• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Critically examine to what extent do the mass media perpetuate gender stereotypes?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Alan Duffell Access Human Sciences ACC000202F1 Sociology Culture & Identity Critically examine to what extent do the mass media perpetuate gender stereotypes? In addressing the question it is first necessary to understand what is meant by 'mass media'. The Collins English Dictionary defines mass media as "the means of communication that reach large numbers of people in a short time, such as television, newspapers, magazines, and radio" (Collins English Dictionary 5th edition, 2000, pp 957). This therefore suggests that any medium that conveys information to the people is categorised as mass media. By looking at two forms of media, this essay will examine how much the media can be charged with causing and further exaggerating gender-based stereotypes in society. The forms of the media in which this essay will examine will be advertising, in particular the way masculinity is portrayed within television and magazines. The second form of media to be examined will be soap operas and will examine representation and audience reception within the soap genre. When starting an advertising campaign the writer in general follows the premise that sex sells and automatically asserts themselves into a manipulative model, a Marxist perspective which views of society as being divided by class and being ruled by those in control (i.e. bourgeois) who have the financial ability behind them. Because these people have become so financially powerful they are able to force their beliefs and opinion on others therefore legitimising their control. ...read more.

Middle

Foulcault's theories would indicate the media's creation of gender identity in particular masculinity and continues perpetuate the stereotypes in a way that will leave men questioning who they are and what their roles are within society. Having looked at the stereotyping of masculinity within the media this essay will now look at how the soap opera contributes to the gender debate within the mass media. Unlike the advertising of masculinity, a soap opera is a fictional representation of reality and a distinct separation can be seen between the fiction and real life. Unlike other forms of media like Women's Hour on the radio or women's magazines like Women's Weekly or Women's Own a soap opera is not as overtly directed towards women, though it is regarded as a woman's program because of underlying associations in society between women and soap operas, this is to say that the delivery times of the program are usually at times during the day and early evening when women are most likely to be viewing. The content of these programs are also directed to appeal primarily to women, content such as romance, love affairs, family. This is important as Hall (1997) suggests in order to gender a genre that the concept of address must be understood. By the term address it is meant how a product is produced for its consumer, more than just this it is also about who the target audience is and how it will affect them. ...read more.

Conclusion

The works of Charlotte Brunsdon and Tania Modelski would supports this. Lisbet van Zoonen's work is extremely relevant in supporting the manipulative model of the media. She claimed "the pleasure women derive from watching soap operas [makes is increasingly difficult] to find moral justification for criticising their contribution to the ... construction of gender identities" (van Zoonen, 1985, cited in Trowler 1996, pp 202) this suggests that women can not think independently whilst engrossed in a soap and therefore are receiving forced messages from that of the producers of the programme. However when Ang suggests it is possible for a viewer including herself to derive pleasure and think independently offers an example of the user gratification model. With the growth and development of the new man through the advertising medium the manipulative model is applied in telling men who they are and how they should live, irrespective of his right to freedom. As a result a culture of men have become groomed to living the way an advertiser believes they should. This belief which started on an ad man's desk has quickly spread to the world of men's magazines which have evolved from naked women into a new lifestyle and definition of masculinity. As a result of this new definition of masculinity a new stereotype has evolved suggesting a man should be strong yet emotionally in tune. Although it is still unclear as to whether the media perpetuates gender stereotyping it is clear however that it is responsible for creating its own sets of stereotypes. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Media section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Media essays

  1. How might a sociologist account for the high incidence of eating disorders among women?

    is less, on the subject of extreme weight control, because in environments such as ballet school and same-sex education the emphasis is generally put onto muscle or intelligence. Naomi Wolf (1990) encapsulates all of these ideas in her book 'The Beauty Myth'.

  2. To what extent do media representations of refugees and asylum seekers limit their integration ...

    The reader may fear that their country; their territory is under threat, a common response is that they want the problem to go away; to disappear. These feelings of apprehension and threat may lead to a racist attitude. Unbalanced and inaccurate reporting can also promote tension within the community.

  1. Censorship is necessary to protect the public

    It is important that the country does not have heavy political censorship because it would develop into something resembling Hitler's Nazi Germany, where there is no freedom of speech and the state has total power, described in George Orwell's cult novel '1984'.

  2. Compelling teenage soap based in Chester.

    This signifies their importance in the scene and their detachment from the other characters. The ambience of mumbled conversations is withdrawn as the character of 'Chris' enters the room; this evokes immediate emphasis to the character. Before a shot of 'Chris' is shown; a series of reaction shots are presented, with family members gasping in shock.

  1. How does the media represent female bodies?

    I decided to include this as a category because I felt it would be good to use as a comparison with the other results and would enable me to calculate a percentage of how many pages were related to each factor in my category.

  2. How Media, Advertising and Celebrity Culture Affects Female Body Image

    In another content analysis, Garner et al. (1980) studied the ideal feminine image as presented by Playboy Magazine and the Miss America Pageant from 1959 to 1978. The mean weights of women in these groups were significantly less than the mean weights of the general public (Myers & Biocca, 1992).

  1. To what extent does the Media affect body image in teens and their perception ...

    In fact they may be ignored by the conscious brain and be beyond the level of conscious perception[20]. A new study by Prof. Naomi Mandel, as sited in CBS News, has shown companies that feature normal size women, better known, as ?plus-size? are less effective than those that use thin models.

  2. Poverty Stereotypes: Fact or Fiction? Evidence of this use of labels can be found ...

    Clark informs Shameika?s mother that he believes her daughter is capable of great things, she is taken aback since she had never even considered that her daughter had any potential. This type of negative thinking is also displayed when the principal tells Clark that he doubts the children will do well on the upcoming standardized tests.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work