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Representations of Gender In The Media
GAUNTLETT (2008) ­ Notes evidences of a shift from the 1990s onwards away from more
traditional gender roles across a range of media products.
a) Using the famous sitcom Friends, Gauntlett contends that the characters were equal but
different, with males and females adopting more modern characteristics that move beyond
traditional roles.
b) He believes that representations of gender on television have `turned a corner', it is
suggested that trends towards equality may have reached a plateau as evidence shows that
the ratio of men to women on television has hardly changed in a decade.
c) Leading roles in dramas still tend to be played by men, many television series centre on
male characteristics, and discussion about politics continue to be dominated by men.
d) His analysis of gender representations in films since the 1990s shows men and women as
having similar skills and talents to each other. Films like Spiderman, Fantastic Four, Knocked
Up as examples of modern films that present a challenge to conventional masculinity by
showing more traditional masculine behaviour to be fundamentally flawed. Females in
these films are more assertive.
e) However, he notes that men still tend to take the leading roles, act as heroes to save
women, and are more likely than women to be lead characters as they get older. For
example ­ Bruce Willis and Harrison Ford.…read more

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Representations of Gender In The Media
Theories Explanations: Feminism
· Feminists are united in opposing patriarchy but the various strands within feminism offers
different overviews on gender inequalities, including those that pertain to representations in
the media.
Liberal Stereotypes and gender socialization are seen to be the reason for
Feminists the inequality of power between men and women.
Mass media is responsible for the continuation of these prejudices
Suggests that, and stereotypes through the representations of femininity it creates
by removing and reinforces.
images and More optimistic about the possibility of change and would content
replacing them that there is evidence of greater equality in media representations of
with positive gender.
images of
women, They argue that increasing numbers of women are employed as
socialisation media professionals and this contributes to changes in the way gender
can be changes representations are conceived and produced.
and power
differences in They point to the wider variety roles being played by women in film
society and television, including more dominant characters like Buffy the
ultimately Vampire, the female lead, Ripley, in the Alien films and Ugly Betty.…read more

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Radical Argue that male domination means that the media continue to
Feminists produce those images of women which men desire. Media content
reflects the nature of media organisations and patriarchal society in
general. Media messages are the powerful talking to the less powerful:
Men set Men talking to women.
agenda Issues concerning women such as discrimination at work, education
and the and sexual harassment are therefore frequently ignored or trivialized.
media While some believe this is due to conscious manipulation by males , to
reflect a others it is the result of patriarchal cultural hegemony.
stream' Female oppression and subordination are the direct result of a
perspecti male-dominated social system. Such a patriarchal society built on
ve men's desire to control women ideologically and in the extreme, through
violence and force.
must be Radical feminists advocate use of media, by feminists, as a tool
free of against patriarchy: to set up alternative media which can be used to
men, recruit women to the feminist case.
inequality See little change in gender representations in the media. Argue that
will always Traditional stereotypes are present in adverts and media still degrade
continue. women by presenting them as sex objects for men.…read more

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Theories Explanations: Feminism
Weakness Of Attempted to combine accounts of gender discrimination in
Marxists Feminists society with those of close. All such forms of ideological control
are ultimately seen to benefit capitalism.
Criticised for saying The mass media is seen to be a key institution in the process
too little about of cultural reproduction ­ of continuing the capitalist and
women oppression by patriarchal systems through hegemony.
men. When taking
about women's Like liberal and radical feminists they wish to reform the
oppression, they existing media, while in the meantime creating socialist media
argue that capital is of their own.
the primary oppressor
of women as workers Link media representations of gender with both capitalism and
and that men are the patriarchy. According to Marxist feminists, it is in the interests
secondary oppressors of these two or dual systems of power to maintain gender
of women. inequalities.
The media function as a capitalist industry dominated by
male owners and male media professionals, nothing much
will change until both systems have been overthrown.
Marxist feminists see the media as reinforcing hegemonic
gender roles by promoting an ideology of femininity and…read more

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Representations of Gender In The Media
Liberal Feminists: See differences between sex and gender
LAURA Argues that representation of female bodies in films has contributed
MULVEY to the patriarchal stereotype the media uses when displaying what is
(1975) defined as `femininity' in contemporary society.
She believes that the cinema industry operates from an
overwhelmingly male viewpoint or `male gaze'.
This argument suggests that women in general in the cinema take on
passive and subservient roles, and are often treated as sex objects.
For example Female bodies are depicted as playthings for the male audiences.
Women in many actions films like James Bond films are often
portrayed as a sex symbol and as victims rescued by Bond.
Criticism Ignores both how women may subvert or negotiate the male gaze and
how popular culture offers opportunities for women to gaze at both
men and women as well.
Such a deterministic approach has also been criticised for
reducing all power relations to gender, and thus neglecting other
aspects of power which affect patriarchal relations such as class, race,
disability and sexuality and which other feminists have sought to
integrate into their frameworks of analysis.…read more

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Representations of Gender In The Media
Liberal Feminists
Meehan (1983) `The Bitch, The Witch and The Matriarch'
Analysed the She suggested that representations on television cast `good'
stereotypes into women as submissive, sensitive and domesticated while `bad'
which women are women are rebellious, independent and selfish.
commonly cast on Common stereotypes:
US television. - Good Wife: domestic, attractive, Home-centred.
- The Bitch: Sneak, Cheat, Manipulative
- The Witch: Extra Power but subordinated to men
- The Matriarch: Authority of family role, older, de-sexed.
TUCHMAN (1978) Women are under-represented in fictional life- they are
symbolically annihilated.
This concept refers to the fact that women appear far less
often than men on the small screen and when they do their roles
are very limited and/or negative. She claims that the media
frequently condemn or trivialise women's activities and
Moreover, Television stresses that women have important
roles to play as mothers and `housewives'. Tuchman says `Girls
exposed to "television women" may hope to be homemakers…read more

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