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Gender, Culture and the Media Essay

Media, in the context required, is a term used to define an interactive transmission that is visualized and then especially designed to reach a large audience, for e. g. a whole nation. These audiences, however, are very different from one another, depending on their culture and gender identities. The variance in culture and sexual identities, have an obvious impact on media which is why there is a dire need for exploring the relationship between the two. The most important tool in exploring and understanding the relationship between media and culture is communication.

This is because communication plays a very effective role in the manner through which interaction is carried out with the masses (Gaunlett, 2002). For this purpose, extreme emphasis is given to the cultural differences that may occur. Such is the case of international campaigns or chains of restaurants; whenever they want to promote any product, they have to consider the differences, and keeping these differences in mind, they alter their product accordingly for e. g. , McDonalds in India, do not usually serve their people beef burgers as cow is sacred to them.

Likewise, Indian people can relate more to it than others who are just viewing this product on an Indian channel. On this note, I would like to add that it is also a TV channel’s responsibility to be aware of the ethics with regard to culture. Although, media is known to show us situation and relationships from other people’s point-of-view, the impact is originated from a certain culture or social class, for that matter. However, it has been changing from time to time with the global development. So, we can say that the relationship between media and gender today, is different from how it was years ago.

The reason is because people’s thought have changed in the passing years, the role models have changed and the attitudes of people have changed, which without doubt influences media. It is for these contemporary audiences that the media has to alter whatever it promotes, in the manner that is much acceptable to them. The rest is mere perception on the audience’s part. Talking about the perception of various people and how they interact with things like talk shows, MTV, the Internet, soap operas, television sitcoms, dramatic series etc.

, it is very likely to notice that the people interact with the media on the basis of their culture and gender identities (Dines, 2008). An example is that of Lorillard’s Newport cigarettes, introduced in 1957, which after its struggle period in the early stages of introduction, became very popular with the African American crowd. Another comment on the same example is that Newport cigarettes contain menthol, which is supposed to be associated with women mostly. Relating this with media, the advertisements for this brand also focused on African American people in the beginning, as they had identified them as their target market.

With the change in society and changing views of people, Newport gained its market recognition and broadened their target market and today it owns a most coveted place in the tobacco industry. In the society that we live in today, people dedicate a lot of time to television, magazines, surfing the net, and other publications. As a result, it is very inevitable to say that they come across culture and advertising almost everyday. Among these people, a large segment belongs to the younger generation, who are particularly sensitive and relatively effected much easily by the same.

Childhood culture is an inter-textual universe which connects TV programs to movies, videogames, toys, T-shirts, shoes, games, crayons, coloring books, bed linens and towels, pencil cases, lunch boxes etc. This is where the impact part comes into play, which media has on children and that which the children have on the media (Geertz, 1977). One of the greatest impacts of the above stated example on media is that when a television program (for kids) is produced, a lot of things have to be taken into consideration.

Not too much violence, abusive language or false imagery should be used. As far as sexual identity is concerned, men and women have different views, likes and dislikes, regarding different things. Women are more likely to read magazines like Gourmet, Culinary Trends, Bon Appetite, Food and Wine etc. Lately, men have also developed a similar trend in reading magazines but there choices are those like Extreme Sports, Chicago Sports, and Sports Illustration etc. Another aspect is that of men leading the global scene.

When it comes to voiceovers, men dominate, regardless of the product. Men continue to work in their late ages on screen whereas women tend to disappear in their late thirties. Facial lines and grey hair are considered to be signs of maturity in males, while the same would pronounce females ‘old’ and not fit for TV (Buikema, 2009). On the other hand, it is also reported to have said that with the developing sense of equality with regard to sexes, the Times magazine cover wondered if feminism was dead in June 1998.

To sum up, the media shows us situations and relationships from other people’s point-of-view and we begin to think that we can now see ‘how the world works’, in lives other than our own. Soap-operas showing how neighbors, friends and lovers interact with each other are not behaviors that the media has created by itself. It is the likes of people that have affected media to follow the same. That too, varies from culture to culture. Some counties believe in open cultures while others observe closed culture where too much intimacy and involvement is not look upon as appropriate.

People claim that the reference points for them are film and TV but actually it’s the way round- people, their cultures and genders influence upon the way they interact with the media. References: Buikema, R. , Tuin I. , (2008), “Doing Gender in Media, Art and Culture”. Routledge Dines G. , McMahon J. , (2008), “Gender, Race, and Class in Media: A Text-reader”. Sage Publications Gauntlett D. , (2002), “Media, Gender, and Identity: An Introduction”. Routledge Geertz, C. (1977). The Interpretation of Cultures. Basic Books


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