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Why do the mass media in a capitalist society allow no genuine diversity and can only produce dominant "ideological" representations of gender roles and relations

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Introduction

The BA (Hons) Art and Design in Education SD373 Cultural Identity Lecturer: Yeung Yang Essay topic: Why do the mass media in a capitalist society allow no genuine diversity and can only produce dominant "ideological" representations of gender roles and relations By Ho Shun Shing 03848738t In this article, dominant ideological representation of gender role and relation conveyed in mass media will be revealed from research findings. The role of mass media in relation to the ideology transmitted will also be examined through analyzing the characteristics of mass media and employing two perspectives to account for the reason why particular ideology of gender is transmitted by mass media. They are namely organizational theories of gender inequality and capitalistic explanation. Ideology as defined by Abbott and Wallace "a pattern of ideas included both factual and evaluative, which purports to explain and legitimate the social structure and culture of a social group or society and which serves to justify social actions which are in accordance with that pattern of ideas (1997:9)." In short, it is a system of beliefs that distorts reality at the same time that it provides justification for the status quo. It shapes our everyday feelings, thoughts and actions. The dominant ideologies stated by Abbott and Wallace (1997), can further serve to construct certain aspects of the social world as natural and universal so as to make it unquestionable and unchangeable. ...read more.

Middle

(1995). The power of mass media is evidenced in researches which showed that women who saw the stereotyped commercials tends to stereotype their futures in which they emphasized homemaking and expressed few aspirations for achievement outside the home. Researchers thereby concluded that gender depiction in television commercials have a cumulative effect on one's real life (Renzetti & Curran, 1995). Anderson (1997) also pointed out that there are numerous studies find that children's attitudes about gender roles are influenced by the amount of television they watch. As media can actively select content of the programs, set priority for information, choose themes and structure dialogue, it is undeniable a mean to exert powerful influence in shaping and creating culture. Following this logic, social construction of knowledge about gender is produced by mass media and can mass media be identified as the gender socializers as specified by Renzetti & Curran (1995). It is proposed that the image of genders portrayed through media, even is based on distortions of social realities, can influence our mental experiences and in turn become part of the basis for sexist social arrangement. However, why the mass media depict such kind of image of gender instead of other type? Here, we provided two approaches in accounting for the depiction of gender by media. The first one is the organizational theories of gender inequality. ...read more.

Conclusion

At this point, they are too gigantic for us to include in this article. To conclude, a system of beliefs is actually social constructed through different kinds of channel, while mass media is one of the explicit and prevailing channel that on one hand help creating the dominant ideological representation of gender role and relation through its power, authority and practice. On the other hand, help maintaining or reproducing, or reinforcing such kind of ideology. Although numerous researches revealed that mass media symbolically annihilated women as week and sexual object, the power and the perpetuating influence consisting in mass media can acts as an effective tool for one to replace inadequate patriarchal ideologies by intensive transmission of the more adequate and more comprehensive knowledge. In short, mass media, as a strong mediator, can play a significant role in controlling the value system of both individual and the society and in turn the interaction of the two. (1601 words) Reference Abbott, P. & Wallace, C. 1996, (2nd ed.) Introduction: Feminist critique of male stream sociology, and the way forward. An Introduction to Sociology: feminist perspectives: 1-17 London: Routledge. Andersen, M. 1997(4th ed.) Images of gender, women and the social construction of knowledge. Thinking About Women: Sociological Perspectives on sex and gender:145-161. Boston: Allyn and Bacon. Renzetti, C.M. & Curran, D. J. 1995 (3rd ed.) The great communicators: Language and the media. Women, men and society:146-180. Boston : Allyn and Bacon. 4 ...read more.

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