This essay will critically discuss key issues of the media representation of gender. Firstly media representation and gender will be defined, then theories of media representation regarding gender will be discussed in depth and evaluated. The key issues of media representation of gender will be discussed critically from the viewpoints of different sociologists; for example, stereotypes of femininity and masculinity and their social construction. The politics of representation, under-representation, the subordination of women and limiting women’s perceptions as well as how the news, television, and adverts were responsible for women symbolically will be discussed.
Media’s representation of women reflects the values and dominant male attitudes in society and teaches the youth how to behave and believe in traditional sex roles are considered, along with a discussion of the negative effects of representation of women in advertising. Many other key issues of different aspects of media representation of gender with examples will be discussed, and finally, the essay will draw to a conclusion.
The media is mighty over women and their body perception. The media has its way of conveying messages and having the audience believe in them. It has been reported that, in the past, how women have been portrayed in advertising has been demeaning. Countless ads have portrayed women as passive, deferential, unintelligent, shy, dreamy, gentle, likely to be manipulated, helpless, and with body language depicting psychological withdrawal, submissiveness, and supplication. (Browne, 1998)An example of this is food. Food has a strong connection to the body since it is the main factor in determining one’s weight.
The media has had its way of framing food either it is good or nasty. Food is persistently being used as a sex object or as a means to achieve the model size body. Magazines and commercial advertisements have been seen to use food as a sex object.A good example is the advertisements for Magnum ice cream. Usually, when people think of ice cream, we think of family, but the magnum ice cream strays from it. The ads portray “beautiful women,” that grabs the attention of all men.In advert, a female was stuck in a traffic jam, and there happened to be an ice cream truck a few cars ahead- a magnum truck. She takes off her shoes, which is a sexual gesture in a scene and runs across the cars. Her short flowing dress is flying in the air; all the men who are in the scene are drawn to her. Even how she eats the ice cream is sensual. She eats the Ice cream extremely slowly and closes her eyes. When eating ice cream, no one closes their eyes. Their purpose of this is to show how sexy she is and how good she feels while eating magnum ice cream. Every woman should eat it too. Many times food advertisements include women and target men. The women are usually sexy and provocative while using that specific food item this confirms many stereotypes; women are seen as objects by men, women do not eat men do, and women are seductive; therefore they can sell food much more accessible. Feminist argue that sexualised images of girls and young women now saturate the media and are widely available in mainstream media, such as advertising, magazines, television, internet, billboards. This damages women’s self-image, and it also distorts men’s view of women. The internet has led to increased and easier access to pornography, whose message is that women are sexually available and their bodies are for sale. Another way the female body image is portrayed through the media is by fashion. Fashion and a woman’s body are greatly interconnected. Women are driven to look beautiful and be fashionable. However, society quickly judges a woman when she is not correctly dressed. it is seen in the media as she does not have taste, style and is not beautiful and unappealing. Therefore a woman, especially celebrities, are self-consciousness about what they wear. They are quickly judged upon demonized for their choice of clothing. Gossip and fashion magazines quickly judge or compliment celebrities fashion. For example in Vogue magazines they have list Ten Best Dressed, and the list of examples can go on and on. Many magazines have on their cover How to look like a celebrity, How to look as beautiful as them, Celebrities Beauty Secrets and the list can go on. Titles like these gabs the audience’s attention as many of us would like to dress and look like celebrities, but it also makes it seem as if we are not good enough “beautiful like them,” are we not beautiful? These are tips on how to be or look like these celebrities. This links to obsession, many fans take it overboard and ends up leading to self-harming and follow celebs.Barbara Kruger is an illustration know for creating robust designs using text and imagery to bring forth a powerful feminist message. Your body is a battlefield (Kruger, 1987) speaks out to the women with the juxtaposition of the two faces. Mainly when women are presented in the media, they use a full body shot with the show of the curves, but by creating this design with the text on top you are drawn straight to the text and less of the imagery or face behind it. It also indicates the strength that females have as they are constantly being belittled by societies views but does not allow it to affect them. We have received orders not to move (Kruger, 1982); this illustration portrays how society has positioned females. Women were seen as feminine and were controlled by what society had put into place for them such as staying home doing house duties and being a mother. That is is what Barbara is showing to not just the female audience but also male viewers. Shehzil Malik is a designer and illustrator whos works main aim is to draw attention to the societal issues like women’s rights, feminism and identity constructs. She uses bright colours which catch the attention of the audience “Step out. Be you” it speaks out to all the societal issues. Overall women are judged in everything they do because of what society has put into place. Females are getting a more insecure especially young female as the society, and the media are bombarding them. We pray to be something that we will never become PERFECT and the media does not help the situation in any way as you have to look and act a sure way to be successful. Which only teachers young girls change the way how they are to be something they are not.