The media is the main contributor to currently existing sex-role stereotyping, which primarily promotes male and female social norms. This has contributed greatly to currently existing behavioral patterns, whereby both men and women have ceased to embrace their unique personality traits. Changing in roles defined by the society in terms of gender differences seems to be moving fast in the media than all other environments. Majority of media channels such as newspapers, televisions, radios, and other publications create the gender picture in two ways, men as housekeepers while women venture into academics and work or men as breadwinners while women handle home chores. However, in most cases it tends to lean on one side, whereby it articulates women as weaker than men. On the other hand, it is becoming very common presently to hear discussions across different communication channels on current changing roles of both women and women (Olarte 260-263).
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Media houses depict women as seductive creatures who are always ready to give anything to receive favors from men. In addition, these media shows portray men as key players in the game whereby they can get anything from women because they control things. This has contributed to construction of ideologies by some community members taking women as easy to manipulate and control human beings.
Sex-Role Stereotyping in Television Programs
Contrary to developments in role allocations globally, some television stations still air some programs that emphasize traditional beliefs and gender segregated roles. In addition, most love related television programs portray women as being promiscuous depending on the nature of roles they play in such programs. Take for example in soap operas; such programs portray women as sex objects and social climbers, which largely has affected the perception of both adults and children on women, hence hampering personality development in women (Nathalie Para. 7-14)
Stereotyping of women on television has long lasting impacts to adult development, whereby most media houses have a clear differentiation in terms of occupational and socially defined roles. Occupationally there is a clear under-representation of women in some careers. For example, most of drama programs have less women actors, which in most cases create an impression of women as weaker compared to men. This results from the fact that most of drama actions require a lot of energy during the acting process, which to majority of people women lack, hence the association of such movies to men. On the other hand, from research findings majority of moviemakers apply stereotyping as an easy way of easily illustrating actor’s characteristics. For example, in many movies blonde women are a symbol of dumbness. Although moviemakers have tried to avoid such cases, still there exist many misconceptions about women resulting from the media (Media awareness network, Para. 1-3).
On the other hand, in most television programs, in most cases women play minor roles primarily home chores. This depicts women as the incompetent group in the society, which in most cases occurs when women are main actors in programs that are not family related. This also largely contributes to negative influences of individuals’ beliefs about women. Children are the most affected by these stereotypes, whereby they develop attitudes and perceptions on mothers using the sex stereotypes they hear or see in the media (Gunter 23-46).
Sex-Role Stereotyping in Literature Materials
Writers of many love magazines, articles and books design their findings on romantic issues from a masculine perspective. In many instances, such interpretations have made many viewers to have biased perceptions based on gender differentiation. Most viewers; be they women or men, like to identify themselves with men due to beliefs that men are always winners and great achievers. To make the whole scenario worse individuals have transformed this condition by integrating it in there believes, hence biased perceptions based on gender differences (Chandler Para.1-3).
Most of reading literature also portrays women performing home chores whereby girls are main helpers with house chores. On the other hand, the same literature in most cases portray men as breadwinners whose main role is to rest and wait to be served after a long day of struggle, with chores that are heavy and need a lot of attention. This although traditional is common in most literature materials that both children and adults read, hence leading to construction of sex-role stereotypes, which not only affects personality development, but also character and perception formation. Information from literature materials also give men superiority, which women should not only respect but also adore regardless of prevailing conditions. Many reading materials associate academic excellence to men, mostly in professions the society considers “hard” for women such as medicine, accounting, and driving. In addition, these materials show women in simple jobs such as teaching and social work, which largely has contributed to the widening disparity between men and women because of constructions of sex-role related stereotypes (Ackley 436-438).
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One main thing to note is that not only do these literature materials define gender roles in content, but also the same differentiation is clear in terms of the language expressions. In addition, illustrations in most books show women as the suffering group in most families. This is because most literature books show women as recipients of men’s toil, hence have no role to play when it comes to family decision-making. Depending on roles played by women, books give different pictures of women. For example, books speak less of stepfathers but lay more emphasis on stepmothers. Most books portray stepmothers as bad members of the society; hence, any one reading such a material will pick such impressions and convert them into reality by developing negative attitudes towards stepmothers. Take of a case where a book or literature material portrays a mother as a witch, many children reading such a material will not differentiate a work of art and reality, hence in their perception it is real. This largely affects their relationship development with anyone they perceive to be a stepmother, hence affecting their personality development (Al-Ghafari Para. 1-7).
In terms of economic development majority of literature portray women as members of society whose main role is to receive what men struggle to achieve in their daily endeavors. These literature materials portray women as society members who should live under men rule; hence, their simple duty is to find a man get married, and sire children for continuation of the family lineage (Ackley 438-440). The books show little significance on women’s contribution to the societies’ well being, not even in peace initiatives, which most women are main contributors.
As concerns employment status, literature materials depict women as parties in the society who should follow rules provided by men bosses. Women are not supposed to take leadership positions in society, because to the society, women should be there to listen and not to speak, hence should at all times take orders. This is not only common in literature materials, but also in movies and comic actions. Women in most books play the roles of secretaries or home keepers. These positions have minimal opportunities of advancement career wise, hence contributing negatively to personality and career development in female children. Many books show women suffering in their duties, which in most cases make many to quit jobs for easy home chores, which in reality is never the case in reality.
Sex-Role Stereotyping in Media Advertisements
Many advertisements through different media channels use women to pass messages on issues considered by communities as feminine. For example, most soap, cosmetics, and home appliances advertisements use women, hence closely associating them to home chores, rather than office chores. On the other hand, advertisements related with investments and economic sustainability primarily use men, showing them as prosperous members of the society. This directly affects perceptions that societies believe in concerning developments and investments, whereby men receive all appraisal when it comes to economic sustainability (Al-Ghafari Para. 7- 10).
In addition, the nature of women participating in majority of advertisements also has contributed to increasing construction of sex-linked stereotypes. Majority of women participating in music and other advertisements sometimes are almost naked with little to cover their nudity. On the other hand, many media advertisements have created clear boundaries between male and female physiques. Many media houses criticize females with fat bodies, because they consider slim figures more attractive (McConnell Para 3-4). This although appealing to many, it has contributed to increasing sex –role stereotyping, whereby such advertisements give women less respect as compared to men. This is because it portrays women negatively to the society as a whole, whereby the most affected are young children.
In conclusion, the media has contributed to currently sex stereotypes, whereby it gives men superiority over women. This is because the media has structured itself in a way that it differentiates roles played by women and men on society values, which are either traditional or modern. In addition, due to many media influences on individuals, more so on children it is important for individuals to learn to separate fantasies from the reality of things. It is important for all individuals to know stereotypical perfection is a concept, which in most cases never exists, hence important to understand effects of such influences on personality and character development.
Ackley, Katherine. Perspectives on contemporary issues: readings across disciplines. 5th ed. Kentucky: Wadsworth Publishing, 2008. Print.
Al_Ghafari, Iman. Gender roles in literature and the media. Fw.magazine, 2007. Web.
Chandler, Daniel. Television and gender roles. 2009. Web.
Gunter, Barrie. Television and sex role stereotyping. London: Libbey, John & Company, 1986. Print.
McConnell, Marla. Media and gender stereotyping. Serendip, 2008. Web.
Media awareness network. Stereotyping in movies. 2009. Web.
Natalie, Roy. Sex in the media: obstacle to equal relationships. Government of Quebec. 2008. Web.
Orlarte W. Silvia. “Changing gender stereotyped behavior: role of therapists’. personal exposure”. Journal of the American academy of psychoanalysis and dynamic psychiatry 13 (1985): 259-267. Print.