Gender Stereotypes in the Media Essay

Gender Stereotypes Good morning, My name is _____ and I am a student in my final year of studying Media at CQU. First, I would like to thank you all for inviting me to the ‘Building Images for the Future’ conference. Today, I am going to present to you my views on gender stereotypes in the media and how they are used to position their audience. It is becoming difficult to identify gender stereotypes. Fifty years ago the typical stereotype for a female would have been very tame and precious.

Girls would traditionally dress neatly, be polite, eat salads, be desperately/impossibly thin, and be faultlessly beautiful. A female would be very submissive. She would cook and clean all day whilst looking presentable. The typical stereotype for a male, however, was a strong, independent role model who would work hard and provide for his family. The attitude towards a male was viewed as an authoritative leader or hero. I partially agree that too many texts in the media position readers to accept gender stereotypes. In recent years, the discourse of both genders has changed drastically.

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Many outrageous stereotypes are beginning to form in today’s society and as a result, such stereotypes are being mirrored in the media. My first text subjects women as being stupid individuals who cannot think for themselves. (SHOW TEXT) This card blatantly focuses on constructions of gender; the author’s preferred reading is that women see themselves as being not very smart and cannot drive. Also, the fact that the woman is blonde symbolises another stereotype. There is also another element of the card that comes across as sexist, which is the business suit the man is wearing.

All of these separate aspects of the card may be sending subconscious messages about the gender roles people play and who they should be. Even if, at first, it seems to be making these bold stereotype readings comical. This type of text is in a birthday card which shows the extreme variation in which genders are subjected to stereotypical attitudes and values in society. My next text is a Pepsi MAX commercial. It shows people in a room waiting to be interviewed. (SHOW TEXT) Most of the people in the room are male. They are all in dull suits with serious faces; none of them are talking.

This first aspect of the commercial positions the viewer to think that only men should be working; also, that they should be working in a boring office. This is an old gender role. At the end of the commercial, we learn why the first man who was interviewed destroyed the employer’s office while screaming “STOP PUNCHING ME! ” Having got the job, the man and his mates start acting like complete yobbos. They start high-fiving each other and carrying on. This shows one of the new male stereotypes depicting men as cool, funny, smart and cunning.

These are prime examples of the attitude towards gender roles in today’s society. However there are many examples of roles that argue these stereotypes, such as this article that featured in an issue of New Idea in April 2010. (SHOW TEXT) It shows both a man and a woman with the same job; they are caretakers of sea lion pups at Taronga Zoo. It portrays them as equals in the workforce and so sends a very positive vibe to the reader. The thing that really stands out about this article is the fact that their job has such a high regard and is admired by animal lovers all over the world.

So showing such balance in this particular working environment is healthy for influencing a reader’s position of gender roles. The new portrayals of females show strong individuals who stand up for what they believe. There are many representations of these powerful women, not only in the workforce but also on the sporting fields and arenas. This scene that you are about to see is from the movie ‘Million Dollar Baby’. The main character, Maggie Fitzgerald, is a young waitress who decides to change her life through the sport of boxing. SHOW TEXT) This challenges the textbook female of delicate and fragile. In more recent years the ‘new age’ male has shown flickers of femininity. This sensitive side of males has taken much longer to evolve since males are less prone to express emotions. There are little of such stereotypes in the media but that’s not to say it can’t be found. One example is a children’s book titled “The Only Boy in Ballet Class. ”(SHOW TEXT) Author Denise Gruska said how she had been inspired by the discrimination her son received by all the girls in his ballet class.

It is meant to teach young children about gender diversity and show them that the stereotypes they see on television and movies aren’t always what are real. It is apparent that whatever is the subject in the media at the current time is what people come to accept as normal. The vulnerability of specific age groups makes them an easier target for the media industry. In order to maintain our society’s healthy mental state, the audience needs to be viewing a balance of traditional and new-age stereotypes.

The gender identities and roles of our community are vital. But we also want to feel like it’s OK to be as girly or boisterous as what makes us comfortable. Many people are going to continue to endure harsh discrimination and sexism because of the way they might talk, dress, or act unless all gender roles are incorporated into everyday media. With this approach, in time, more people will be accepted into their communities. * http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=JwammEPjqos * http://www. youtube. com/watch? v=YHIaqfjJJ3s&feature=search


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