The Effects of Printed Media on Gender Roles Essay

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I will be looking at women’s 'to-be-looked-at-ness', and examining the
representations of women as objects of the male gaze and male desires.

In simple terms, a stereotype is the application of one (usually
negative) characteristic to a whole group. The stereotype is an easy
concept to understand, but there are some points you need to consider
when looking at media representations with regard to stereotyping. For
a stereotype to ‘work’ it needs to be recognisable to the audience and
when so recognised, then judgements are made about the subject. If the
stereotype is negative, then the judgements will also tend to be the
same. The predictable thing about stereotypes is that they are
predictable! They create a sense of order and also provide a sense of
identity (even if it is a negative one!) Stereotypical judgements and
stereotypical media representations can (and often do) lead to
different treatments of groups by other groups, (sadly, often quite

If we define ‘male’ and ‘female’ all we are doing is a biological
classification, but if we think about the terms ‘masculine’ and
‘feminine’ we have to think about certain roles and lifestyles. Put
simply, the words have very specific ideological assumptions of what
is ‘natural behaviour’ for each sex. The portrayal of men and women in
traditional roles is very prominent and also very contested in
advertising. Characters, both male and female are constantly placed in
roles, socially constructed to 'match' their gender. In other words,
society has constructed (made) a set of ‘truths’ about what is the
‘right’ way for a man or a woman to behave.
The media, of cou...

... middle of paper ...

... adverts
to highlight these changes. These reversals are, however, often
portrayed in a sarcastic or less serious than in other adverts.

Without these gender roles maybe society would have had an adverse
effect on the media and what we portray as acceptable would in fact be

Why is the media so important? —One may ask. More often than not, it’s
the way we get most of our information. Information we tend to think
of as the “truth.

Overall when looking at different types of media I got the general
impression that women are portrayed in a worthless provocative manor.
This was repeated in the same way across the whole range and always
looked as if they were being exploited. Society have dictated to the
media what they want to buy and see, all that’s left for the media to
do is provide this product.

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