Gender roles change from one generation to another as society gradually realizes the essence of the roles that men and women play in various aspects of life. While men access unlimited privileges in society, women grapple with limited privileges, which have defined their roles in the society.
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The disparity in the roles of men and women has its basis on norms, traditions, cultures, and social constructs that have continuously shaped human behavior across all ages.
Since the media are powerful in communicating norms, traditions, and social constructs, how they depict women play a central role in defining gender roles.
Collins (2011) argues that, “while increasing the representation of women in the media may be valuable, the manner in which they are portrayed should be simultaneously considered to avoid increasing negative or stereotypical depictions that may be particularly harmful to viewers” (p. 290).
Hence, depiction of women by the media determines how society perceives women and their roles. In this view, the essay critically analyses points of agreement and points of disagreement in the article that assesses gender roles in the media.
One of the points of agreement presented by the article is the sexualization of women. Comparatively, the media portray women in a sexualized manner, unlike their male counterparts.
Analysis of videos and images shows that women appear sexy in the manner they dress and display their nudity (Collins, 2011). In modern society, sexualization of women has become a tradition, which has shaped social constructs of dressing and beauty among women.
Beauty pageants critically depict women as models of beauty by use of dress codes that are sexy, and thus sexualization of women. Another point of agreement is that the media subordinate and relegate women to perform traditional roles of gender.
The media portray women as lesser beings than men in terms of roles that they perform.
According to Collins (2011), analysis of videos and images in the media show that, “women were overwhelmingly more likely to play the role of housekeeper and men were overwhelmingly portrayed as professionals and even office workers” (p. 295).
Hence, the media depict women in relegated and subordinated roles or positions in the society.
In the critical analysis of the article, the point of disagreement is that of under-representation of women in the media.
Collins (2011) asserts that, “women are under-represented in the media, and that when women are present they are typically scantily dressed and relegated to stereotyped roles” (p. 291). Hence, it is not true that the media under-represent women yet they are dominant in the media.
In the modern society, women have dominated the media because of their beauty, appeal, and eloquence.
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Women are dominant in the media as anchors of news, commentators, advertisers, and actors of major programs. In this view, analysis of the article disagrees with the assertion of under-representation of women.
In conclusion, gender roles vary from one generation to another. In the media, just like other aspects of society, gender roles have undergone through great changes in response to norms, traditions, and social constructs.
In the analysis of the article, the points of agreement are sexualization women and relegation of their roles in the media.
The media depict women as sexual objects while relegating their roles in the society to housekeeping.
In contrast, the point of disagreement is that the media do not under-represent women as stated in the article. Actually, there is even more representation of women than men in the media because of their beauty, appeal, and eloquence.
The following as discussion questions:
- Why do the media sexualize women?
- How do the media subordinate and relegate roles of women in society?
- Is it true that the media under-represent women in modern society?
- Do the media have significant influence in shaping and constructing gender roles?
Collins, R. (2011). Content Analysis of Gender Roles in Media: Where Are We Now and Where Should We Go? Sex Roles, 64(1), 290-298.