Topic 5 - Traditional media representations of femininity

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  • Created by: Ben_95
  • Created on: 23-05-14 13:53

Limited roles

FEMINISTS argue that women are represented in a narrow range of social roles by various types of media, whilst men are performing a wide range of both social and occupational roles.

Tunstall (1987) - the presentation of women in the media is biased as it emphasizes women's domestic, sexual, consumer and marital activities to the exclusion of all else.

Working women are often portrayed as:

1. unfulfilled, unattractive, unstable.

2. working mothers are guilty of emotional neglect of their children.

Symbolic annihilation

Tuchman et al. (1978):

Symbolic annihilation = the way in which women's achievements are often not reported, or are condemed or trivialized by the mass media.

Women hardly in the news

Gallagher (1980) - activities of women were rarely seen as newsworthy compared with the activities of men.

GUMG - when women did appear in the news they were 'softer' news stories.

Gill (2007) - newspaper editors feel the need to have 'women's pages' wich focus on women as a special group with emotional needs. (maginalization)

Coverage of women's sport

Duncan and Messner (2005) - commentators (97% of which are men) often use different language to talk about female athletes.

Women in sport are often referred to as 'girls' whereas males are rarely referred to as 'boys'.

The media also subject women in sport to the male gaze.

Male gaze = the camera 'inspecting' women in a sexual way on TV and films.

Ideological ideas

The most popular type of media that women maily access is women's magazines. FEMINISTS believe that they strongly encourage women to conform to ideological patriarchal ideals that confirm their subordinate position compared with men.

A cult of femininity?

Cult of femininity = the promotion of a traditional ideal where excellence is achieved through caring…


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