Persons with Disabilities Media Portrayals of Girls and Women: Introduction We all know the stereotypes—the femme fatale, the supermom, the sex kitten, the nasty corporate climber. Whatever the role, television, film and popular magazines are full of images of women and girls who are typically white, desperately thin, and made up to the hilt—even after slaying a gang of vampires or dressing down a Greek legion. Many would agree that some strides have been made in how the media portray women in film, television and magazines, and that the last 20 years has also seen a growth in the presence and influence of women in media behind the scenes.
Nevertheless, female stereotypes continue to thrive in the media we consume every day. This section of the site provides a snapshot of the issues around the media’s portrayal of women and girls—from effects on body image and self-identity to ramifications in sports and politics. It looks at the economic interests behind the objectification and eroticization of females by the media as well as efforts to counter negative stereotyping.
And it provides the latest articles and studies that explore the ways in which media both limit and empower women and girls in society.
Media Portrayals of Men and Masculinity: Introduction “When I was born, they looked at me and said: ‘What a good boy, what a smart boy, what a strong boy! ‘ And when you were born, they looked at you and said:’What a good girl, what a smart girl, what a pretty girl! ‘” “What A Good Boy,” The Barenaked Ladies For several decades now, media critics and feminists alike have been examining the role of the media in creating and reinforcing stereotypical representations of women and femininity.
But only recently have they expanded the research to consider how the media also construct, inform and reinforce prevalent ideas about men and masculinity. This section addresses the representation of men and masculinity in the media. It covers topics such as media stereotypes, the prevalence of male characters in TV and film, and male authority in media news coverage; and it addresses the role that the media play in shaping attitudes about masculinity. The section also provides links to articles and reports on these topics.
Media Portrayals of Gays and Lesbians: Introduction Media educators Larry Gross and George Gerbner argue that the media participate in the “symbolic annihilation” of gays and lesbians by negatively stereotyping them (often consigning them to the margins of entertainment media, playing either “colourful” and “flamboyant” characters or dangerous psychopaths), by rarely portraying them realistically, or by not portraying them at all. Gross and Gerbner argue that the commercial structure of the mass media limits the opportunity for representing diverse characters.
Too often networks and film companies shy away from portraying gays and lesbians for fear of alienating or offending advertisers, investors, and audiences. This section addresses the portrayal of gays and lesbians in news, advertising and entertainment media. It also examines homophobia in the media, and provides examples of gay-positive media. Media on Women – Images and Influences It’s no secret that women compare themselves to the female images they see portrayed on television, film, and advertising.
At both the conscious and subconscious level, these media images of women lower self-esteem and affect behavior at every age and stage of life. We know they’re unrealistic, yet they exert pressure on women to conform, and influence how we live, love, work and play. Oprah Winfrey – Talk Show Host Oprah Changed Face of Television Before Oprah, you had to look a certain way to be on TV. As a pop culture icon and media pioneer, talk show host Oprah has changed the face of television, and women (and men) love her for it.
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