The issue of media and gender focuses on the relationship thatexists between various forms of mass media such as newspapers,television, radio, magazines, CDs, TV shows and movies. Notably, thisrelationship can severely affect the representation of differentgenders and shape the social norms (Dines and Jean 73). Males andfemales have been represented differently in the media and they havebeen assigned different roles that are seen to be favorable to themales. It is essential to note that a norm such as gender roles isperpetuated by the media and the viewers and readers of media contentmust be careful on the content that the media presents to them.Television advertisements have also been criticized due to thedepiction of women as the weak gender. There is immediate need forthe media to offer content that is gender balanced and that does notperpetuate the oppression of one gender.
Thesis: The different forms of media offer content that is genderinsensitive and there is need to ensure that the content is regulatedto reduce the beliefs in social norms that are oppressive to onegender.
Over 96% of Americans own television sets and this means that theyare exposed to numerous TV shows, advertisements and movies.Documented research has indicated that the ratio of men to women inmass media is two to one. However, a deep look at various shows andmovies will indicate that the ratio could be higher. For example, theTV show, “Big Bang Theory”, which is widely watched in the UnitedStates, started with only one woman, Penny. Moreover, her rolescentered on sexual attraction and pleasing the men around her. Sheworked as a waitress in a cheesecake factory while the other four menwere three renowned scientists and an MIT engineer (Gill 101).Although the show incorporated other women in future episodes whowere scientists as well, it is clear that its representation of thefemales was insensitive. In most of the movies, advertisements and TVshows, women are only shown as sex objects and their roles border onhome making.
Movies have also been leading in perpetuating the gender stereotype.For example, the movie “Grown Ups 2” has only a quarter of thecharacters as females. All the other characters are males. While themovie has some stars namely Maya and Salma, it is regrettable to notethat their conversation is only about men. Therefore, their presencein the movie depicted as only supporting the males (Dines and Jean125). Commercials also play a central role in perpetuating the genderstereotype. Research has shown that men are likely to advertise cars,business investments and cigarettes. Women, on the other hand, arelikely to appear in advertisements of cosmetics, household productsand healthy lifestyle products. Furthermore, women are likely toappear in advertisements where they promote male products such asperfumes.
While the media appears to be gender insensitive, it is essential tomention that a few strides are being made. For example, the AmericanTV show, The Office, has five leading female characterswho are all working (Carter and Linda 56). The number of females inthe show outnumbers the men and this is a significant improvement ongender representation. However, more needs to be done to ensure thatthis stereotype is eliminated. It is role of the government toregulate the media content and to ensure that it does not mislead thepublic regarding the gender roles.
While concluding, it is clear that the media has been biased againstwomen. The society seems to have accepted the bias and stereotypes ongender representation and roles is deep rooted. Most of the variousforms of mass media have a small number of females in comparison tomen. TV shows, movies, commercials, newspapers and radios allperpetuate this oppression of women. A lot needs to be done to ensurethat the media is balanced in its representation of differentgenders.
Carter, Cynthia, and Linda Steiner. Critical Readings: Mediaand Gender. Maidenhead: Open Univ. Press, 2016. Print.
Dines, Gail, and Jean M. M. Humez. Gender, Race, and Class inMedia: A Critical Reader. Thousand Oaks, Calif: SAGEPublications, 2015. Print.
Gill, Rosalind. Gender and the Media. Cambridge: Polity,2014. Print.