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Gender Display in TV Shows, Movies and News

How Gender is shown in the Media

The media has been the biggest stream of information that is readily and easily accessed. Through the media, people get to learn of important information and some unimportant issues about the world regarding what is trending and what is irrelevant. The effects of information received from the media, whether relevant or irrelevant, have an impact on the society especially today where any tiny detail explored can be correctly analyzed or completely blown out of context (Holtzman & Sharpe, 2014). The media, however, seems to classify and identify a viewer with his/her opinions on issues relating to gender, race, and class. This study discusses the concerns of gender and the media.

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For the longest time, the media has always been associated with a male dominated industry. From the television to the movies going to the news, men have always been on the forefront eventually overshadowing women in the media industry. On TV shows, women are identified as being more focused on marriage, domestic chores, and parentage than men (Gauntlett, 2008). Gauntlett (2008) states that women are seen as passive, inferior, incompetent, laughable, mistreated, and supportive characters while men are seen as active, bold, aggressive, and prizewinning characters in TVs.

This perception has been in that state since the early 20th century whereby it was considered a man’s world because back then a man was the sole breadwinner and the decision maker with matters to do with his household. This perception has brought sharp criticism from an early onset that recommends writers, directors, and producers to incorporate more women on leading acting roles. It is evident from the award winning TV shows that progressively more women are taking up leading roles, but they are still seen as inferior to the dominating male characters.

This applies to movies as well since just a few women are normally given the lead role as a man will always be the dominant character in a film. Females are normally seen and used as sex objects as represented by the media. The insignificant roles played by women prove how inconsiderate the media industry is to the female gender. Significant roles given to women tend to be played by young females who exude an aura of sexuality and beauty. Women who are beyond the ages of being considered youthful find it hard to get major roles because of their age factor (Jermyn, 2012). This is discriminatory as their older male counterparts’ scenario is totally the opposite.

In the newsroom, the scenario is the same as in the case of TV shows and movies. News coverage is mostly done by males, and only a few females have much coverage. In as much as many women are part of a media company and form a huge part of the newsroom, the television industry is still male dominated. Women find it degrading when they are made to feel inferior because of their age and preferences. Miriam O’Reilly, for instance, was a presenter with British Broadcasting Corporation and in 2011 she filed a suit against the company for age bias. Gender discrimination was noted since she was advised to be cautious of her wrinkles and informed that she should dye her hair (Jermyn, 2012).

Meaning for Society

It is evident that women are on the downside of gender equality, especially in the media. As portrayed in the TV shows, movies, and the news, women are perceived to be slow, meek, and powerless. This creates a falsification to the society that women can never equate in a man’s world, and a woman’s place is at home doing house chores and maintaining the home. For the society, this means that people have failed as the media is piling the wrong information on them and causing negative impacts (Holtzman & Sharpe, 2014). If the society focuses on the positivity of women over the negativity, the generations to come will look at gender equality with different eyes and maybe, improve the influence of the media on gender.

Influence on Thoughts about the Group

Stereotypes identify how a woman is conceived in the media. A woman is envisioned as a sex object over a man who is envisioned to be superior (Holtzman & Sharpe, 2014). This influences the thoughts about the group as many in the society believe that women are not to be taken seriously as they are and will always be weak characters in all spheres of life. A woman is seen as the backbone of a home, but she is perceived as a mere and inferior individual in the corporate world. Despite such thoughts, there are very powerful women like Oprah, Lori Greiner, Barbara Corcoran, and many more who are successful in both their businesses and running their homes. Identifying a woman by her sexuality and not her IQ shows how the society looks at and relates to a woman.

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A Bad Thing

Women are just taken to be inferior, sexual objects, and mere homemakers. Looking at a woman in such contexts shows the immaturity of the media and the society (Holtzman & Sharpe, 2014). It is, therefore, a bad thing because not only is it affecting the career-oriented woman negatively, but is also influencing the young girls who look up to strong independent women whom they envision to be like in different facets of their lives.


Gauntlett, D. (2008). Media, gender and identity: An introduction. Abingdon: Routledge.

Holtzman, L., & Sharpe, L. (2014). Media messages: What film, television, and popular music teach us about race, class, gender, and sexual orientation. Abingdon: Routledge.

Jermyn, D. (2012). ‘Get a life, ladies. Your old one is not coming back’: Ageing, ageism and the lifespan of female celebrity. Celebrity Studies, 3(1), 1-12.

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