Gender and the Media

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Gender and Media
In today’s society, media has become a powerful influence on individual’s perception of themselves and others. Popular magazines, television programs, movies, and newspapers have the tendency to reinforce gender role stereotypes. Women are sexually exploited in the media. Also, the media emphasizes that a slender physique is a highly desirable quality of a woman, whereas the media emphasizes that muscularity is an attractive display of masculinity in men. Women are more often portrayed carrying out domestic duties. Where as, men are more often portrayed in the workforce. The media’s portrayal of men and women can greatly impact the lives of the audience. There have been numerous studies on how gender and gender roles are portrayed in the media. Researchers Vaughan' and Fouts’ authors of the article Changes in Television and Magazine Exposure and Eating Disorder Symptomatology studied how the media portrayed women’s physiques and demonstrated that the images projected by the media correlates with the development of eating disorders in young women. Also, Todd Morrison and Marie Halton the authors of the research article Buff, Tough, and Rough: Representations of Muscularity in Action Motion Pictures investigated how men’s bodies were portrayed in films. Likewise, The research article Gender Sex-Role Portrayals in International Television Advertising over Time: The Australian Experience written by Laura M. Milner and Bronwyn Higgs discussed aspects of sex role portrayals in commercials. Further Susan Shaw the author of the article Men’s Leisure and Women’s Lives: the Impact of Pornography on women studied the media’s portrayal of women as sex objects. The researchers mentioned made a valuable contribution to society’s understanding of how gender and gender roles are portrayed in the media, and the impact that the gender portrayals may have on their lives.

The media strongly emphasizes that a slim figure is a highly desirable trait of a woman. Magazines often present models that are below average weight, and they promote products and diets that assist readers in becoming thin. The Investigators Boyd and Fouts conducted a study by analyzing 18 different magazines that are popular among adolescent girls, such as Cosmopolitan, Young Miss, and Teens. Boyd and Fouts found that eighty-seven percent of the models shown in the magazines were below average weight. Also, television programs and commercials emphasize that a slim figure is deemed a highly attractive trait of a woman. The number of women seen on television with slim physiques vastly outnumbers the amount of heavier women. On television men often admire women with lean figures. Whereas, the heavy women are actively insulted; and the insults are usually followed by a burst of laughter from the audience. The media reinforces the perceptions that a slim figured woman is deemed attractive, and the perception that a full figured woman is considered unattractive.

The media has a great influence on how women perceive their bodies. The images in the media influence women to develop a negative perception of their bodies. The dissatisfaction with their bodies can have damaging effects. According to a study conducted by Boyd and Fouts, there is a definite correlation between media exposure and eating disorders in women. The participants were 374 girls averaging 12 years of age. The frequency of exposure to fashion magazines and television program was altered as the investigators monitored symptoms associated with eating disorders. Researchers found that adolescent girls that decreased the hours of television viewed and increased their exposure to fashion magazines had an increase in symptoms of eating disorders. Whereas, girls that had a decrease in exposure to television and fashion magazines had a decrease in symptoms of eating disorders. Women tend to utilize the media in order to seek methods of becoming thinner. Women tend to...
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