Media plays an important role in society; it provides people with daily current events, entertainment, the way people are supposed to look or act, and most of all society’s perception of gender. Throughout the 20th century, much of children’s understanding of the world has become inaccurate; most of their knowledge has come through the media. However, little do they know is that most of the time media portrays human beings differently then they are in reality. Gender roles are cultural and personal frameworks that determine how males and females are expected to think, speak, dress, and interact.
As media becomes an ever more powerful force in shaping the world, it becomes increasingly difficult for many individual’s to maintain a unique and self-understanding identity from the media’s influence. Young children are especially vulnerable to the teachings of media because they don’t have the awareness necessary to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Additionally, most people believe that media impacts society’s perception of gender negatively whereas, others argue that media impacts society’s perception of gender positively.
People are constantly exposed to various forms of media, from advertisements and magazines all the way to television programs and the Internet. Gender is a word commonly used to describe an individual’s identity as male or female. When the media discusses gender, they use the terms masculinity and femininity to identify a set of characteristics and values. An article states, “People are constantly subject to the media, whether it be via television programs, newspapers, billboards, or other advertisements. All of this media, intentionally or not, subtly promotes certain beliefs and opinions” (JR 3).
This implies that no matter what, the media somehow, someway always finds its way into the lives of human beings and provokes them to believe certain things such as wrong beliefs and opinions. Moreover, the media has affected the younger generation more then anyone because again as stated before they don’t have the awareness necessary to distinguish between fantasy and reality. Another article states, “When exposed to multiple gender messages, children are more likely to endorse the stereotype than if presented with a counter-stereotype” (Aubrey & Harrison, 2004).
This proves that the media affects children more than others because instead of hearing something and forgetting about it, children hear something and support it, and sometimes they don’t care to reason about it. As can be seen, media influences people to believe wrong opinions and beliefs. Furthermore, media influences children as well but, many children are stubborn so, once they hear one thing its almost impossible to change their minds about it.
Media is biased and has an agenda; they influence the viewer into thinking a certain way on how that gender in supposed to be by showcasing each gender a certain way. Most of the time women portrayed in media are perfect and flawless, which makes every other women think that they need to be exactly like that. An article on the Huffington Post states, “The Big Bang Theory, in its earlier seasons, had only one consistently present female lead — Penny, played by the lovely Kaley CuocoSweeting.
Penny’s character was that of the stereotypical female: the ditzy, attractive neighbor, who existed solely to create sexual tension between herself and one of the show’s leading men, Leonard Hofstadter” (Lantagne). Here, the writer is saying that the females that watched The Big Bang Theory believe that Kaley Cuoco represents an ideal female and try to be almost exactly like her character. What they don’t understand is that she is only playing a character and in real life she is probably nothing like her character.
As you can see, media tends to influence the viewers into thinking a certain way on how someone’s gender is supposed to be portrayed. Although, most people believe that media impacts society’s perception of gender negatively, there are some people who believe that media impacts society’s perception of gender positively. These people believe that social media can boost gender equality. An article states, “Social Networking holds potential to boost the economic, political and social empowerment of women, and the promotion of gender equality” (Lakshmi).
This displays that media can promote gender equality and also shows that media can show that woman are just as equal and powerful as men. However, what people don’t understand is that kids, teens and maybe even adults do what society usually does and society usually does whatever they see on media correspondingly, not everything in media is positive. For example, all the cyber-bulling that people have done because of gender perception has lead to many deaths in the past.
Overall, media impacts societies perception of gender negatively and has lead to harsh problems in the lives of many because of it. In conclusion, people are constantly exposed to media wherever they maybe, weather its at home, on the computer, on your cellphone, outside an even in the bathroom (for a few). Within media various types of gender roles are discussed. Most of the types of gender roles discussed by media impacts societies perception of gender negatively and it influences viewers into thinking a certain way on how someone’s gender is supposed to be portrayed.