparable to men.
The first studies relating to gender portrayal in the media developed in the 1950s with the introduction of Second Wave Feminism (Boyle, 2005). Mass media was a main concern for Second Wave feminists due to its oppressive illustrations of women in different genres. The subject of gender misrepresentations is still relevant in contemporary media studies. In 2011, a documentary dealing with the stereotypical roles of women in the television media, produced by Jennifer Siebel Newsom and entitled Miss Representation, reveals how television media is developing images and content that shape our perception of gender roles by reinforcing already established stereotypes.
Gender role can be described as the behaviors, attitudes and beliefs that a particular culture associates with the roles of men and women (Tragos, 2009). Gender roles are in fact assigned by society, leading to ascribed cultural stereotypes. Subsequently, sex role stereotypes are determined by the cultural beliefs about what the gender roles should be. Coon and Mitterer (2010) define gender role stereotypes as “oversimplified and widely held beliefs about the basic characteristics of men and women.” Thus, men are generally thought to be strong, dominant and logical, while women are believed to be weak, passive and emotional.
In the 1970s it was common that the television media denigrate women by depicting them in stereotypical roles, hence, the dominant social values that were being perpetrated by television media content. According to Kellner (1998), the media is a “misperceived source of culture pedagogy” that teaches us “how to be men and women, how to dress,...