The media influences gender roles and shows its audience of how those roles should be portrayed. Most times everything is exaggerated, unrealistic, and falsely portrayed. The typical stereotypes play a big role on how we should perceive ourselves, and how society should perceive us as men and women. I believe it relies a little bit on how we go along with society, the media, and accepting it. There are many factors in TV shows and movies that show us what they think we would like to see in the media.
Based on what is constructed from our society, women and men are portrayed with our cultural views of gender. The media has the men portrayed as being, independent, active, strong, and sexually aggressive. The media portrays the women as sex objects that are usually young, thin, beautiful, passive, dependent, and often incompetent. “Women are portrayed significantly a lot younger and thinner than woman in the population as a whole, dependent on men, and enmeshed in relationships or housework.
“(Gendered Media, nyu.edu) The media does not help in the fact that it does not show liberation for women. Women can not feel comfortable in their own skin, when it comes to their own body image. It is very damaging, especially for these young girls growing up surrounded with what the norm should be, especially when it is far from what normal is. This creates women to have a negative self image of themselves, and wanting to reshape their body into what the media thinks what the ideal body figure should be or look like.
Women have to always look their best, and be very thin. Women are always being shown as victims, and passive figures. On the other hand, men are always being shown as the dominators, the hefty strong figure, sexually aggressive, unafraid, tough, violent, unafraid, totally in control of all their emotions, and above all, totally masculine.(Gendered Media, nyu.edu) It must be hard for men to live up to all these standards of having to show no feelings of emotions, and being solid as a rock, or having to portray themselves as being tough at all times, to show that they are indeed super masculine.
The media controls how young children see gender. They make certain TV shows geared towards little girls and certain cartoons geared towards young boys. These shows teach girls and boys how to behave and see themselves in those images. Growing up we had shows like Jem and the Holligram, She-Ra, My Little Pony, and Strawberry Shortcake all geared towards little girls, and the young boys used to watch Power Rangers, He-Man, or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Children would make fun of each other if they found out that the boys watched girl cartoons, and vice versa.
Girl cartoons were known to be sissy, and the boy cartoons that I mentioned were mostly fighting and violent. Another area television strongly portrays, is gender geared commercials. Women are usually the ones cleaning up in the kitchen, mopping the floors, scrubbing the toilets, and changing diapers. We hardly see any men being seen in these type of commercials, accept for Mr.
Clean stepping in and teaching the woman how to clean the proper way. Again, making women look like they are incompetent and dependent of a man showing her how to do things the right way. “Television is the most pervasive form of media, with 96.7 percent of American families owning a TV, according to The Nielsen Company, which takes TV set ownership into account when it produces ratings.” (huffingtonpost.
com)It is offensive to see women being portrayed as sex objects, victims, dependent on men, and being dominated by men. By seeing this often on TV, it often desensitizes the issue of women getting abused by men, or raped in our world. “Substantial violence toward women punctuates movies, television-including children’s programming-rock music, and music_ videos, desensitizing men and women alike to the unnaturalness and unacceptability of force and brutality between human beings.” (nyu.edu) Regardless of what the media brings and portrays to society, it is ultimately up to us not to buy into what they are trying to portray, and what they want us to believe.
We do not have to fall into the expectations of the media. It is hard for some people not to believe much of what they see on TV, or behave the way society expects us to behave. We do not have to abide by TV, or the media standards. We need to change our ways and not give into the media, so the media and the things being portrayed on TV start changing too.