In the course of the twentieth century and at the threshold of the twenty-first century, the images and roles of gender have constantly been changing. The concepts of masculinity and femininity have undergone significant shifts due to the media influence and advertising.
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More importantly, commercials have had a potent impact on constructing gender identity, which deviates significantly from normal, adequate outlooks on male and female roles across cultures and nations. In the United States and abroad, there is a significant deviation in constructing masculinity and femininity, which becomes an integral part of shaping habits, behavior, and stereotypes.
While discussing the images of masculinity portrayed in modern commercials, specific emphasis should be placed on the role of violence and physical appearance in creating this concept. The video called Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity describes the current trends and patterns in perceiving female and male images.
To enlarge on this issue, the narrator explains that toughness and physical strength are main qualities that all men use to characterize the new paradigm of masculinity. Hence, masculinity becomes strongly associated with violence. Such a perception is created by media, and these attributes influence the trends accepted in dominated culture.
In contrast to violence and strength as common feature of male image in popular culture, women are losing their position because of their diminished role in social and political life.
Women, therefore, are depicted as victims and their importance is mostly associated with gender issues whereas men are often disregarded within this concept of gender. Media fails to mark violence and crimes as being performed by males. However, newspapers and television programs pay attention to gender as soon as women are involved in crimes.
The role of media in promoting the status quo is destructive because the images introduced in society distort the right and morally justified outlook on gender roles. Portrayal of women has been seriously deviated by concepts introduced in commercials since the beginning of the twentieth century.
In the video called Killing Us Softly, the author of the book criticizes the media images of women, in which physical appearance and beauty are prioritized whereas other qualities, such as intelligence and professional skills, are often ignored. Hence, in case women fail to conform to these stereotypes, there is a higher probability that they will fail to socialize successfully.
The current perceptions of gender roles have undergone dramatic shifts in terms of the appearance, social status, and relationships. In particular, there is a tendency in associating violence with masculinity, although mass media fail to underscore the role of males in shaping the constructs of violence, physical toughness, and strength because the opposite notions are not accepted while addressing male images.
Women have become more associated with beauty, girlish depiction, and weakness, whose defense mechanisms and intelligence are underestimated. In fact, the video representing the book Killing Us Softly provides evidence that the success of business organization in which women take managerial positions is more evident as compared to organizing with men holding leading positions.
In conclusion, mass media promotion of false gender stereotypes negatively influences the modern visions of which functions men and women should perform in society.
Focusing on physical appearances and neglecting other qualities contributes to gender inequality and destroys the right values, images, and roles assigned to masculinity and femininity. The assumption that all men should be violent and tough and women should always be victims is wrong because it prevents from establishing favorable social relationships.
Bentley University. “Killing Us Softly”. YouTube. 2012.
Cowmanll. “Tough Guise: Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity”. YouTube. 2013.