The Influence of Gender in American Popular Culture

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Popular Culture in the form of media does not always do a fair job of reflecting accurate characteristics of men and women. Society has added to this by creating what is known as gender roles among men and women. They are like a type of social guidelines which men and women follow in order to be accepted by today's society. Although this was designed with the best intentions it can have negative results.

There are many examples of gender roles playing a part in our society. Television serves as one of the most common "voices" for the social guidelines; it reflects dominant social values to its audience which in turn reinforces them by presenting them as the norm. Television implies that it's a man's world buy usually placing men in the more powerful and wealthy roles while leaving women as just "eye candy" on the arm of men. As Daniel Chandler wrote, "Viewers are frequently invited to identify with male characters and to objectify females. This has been called 'the male gaze'". The CBS TV show King of Queens is a good example of this, staring a beautiful thin stylish women paralegal married to an overweight lazy delivery driver. You rarely see the scenario switched, it's always a better women paired with a lesser man.

The TV show Beverly Hills 90210 is a great representation how TV invented the ideal type of male in female. They ranged in personality types but all share the same qualities. Rich upper class American's who seemed to have it all, and yet still managed to get their homework done. They are faced with endless problems, from drug abuse to murder. The shows intentions were to bring real problems to its young viewers but the reality is that a soap opera does anything but that. This kind of show brings down the self-esteem of young people (mostly girls) by placing unrealized role models. The characters drive high priced cars, living in mansions and never have a bad hair day. Their problems are so bizarre that most teens can't really...
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