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

How is the 21st century woman viewed in popular culture; subservient or empowered?

Extracts from this document...


´╗┐Cote Contemporary Sociological Theory Professor Chad Thompson Dawn Cote February 26, 2011 How is the 21st century woman viewed in popular culture; subservient or empowered? In simplest form popular culture is defined as ?culture which is widely favoured or well liked by many people? (Storey,6). Popular culture has an undeniable influence on how women are perceived in the 21st century. While women have attained many rights and freedoms over the past century, there is still much more that needs to be addressed. Feminist author de Beauvoir writes, ?even today woman is heavily handicapped, though her situation is beginning to change?. This essay will discuss how popular culture is a patriarchal ideology of norms and values in the 21st century that dominates women, keeping them in a subservient state. Marxist dominant ideology thesis, states, ?the social power of the exploiting class allows it to impose its ideas on society generally? (Callinicos, 95). The group holding power maintains maximum control with minimum conflict. The general population accepts what is being presented to them without resistance. While this Marxist ideology is based on Capital control, many feminists argue this is what popular culture does as well. Many women construct their identities according to female stereotypes which are presented in TV shows, movies, magazines, literature and even toys and advertising. ...read more.


The Frankfurt School?s theorists Adorno and Horkeimer view popular culture as mass deception. Culture is imposed on the masses by the State, shaping their tastes and desires resulting in false needs. This ideology keeps women in a subordinate state. Ideas presented in the media present false needs for women. Advertisements for cleaning products that ?save time? or are more effective, hygienic products and makeup that are ?technologically advanced? and the clothing manufacturers introducing new fashions each season, encourage women to feel the need to live that specific lifestyle presented to them. In the 1950?s and 60?s magazines presented women as a child rearing housewife that took care of their working husbands and maintained the home. As decades went by and we emerged into the 21st century many women started to work outside the home. Most magazine and television advertisements impose an ?unrealistic view of women?s lives? (Wright). Women were given more diverse roles and having interests beyond maintaining a home. However despite this change the image presented is still unattainable. A survey done by Splash Consulting group ?found 89 per cent of women felt the way they were portrayed in advertising and marketing harmed their ability to be taken seriously in the workplace? (Wright). While the discussion of this essay is the subordination of women, we must also look at how popular culture affects little girls. ...read more.


Author Gail-Piorek sarcastically states, ?so, third graders now worry about learning multiplication, Justin Beiber and yes, wrinkles.? High heel shoes are now made for girls as young as 2. Once the pictures of Tom Cruise and Kate Holmes daughter Suri Cruise wearing shoes with a two inch heel were plastered all over the tabloids, mothers were running out to stores to buy their own little 3 year old her first pair of heels. Girls are being taught at a young age what fashions are shown on the celebrity children and in advertisements is what they need to have to be liked or popular. Popular culture emits power over society. Both men and women are bombarded with ideologies that are viewed as the norm or ?status quo?. However, the majority of these ideologies are based on patriarchal beliefs. What women should look like, act like, and even sound like are constantly presented in TV, movies, music, advertising and literature. If a woman strays from what is believed to be popular then they are not ?normal?. We have come a long way in women?s rights and freedoms. In a western society women have the right to vote, they can get a higher education and professional jobs, they can even run for office, however they still have to do this all in a ?man?s world? and this keeps women in a subservient position in society. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Gender Studies 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 University Degree Gender Studies essays

  1. Does American Popular Culture Discriminate Against Men?

    All we can see is her high-heeled feet and legs, jutting up in the air. Similarly abusive images are just as common in women's popular publications. An extreme form of violent p*********y is the snuff film or photograph, which documents someone actually being murdered.

  2. Freud and de Beauvoir on gender difference. Freud (albeit indirectly) and de Beauvoirs works ...

    This societal vernacular impacted Freud's perception of women and his theories on their development, against his conscious knowledge. As de Beauvoir cites in her novel, "he writes: 'The libido is constantly and regularly male in essence, whether it appears in man or in woman'" (de Beauvoir, 39).

  1. Gender Role Conflict in the Works of Kate Chopin

    Mallard, learns of the death of her husband. She had apparently been in a rather loveless marriage and was burdened by the will of her husband and the other roles in her life. When she hears of his passing there is instant grief, but after that the dominant feeling is that of freedom, relief and even joy.

  2. The Figure of the Mannish Lesbian in Nineteenth-Century Sexology

    to the rules of their definition posed a problem for sexologists attempting to describe and classify them. Though they surely had patients who did not exhibit "masculine" features, they seem to have been left out of most case histories. What would nowadays be called the "femme," for example, was absent in the discourse of lesbianism in the nineteenth century.

  1. Gender Roles

    has increased from 20% in 1990 to 70% in 2005 and since 1971 the rates of employment for men have fallen while the rates for women have risen. The Beveridge Report of the 1940's and the reforms of the 1980's illustrate how the implementation of health and social security policies directly affected family life.

  2. the image of woman and man in advertisement

    and reported that marketers have decided that the "manly man" and ads "oozing testosterone" were back. Also with respect to female role portrayals, opinions have been divided and variable. While some marketers have ditched the old gender stereotype and won't risk offending their female customers, others subscribe that magazine covers like Cosmopolitan should be close to p**n.

  1. Can a man ever truly be a feminist ?

    He asserts however, that this cannot happen until men change their attitudes towards other men as well as women, by choosing not to reinforce s****t attitudes towards either s*x. This could mean that ?menists?support women in feminism by allowing themselves to adopt feminist theory and in turn ending the patriarchy,

  2. Debates on Contemporary Gay Culture

    Bad education fits neatly into the post-structuralist components of q***r theory. The narrative elements throughout consistently call upon the established signs and codes of classical cinema (such as the femme fatale) to be revisited and revised whilst challenging the viewer?s conceptions of gender representation in these roles.

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