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Gender and the Media Essay

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Socialisation is the way an identity is defined throughout life for a person. Children are seen a blank slate that is going to have a personality and roles set by the environment he lives in. A child generally has an idea on what gender they are by the time they are 2 years old. A boy will portray himself with the colour blue, would be very hyperactive and tend to bully girls. Females would be more mature, refer themselves to the colour pink and socialise with other girls, this is called primary socialisation.

Personalities are defined through interactions with people that are close to them, there society’s values and they learn the attributes of their sex at a young age and they know what is expected of them as a certain sex. The person is reinforced by social praise and punishment so the person can learn from mistakes and good deeds. Media has played a massive part on how socialisation as occurred to an individual. I am directly concerned with how the media affects young women within today’s society, particularly through the use of gender stereotyping within young women’s magazines, mainly through articles and advertisements.

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Here, the ideas and beliefs already created by the media are useful to advertisers because they are socially accepted ideologies. They know that they will influence women. It has been stated in the past that it is these media interpretations of ‘The Perfect Woman’ that have been the cause for so many women becoming increasingly pressured into looking good and so dieting, keeping fit etc. This can, in extreme cases lead to serious psychological diseases such as anorexia and bulimia, where one of the main causes has been identified as social pressure.

Society affects how people perceive themselves, Body Image awareness still exists in our society. Many people living on our society are influenced by the media and the fashion industry. Both are equally responsible for the increased number of people suffering from eating disorders. Fashion industries tend to only feature whose figures vary from eight to ten. Their androgynous waif-like figures are presented as representative of the everyday woman. In doing so the average woman in the street is forced to measure herself against an unrealistic ideal.

Most models are above average height, have naturally lithe bodies and are aged between sixteen and thirty. Their image is constructed and manipulated by a predominately male homosexual industry which appears reluctant to show women as curvaceous individuals. Celebrities themselves fall foul of the dominant media representation of women. When society thinks of a family we automatically think of the nuclear family in which there is a mum, dad and often two or three children.

This type is seen as the statistical norm until the 1980’s where it was considered abnormal to deviate from this ideal family type and there were characteristics that came with this which were seen as socially acceptable. Children were seen as the outcome of a loving heterosexual couple and each person i. e. the mum and dad should have distinctive roles within the family. The mother should be concerned with motherhood and household chores.

The father should protect the family and be a disciplinary role model, as well as their main role being defined as the breadwinner, this meaning they often bring in the most money. The mother should be the housekeeper who attians the house and looks after the children as they grow up. A young male would grow up learning the princilpes of the father and the young female would grow up adobting the mather principles. Post modernism shows that gender is the main topic in an individual’s life as events that have occurred are directly linked to a individuals gender.

Post modernism gives the individual more choice and that is the basis of post modernism, choice! The individual is more independent on their life choices; such old life ambitions of marriage and children are not compulsory but are a option that some people may seek. Unlike pre modernism and modernity where marriage and kids are ultimate goals and people automatically assume that this is the right path to follow. This gives way to new events that once were either not existent or unethical such as unisex and inter-racial marriages.

It shows a deterioration of religion and supernatural belief, which leaves great division among people in identity and lifestyles. People are now working more flexible times, fashion has changed in such away that people can wear what they want, food is more oriental and music comes in a wide variety. Identity has separated into many huge groups such as social classes, ethnic group, age and gender. This leads to unrest to certain groups that want change as people now have a sense of spreading opinion and arguing their rights.

Certain groups such as feminists, Marxist ideology and ageist rights. As choice and individual opinion now can be widely credited it gives chance for concern to be broadcasted such as the feminist supporters wanting females to be treated as equals among men. The first wave of feminism gave people the ideology in 1928 when they got the vote, which provoked the idea of gaining more such as the 2nd wave of feminism in the 1960’s when women burned the bra’s, this caused great reasoning between the two gender differences.

Karl Marx however says that society not the individual is the important issue as that eventually the working class will soon rule society. This radical change has brought in new changes such as ‘the new man’ that is a unique gender that of a masculine and unemotional male, the new man focuses on his physical appearance and pays attention to diet, personality and self image, he is more emotional and doesn’t fit in with a patriarchy idea.

As post modernism has totally effected today’s society it shows how an individual can make all the differences and how self concern and freedom is the new ideal but this idea could change and evidence suggests that it could lead to pre modernism of the old age as though it is a long term cycle of a society but critics say this is the final situation of society and the end solution is total equality among genders, races and age. This idea of choice could lead in any direction depending on current affairs within society yet time is not a important issue as this process could last a log time.

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