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Assess the ways gender and sexuality are represented in the mass media

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Introduction

´╗┐Representations of gender and sexuality in the media. Representations of femininity, masculinity, sexuality and homosexuality gradually start to deviate from hegemonic definitions (those dominating the society), in which the media play a dominant role. As role of women in society advances, so does the variety of female representations. Similarly, representations of masculinity are changing in response to feminisation. Homosexuality becomes more visible in the media, signifying changing perception of LGBT community. It is argued the media plays the key role in shaping youth?s view of sexuality, however its coverage in the media is still subject to stereotypes and hegemonic values. Despite positive changes in representations, women tend to be more sexualised by the media still. Moreover, issues of homosexuality are largely still marginalised. The media shape youth?s understanding of sexuality and expressing it, which means its representation in the media is highly significant and should promote positive messages. BACHELOR argues the positive aspect of representations of sexuality is that importance of contraception and consent are emphasised in the media. ...read more.

Middle

Even Hollywood has improved representation of homosexuals. There has emerged such a genre as gay/straight romance. For example, The Object Of My Affection portrays a relationship between a straight woman and her gay neighbour. However, this marginalises the experiences of homosexuals because their relationships are not portrayed as equally important as those of straight people. In fact, homosexual characters can often be viewed as accessories to liberal and sophisticated straight characters. Furthermore, limited number of homosexual lead characters can be explained by producers? fear to lose investment and advertisers. As a result, representation of LGBT community remains marginalised. Although historically women used to be portrayed as home-makers and carers, representations of femininity have changed, largely due to influence of the media in shaping attitudes to women. Over the recent decades, a ?genderquake? happened in the society and the media, leading to women being portrayed as focused on education and careers unlike before when they were portrayed as aspiring to be housewives and mothers only. ...read more.

Conclusion

However, some argue that a ?new man? was a creation of advertisers to increase consumerism among men. WESTWOOD argues that a rise in men fashion led to a concept of a ?metrosexual man?, i.e. Man who cares about his appearance. D.Beckham is an example how metrosexuality can be used to increase consumerism of a broad range of consumers ? men and women, straight and gay people. However, the extent of should not be exaggerated because, according to RUTHERFORD, retributive masculinity is increasingly promoted by the media through ?lads magazines? and new media, allowing men access media content that reproduces stereotypical views of femininity and masculinity (eg. Pornography). Feminists argue this is a backlash against the rise of feminism in the media that is perceived as a threat to masculinity. In conclusion, the media continue to play a major role in shaping the views of femininity, masculinity and sexuality. There have been positive tendencies in representation of all. However, changes of representations of masculinity and homosexuality should not be exaggerated because men start to retreat to hegemonic (i.e. Dominant/stereotypical) masculine image, while representation of homosexuals remains highly marginal. ...read more.

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