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The Representation Of Females In The Media

3972 words - 16 pages

The Representation of Females in the Media

It is generally accepted that the media, primarily television, 'lags'
behind reality and current social trends (Butler and Paisley, 1980)
(Gunter, Television and Sex Role Stereotyping). However, This does not
make the way women are portrayed in the media any better. Women are
not only under-represented in the media but more importantly are
portrayed to be "half clad, half witted and needing to be rescued by
quick thinking fully clothed men" (Stereotypes, Adelson 1990). Women
are most commonly portrayed as sexual objects and housewives; whose
lives revolve around landing the right man. "When women are in the
news, their role is often trivialized. World leaders are described in
terms of their hats or dress designers" (Benedict, Virgin or Vamp,
1992). Women are portrayed as jealous and insecure, and often
neurotic. This type of unrealistic ideal portrayed in the media is
being forced upon society today, and is having serious negative
effects on the way women are being viewed and treated in society. Most
media forms are similar in the portrayal of women (for example,
television, magazines, and newspapers), however; the advertising
industry takes the stereotype of women to the edge and are branded as
being the worst mediums in the portrayal of women.

Stereotypes are conventional, oversimplified conceptions, opinions or
images. Stereotypes exist as they are of cognitive importance to
humans. It may be argued therefore, the process of stereotyping is a
necessity, so we can make sense of the world and our environment. They
allow people to do less searching when looking for evaluations of
people and behaviours. They also give specific cultures a sense of
belonging and an identity. Therefore humans will continue to
stereotype whether we like it or not. The media uses stereotypes in
order to relate to audiences. However, gender based stereotypes
towards women in the media should be changed, but how? When the media
changes perhaps the stereotypes of women in real life will also begin
to alter…

According to Gunter stereotyping can be divided into sex role
stereotyping and sex trait stereotyping. Sex role stereotyping of a
female is, for example, the beliefs held about the value of the family
and the role of a woman in society. This sex role of women has changed
in society in recent years with many women taking part in activities
outside the home such as careers. Women are also tending to delay
motherhood until later in life and are having fewer children if indeed
they choose to have any. In reality however, these changes have not
been reflected in the media. An example of this is the way many TV
programs portray a woman's role as having to please men. Sex trait
stereotyping are stereotypes about a woman's characteristics and

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