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Sean Gates Dunstan-Hoover Bell 2 5/1/14

The Media and Its Influence on Modern Gender Roles In the world today, the media influences everything. Opinions, knowledge, and morals are all shaped and influenced by modern media, and it seems that very few question what is presented. The media serves as an extremely powerful tool, with the ability to reach millions of people and spread ideas and information worldwide, but it also has the ability to enforce things like propaganda and keep entire populations in the dark regarding world issues. Three of the major factors that the media contributes to are the way which men are presented, the perception of women, and the lack of acknowledgement for major issues regarding gender rights. These are important dilemmas presented by modern media, and their influence on society can be extremely detrimental. The first issue presented by the media is a largely inaccurate and unaddressed portrayal of the male gender. Men almost always seem to be portrayed as skirtchasers, macho men, metrosexuals, or suave businessmen, and far too often are men realistically portrayed. In Meghan Casserly’s article Are Men The Latest Victims Of Media Misrepresentation?, Casserly describes the ways in which media often present men as incompetent or clumsy, and uses logos by providing examples and backing her information. Casserly obtains quotes from numerous professionals regarding the issue,


and establishes ethos by providing credentials for her sources. In our world today the traditional gender lines of past ages begin to blur, and as more men begin to take on new domestic roles, it is important that the media portrayal remains accurate. When viewing a children’s TV show the main characters seem to always be strong and fearless men who always do the right thing and win the girl. This image that is continuously given to children has a huge lasting impact, and defines how many of them view traditional gender roles. The media and its portrayal of men is largely inaccurate, yet shapes the way men are viewed by many, thus having a negative impact on society today. While men are often negatively impacted by media portrayal, their female counterparts often experience the same fate. One key factor that differentiates between male and female media portrayal, it the fact that modern media is largely male-run. In her New York Times piece The Media Has a Woman Problem, Liza Mundy defines the numerous fields of media, which are largely male dominated. She appeals to her audience and their use of logic by providing numerous statistics regarding gender disproportion in media and backs her statistics with reputable sources, and Mundy also draws her audience in and provokes thought with the use of numerous rhetorical questions throughout her piece. Issues regarding women and media can also be seen in the way women are portrayed, often sending the wrong message to its audience. The roles of women in television or movies are often presented as either unlikable control freaks or airheaded bimbos, making the presentation of women within media extremely one-dimensional. The Barbie doll persona negatively influences the way in which women are perceived in society, and hinders the progress


of many who work to erase traditional gender stereotypes. The media’s handling of gender roles is consistently negative in its impact, and it is necessary to examine and redefine the way gender roles are portrayed. A large factor regarding the media and its influence on society is the way in which it picks and chooses which headlines to cover. Too often are major headlines regarding gender rights glossed over by the media in favor of more eye-catching or attractive news, denying the public information dealing with obvious gender rights violations. One example of this is a case in Dubai, in which a Norwegian woman was raped and then later sentenced to over a year in prison after being convicted of sex outside of marriage. In the article by Erlend Ofte Arntsen, the author defines the case to his audience, and then establishes an array of background information regarding the situation in order to best inform his audience of the problem. This case is an obvious break of both human and gender rights, yet it received very little media coverage, while events like the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 seem to dominate media coverage. This is not a lone case, with numerous reports of women being tortured for refusing arranged marriages, being punished for being raped, and being denied basic human rights all receiving minimal media coverage. When the public is left in the dark regarding gender issues, it remains difficult for action to be taken, and the media’s lack of broadcasting these issues only serves to hinder those looking to progress forward. While the media remains a vital tool in the spread of information and ideas to society, it is important that it is used to its full potential. It is vital to reexamine the way in which portrays both men and women, and that the public is presented with all


the possible information they can regarding international gender rights in order to best inform them of the problems faced. So much of the public’s opinion and knowledge is influenced by the media, and for that reason it is important that media serves as a tool to inform and empower, rather than deny society of important information. While some issues may lie deeper than the media, it is important to fight obvious problems and not remain complacent with what is presented. For that reason, it is crucial to analyze what the media presents and to be always pushing for more information and evolution within traditional media concepts.

Works Cited Arntsen, Erlend O., and Ingeborg H. Amundsen. "Norsk Kvinne Anmeldte Voldtekt I Dubai: - Dømt for Sex Utenfor Ekteskap." VG. VG News, 17 July 2013. Web. 01 May 2014. Casserly, Meghan. "Are Men The Latest Victims Of Media Misrepresentation?" Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 14 Nov. 2012. Web. 01 May 2014. Mundy, Liza. "The Media Has a Woman Problem." The New York Times. The New York Times, 26 Apr. 2014. Web. 01 May 2014.


Media and Gender Roles  

Awesome essay regarding the media and its effects on gender roles

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