Gender Representation:

Thanks to the media we all grow up with an idea of what is ‘appropriate’ behaviour for girls and boys.  

We expect all men to be typically masculine, being Tough, Hard and Sweaty.

The concept of masculinity is much stronger than the feminine stereotypes. Society expects men to be strong, (both physically and intellectually), powerful, be sexually attractive, have a good physique and be independent.

For example, you would never see a thin, frail looking superman. Society expects a superhero to be well built and strong. This puts an extreme amount of pressure on those who do not obtain this  kind of physique.

In contrast, we expect women to be typically feminine, being fragile, soft and fragrant. Media texts always highlight a woman’s beauty, size, sexuality, relationships and their emotional dealings.

Even today, films often portray women as a ‘damsel in distress’, which suggests they are weak. Another role frequently assigned to a woman in film is ‘the helper’, assisting the male protagonist in their epic journey. It is shocking to think that even now, male tv drama characters outnumber the female characters 3 to 1!!!The portrayal of women in the media bears little resemblance to women in reality, this gives both men and women a false expectation of what women ‘should’ be like.

My favourite contradiction to the stereotypical representation of women in the media is ‘Ugly Betty’s Betty Suarez. Her eccentric fashion sense and lovable character captivate the audience and despite her ‘ugliness’ she works her way up the ranks of a superficial, high fashion magazine. Although America Ferrera is far from Ugly like the programme’s name suggests, it helps promote a positive message that beauty not just about your dress size or looking like a model. Betty is a positive role model for young girls, she proves you don’t have to care about what other people think and that if you work hard enough you will succeed, even in a looks-orientated industry. If there were more positive images of women in the media maybe young girls wouldn’t have such a distorted body image themselves….

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