Representation of Women in Media

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Representation of women in media

Introduction
There are many levels of influence in our society and media plays a major role in dispensing influential images to us. The media comes in many forms, television, radio, newspapers, movies, and advertisements. The media is so intertwined in our lives that we do not truly comprehend on a conscious level how much influence it really has over us. Some of the images and messages we see and hear can be both positive and negative.

Historically, women have been more susceptible to stereotyping and marginalization than men. The history of a woman's 'usefulness' basically began with being a sexual plaything, a mother, and a caretaker. In the history, men saw women as people without a voice, caretakers of the family, or just objects of sexual desire. While doing my research for the assignment I observed that women are represented in the following manner- * Women are objectified in the media, importance is given to how a women looks and what she does. Example- a news reporter, more importance is given on to how she looks onscreen rather than the content she is speaking.

* Women and girls are missing, they are not as numerously or as diversely represented as men.  Example- in 90% of the ADs of cars, men are seen driving it and not women.

* Women are represented very narrowly, as wives, girlfriends, mums, preoccupied with dieting and shopping.  Example- in the movie “English Vinglish” Sridevi was depicted as a conservative housewife, whose life was limited to her kids, family and cooking.

* Women's bodies and female sexuality are used to sell products. Example- Skore condom ADs come with a tag line saying “now SHE will remember you by your color”.

Now I shall discuss in detail how women are represented in the following areas-

* Advertising
* Films
* Music videos
* Television

Advertisements
Advertisements have women selling everything from food to cars. We continue to see that women are the focus of most advertisements and the biggest selling point for the product being sold. At the same time, men continue to be the strong, handsome leader in both our families and our society as portrayed in the media images. Although there have been many strides, the stereotypes have remained consistent, women are still represented as sexual objects and the men are the decision makers in our society. The images portrayed in the past few years especially have been promoting the use of diets, exercise, and cosmetics for women to look and feel young. For example we see many actresses promoting “Olay crème”, and telling girls that they have to feel young always and this product can protect them from all the signs of aging. Aging, especially for women, has become a negative factor in our society. The media has perpetuated a society of unattainable goals for most women. The media industry as a whole is a multi-billion dollar industry, and the fact that women are constantly being told that they need to look better, feeds into the bottom line of these industries selling the perfect image. Analysis

(concept of denotation and connotation)
I came across an AD of a clothing company BIBA, which was a full page AD stating that a girl can sizzle and chill, be an angel and a devil, be nice and naughty, be a lady and a tomboy and be hot and cool at the same time. But she can play these two completely opposite roles only when she is wearing BIBA clothing. Denotation- a women can play two completely opposite roles at the same time. Connotation- she can play such a role only when she is wearing BIBA clothing. (Concept of hegemony)

I came across a FIAT commercial of their new car 500 ABARTH on WWW.youtube.com where in there was a guy not much handsome whose eyeballs while walking on the street stops on a very young, beautiful, a perfect figured girl. And when the girl catches him gazing at her, she “emphasizes her femininity” by catering to the male’s sexual desires....
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