Devaluation of the Feminine

Topics: Gender, Woman, Gender role Pages: 4 (1435 words) Published: November 27, 2005
Devaluation of the Feminine

The devaluation of women is built into the culture all through industry and popular culture. When a baby is born he/she is like a blank slate to be written on by his/her surroundings, including family and society. For example, I am a Christian, however I was not born a Christian, going to Church and being taught about the Bible by my parents and teachers brought me to identify myself as a Christian. There are certain gender roles that are set up in societies that limit males and females to certain behaviors they are "supposed" to portray. The media in many cultures, particularly American culture, continues make the devaluation of females more "socially acceptable". The stereotypes for the feminine role are, sensitive, beautiful, caring, weak, and a homemaker, according to a study done by Broverman and Rosencrantz. However, the role of the male, is to be aggressive, strong, athletic, not emotional, and a great achiever. The role of the male is considered to be more socially desirable. This forces both males and females to try to live up to these standards, sometimes even subconsciously. The social construction of what it means to be a woman has psychological effects on a woman that leads to low self-esteem. Society believes that it is good to be strong and to be a good leader, which is the opposite of how women are viewed. Advertisements, as seen in Jean Kilbourn's Killing Us Softly III, also portray women as sexual objects who are not concerned with anything that is not materialistic. Women are depicted as weak and lesser in strength and intelligence than men. A woman who is outspoken and strong-willed is said to be a lesbian or she may be considered to have a problem with authority. Males are also expected to live up to the standards of society, which can pressure them into trying to achieve goals which may be unattainable. Advertisements can also portray men in a negative manner. They are often represented as...

Thompson, Krista A., Spring 1998, November 7, 2005
Kilbourne, Jean. Killing Us Softly III VHS, 34 minutes, 1999, Media Education Foundation
Cosmopolitan, August 2005
Broverman and Rosencrantz studies
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