Gender Construction in Advertising and Media

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Gender and Society

Advertisements are not the only medium that should be blamed for how the media effects people today. Books, movies, TV commercials, and television shows all show how much we as a people have changed our views of sexuality and beauty since the modest times of before. Sex has become more openly accepted as more half naked men and women appear on media devices all around us. People made a huge scene when Elvis was seen “shaking his hips” on public television and he had to be censored, and now, forty years later, 50 cent can be seen grinding provocatively with scantily dressed women in his music videos. The naked Gucci man discussed in Susan Bordo’s “Beauty (Re)discovers the Male Body” is another example of how times have changed. The main focus of this paper is on how men and women are portrayed in the movies, more specifically, horror movies. From the time when Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds was released in 1963 to the 2002 release of Cabin Fever, the portrayal of men and women had changed dramatically. The way the women and men dressed and behaved in the movie had changed from modest and protective to more sexual and independent. Over a period of forty years, the way in which society viewed both sexes had significantly changed. Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds came out in 1963 (“The Birds”) and was one of the biggest thrillers of that time. The story follows a playgirl from California who goes to visit her potential boyfriend but all things go awry when the birds go crazy and start to attack everyone. Tippi Hedren portrays the wealthy playgirl and Rod Taylor is the man she is dating. Taylor’s character has a small sister with whom he is very close to. He is also quite close with his mother. They display a very loving family dynamic as they work together to save each other from the vicious birds (The Birds). On the contrary, Cabin Fever, released in 2002, is a completely different story. The story is centered around five sexually active teenagers who go to a cabin in the woods for vacation. A diseased man that they had encountered dies and falls into the water supply and as a result, infects one of the teenagers. They all struggle to survive and stay away from this flesh eating disease. The first girl to contract the disease is the love interest of one the male characters and after finding that she has been infected, they throw her into a small shed with a bed to keep her from infecting the others. Most of the kids end up getting the disease and in the end, one boy lives on to tell the story of their tragedy. (Cabin Fever(1)) One of the most noticeable differences between horror movies today and forty years ago is the way in which the actors dress, specifically women. In The Birds, the Tippi Hedren portrays a playgirl from California, but she dresses more like a business woman. She has on a nice, tailored suit and a neckline that shows nothing but neck. Her skirt is below her knees and even her arms are covered. On the picture to the right of it, there are the three “Girls Next Door” that are shown on E! TV and allow people a view into the world of a playmate. The amount of skin shown has drastically changed, and if you were not aware of whom the woman on the left was, I am sure your first guess would not be playgirl. Tippi Hedren is a beautiful woman, but she is completely covered and is not dressed sexually at all. Most of the male population today would rather see videos and TV shows that featuregirls with more skin and less clothes, compared to the modest dress of the 1960’s. In Justin L. Matthew’s Hidden Sexism: Facial Prominence and Its Connections to Gender and Occupational Status in Popular Print Media, he creates a mathematical procedure to determine the amount of skin shown and where in men and women. His methods are mainly for advertising, but if someone took a picture from a movie, the same concept could be applied. He did a lot of research on all types of magazines from different time...
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