Women's Studies

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Analytical Summary
WGSS 396
‘Barbie and G.I. Joe: Making Bodies Masculine and Feminine’ Children are taught that boys should be ‘masculine’ and play sports, and that girls should be feminine. They are given and told which toys to play with and how to play with them. For example, girls play with dolls in a gentle manner, and boys’ play with action figures more roughly. The social norms of our culture change as the times change. Gendered social practices and norms are portrayed in our mass media and are influential among men, women and children. Specifically in sports, femininity and masculinity are portrayed and influential among males and females. Female and male bodies are believed to be different and copied by the audiences of sports.

The masculine and feminine body ideals are promoted in our mass media. Particularly in children’s toys like: dolls, Barbies, action figures and/or G.I. Joes. These products are constantly being advertised, mainly on children’s television channels. Then are transferred into children books, movies, television shows and/or video games. This article refers to a book called ‘Taking the Field’ by Michael Messner of which demonstrates how masculinity and femininity are constructed through girls and boys in preschool. A term known as ‘morphology’ is the studies of body communication and shapes in terms of: gesture, walk and placement. In other words, this provides how masculinity and femininity are culturally represented and taught to children through the mass media. The gendered norms of society determine which sports boys and girls should participate in. The reading describes some research studies regarding males and females involved in sports. One of the studies was a comparison of the coverage of females and males in the U.S. open and NCAA events. The findings include that females were classified as ‘failures’ when it came to losing, and males were classified as ‘active agents,’ and their nonsuccess was...
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