Media Representations of Gender

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Representations of Gender

Traditional representations of feminity

Tunstall: Representations of women in the media are biased. They emphasise womens' domestic, sexual, marital and consumer activities to the exclusion of all else.

Tuchman: Women in the media are symbollically annihilated in that their achievements are often not reported or trivialised/condemned. They are presented as less important when in comparison to their sex appeal. Ex. Scarlett Johanson's achievement in film roles is often ignored in favour of questions about wardrobe.

Gill: Female issues are often marginalised by newspapers - editors see the need for 'women's pages', which focus on women as a special group with special (and often emotional needs).

Women's sport

Duncan and Messer: Commentators use different language when talking about female athletes. Men are described as 'big', 'brilliant' and 'strong', while women are labelled as 'weary', 'fatigued' and 'vulnerable'. Women are more likely to be called only by their first names, while men are more likely to be called only by their last names. Women are also more likely to be reffered to as 'girls', whereas men are rarely called 'boys'.

Winship: Argued that women's magazines generally play a supportive role in women's lives. They present a broader range of opinons and tackle problems often ignored by mainstream media.

Sexual objectification of women

Wolf: Suggests that images of women, especially in print media and advertising, present a particualar 'beauty ideal', through which they transmit the strong ideological message that women should treat their bodies as projects in constant need of improvement.

Cumberbatch: found that 'being attractive' fitted the description of 2/3 of women in TV adverts, and only 1/4 of men.

Mulvey: described the way in which women were treated as sex


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