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Women In Print Media: Biased Language In Newspapers

2312 words - 9 pages

Literature review:

According to Aitchison (2001), print media are used more commonly and affect their readers more than television media. Print media is news that is published in print, such as magazines, newspapers, newsletters, brochures, posters, banners, flyers, and books. Print media—especially newspapers—are dependable sources of information, education, issues, and entertainment for many people, and are known for its fearless criticism and service; however, print media can also show an unbalanced view of gender and gender roles. As Crystal (2003) mentioned, newspapers' effects are felt both on the international and regional scale. Therefore, the perception of language and gender have long been manipulated, influenced, and controlled by newspapers. (Fairclough, 2003).
Focusing on newspapers in this paper gives insight about the importance of the language used in print media, and how it is directed at and perceived by both genders. Gender bias is directly correlated to the language used in headlines, articles, and commentary. According to Johnson (2001), newspapers headlines use schemes such as sensationalism, exaggeration, or word-play and often cater to male readers. Crystal (2003) and Davy (1969) contradict this idea by asserting that the central function of newspapers is to inform their readers with fair and gender-balanced language. Mencher (1987) argued that there are several essential characteristics of the language used in print media, especially in newspapers: certainty, authentication, balance, brevity, clarity, and also objectivity, justice, and human interest. Since individuals usually see the world in the way their parents, friends, and schools defined for them, the media they consume often lines up with and further confirms their beliefs, biases, and culture. Given the influential nature of newspapers, it is a special topic of interest to see the way that different genders are linguistically and visually portrayed therein. Are men dominating the industry and trivializing the sociopolitical needs of women? Are women subjugated and forced into articles only about fashion and appearance? Or are both genders portrayed evenly?
Most forms of media, especially printed newspapers, are owned and operated by men. The portrayal of women in the media—especially the language used to write about them—is both stereotypical and perpetuates that idea that women dislike to read and should be confined to domestic duties (Johnson, 2001). In Pakistan, print media has a wide reach, but due to the low literacy rates of the female population, its concern is almost exclusively on male issues, and it is run by men (Zubair, 2001). According to Chopra (2008), women have limited access to and participation in decision-making in the media industries and bodies that oversee the foundation and implementation of media policies. Gauntlett (2002) concurs, saying that the way the female gender is presented in mass-media is not a complete picture, and by...

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