The image of women presented in media

Much of the attention of sociologists notably Jean Kilbourne, Sut Jhally and Erving Goffman has focussed on ways in which women are shown in subordinate, subservient and male pleasing roles, and on how media representation reflects and reinforces sexism in society.

The image of women presented in media

Print Building egalitarian societies is one of the priorities of modern democratic states. Mass media play a unique and important role in the shaping of a society where men and women enjoy equal rights.

This is reached through several means, including psychological, social, economic, philosophical, awareness of human rights, political and so on.

The role of media is important for being successful in all the mentioned spheres. The media can promote and speed up the reforms in progress, or, on the contrary, it can hamper their implementation. A number of international conferences and conventions have voiced and publicized the need to break public stereotypes through change in the media policy.

Mass media, however, continue to reproduce discriminatory stereotypes about women and portray them in sexist ways. As a rule, women are portrayed in a narrow range of characters in mass media.

If we were to divide mass media into two categories, such as fictional and news-reporting, then in the former, women are often associated with the household or sex-objects, and in the latter category, they lack roles. Only in a limited number of news programs do women appear as main actors or experts.

One of the reasons for this situation is the smaller number of women in these spheres, but even the existing number of women are underrepresented compared to their male counterparts. In advertising and magazines, women are usually portrayed as young, slim and with beauty that meets the accepted standards.

Women with this kind of appearance are often associated with sex objects. Why do social scientists attribute importance to study of images and stereotypes of women in media? Femininity, as well as masculinity, are not biological, but rather, cultural constructs. Representations and manifestations of femininity differ across cultures, time and societies.

Femininity is culturally and socially constructed by the family, education, the public, and to a larger extent, the media. In the initial stage of its history, media were managed exclusively by men. In other words, men were creating media images of men and women they wished to see in reality. Media images of women have become a subject of criticism in Feminist Media Studies since s, when Betty Friedan in her book entitled The Feminine Mystique revealed and criticized the image of an ideal woman in post-war America.

Friedan calls this image "the happy housewife heroine. All kind of entertainment programs portray women in a dual image. On one hand, they are decorative objects.

Yet, at the same time, they are passive individuals in the household and in marriage who are dependent on men for financial, emotional and physical support.

When the TV screen or a commercial poster displays only slender long legs, prominent breasts or thighs, it is difficult to perceive that body holistically and as possessing personality. In addition, the portrayed female characters are largely influenced by the beauty myth.

They have flawless skin, slender stature and embody all components of beauty as perceived in society. As a result of globalization this myth is increasingly generalized across cultures and societies.

The standards of beauty as portrayed in media, however, are impossible to achieve, since the models have been transformed into these images through a number of technical means.

In The International Women's Media Foundation carried out a study of world news agencies and corporations to determine the status of women in the news media.

This first large-scale study illustrated that in all areas of media women were still facing problems in achieving equality.

The image of women presented in media

The survey conducted in 59 countries, revealed that women make up only Interestingly, Uganda and Russia are among the top countries where men and women almost equally appear in leading positions.

Unfortunately, this has not changed the images of women in media. Not only should women be represented in top management and have major impact on the decision-making process, but they should also undergo professional training. Otherwise, the female journalists and media executives, who have been educated with the media rules of patriarchal system, also often reproduces the sexist images of women.

With this in mind, a number of international organizations have concluded conventions and treaties with states through which they support the training of media employees by giving them the necessary tools and know-how to develop gender-sensitive policies.

Despite the tremendous change that has taken place in the sphere of media thanks to feminist criticism, the contemporary media are nowhere close to the standards they claim.Baby momma. Black Barbie. Gold-digger. Unhealthy fat black woman. They are stereotypes that a research firm partnered with Essence Magazine uncovered in a survey of black women to be released Thursday at the magazine’s upfront presentation.

Thirty of the women surveyed kept visual diaries for 1 1/2 weeks, logging the media images they saw. The Women’s Media Center’s annual report is out, and the status of women in news and entertainment is as bleak as ever.

Little progress has been made in most areas, and there are some places. Cutler is reading studies about the body image problem among women in the U.S. as well as evaluations of media literacy programs. She recommends greater sensitivity to the concerns of non-white, non-upper-class groups in order to increase the effectiveness of media literacy programs.

Men and women are typically stereotyped and portrayed differently by the media. Evaluate ways in which negative consequences of this could be reduced. In the media images she is often transformed into a doll, a puppet or a mask, a thing rather than a human being.

2. DISMEMBERMENT. Women are often presented in a dehumanized way in mass media images, their humanity sacrificed to display the artificial ideal. Today (8 March) marks International Women’s Day, giving people a chance to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

Marketing Week is taking this opportunity to look at two different advertising mediums and explore how the portrayal of women has evolved over the years.

- The Washington Post