It is becoming common practice to note how gender is presented in the media. Nowadays media is so much more accessible than it has been in the past because more people are being exposed to it. In lecture, Dr. Lovas spoke about how we learn gender roles through experience and what we witness; and in turn influence our gender role norms. In their study of gender in Disney movies, Towbin, Haddock, Zimmerman, Lund, and Tanner (2004) said, “The accumulated experience [of media exposure] contributes to the cultivation of a child’s values, beliefs, dreams, and expectations, which shape the adult identity a child will carry and modify through his or her life.” With this in mind, it is reasonable to assume that media has a grave effect on how we construct our own behaviors. I found it very interesting that the programs that many kids of my generation grew up watching contained many examples negative gender stereotypes. Some of the representations of women in Disney movies are that a woman’s appearance is valued more than her intellect, women are helpless and in need of protection, women are domestic and likely to marry, and that overweight women are ugly, unpleasant and unmarried (Towbin et al., 2004). We know this to not be true because of the experiences we have every day. We see many women who are very intelligent and are responsible for major inventions and discoveries of our time. In the United States there are also a very large number of women who work outside of the home and are not bound to only domestic work. We also see overweight women who are very nice and happily married.
These stereotypes that are placed upon us as children are negative because in many ways we make them true. For instance, Hilary Clinton is a very intelligent woman and successful politician, but in many cases the things that she is challenged on have absolutely nothing to do with politics. Reporters ask her questions about her hair, wardrobe, and whether or not raising a
References: Galliano, G. (2003). Gender and the media. Gender: crossing boundaries (pp. 283-304). Belmont, CA: Thomson/Wadsworth. Lauzen, M. M., Dozier, D. M., & Horan, N. (2008). Constructing gender stereotypes through social roles in prime- time television. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media, 52(2), 200-214. Towbin, M. a., Haddock, S. A., Zimmerman, T. S., Lund, L. K., & Tanner, L. R. (2004). Images of gender, race, age, sexual orientation in Disney feature- length animated films. Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 15(4), 19-44.