Gender Roles And Media Portrayals - Research Paper Example

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The paper "Gender Roles And Media Portrayals" focuses on the comparison of television's portrayal of gender roles and stereotypes in shows based in present day and shows based in the 1970s. The writer suggests that there is a significant change in gender roles in television today…
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Gender Roles And Media Portrayals
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Gender Roles and Media Portrayals Affiliation Introduction The current society is undergoing massive transformation courtesy of the influence of television. In essence, television plays a significant role when it comes to creating social norms. The media is also a major player in creating the identity of the males and females in the society (Browne & Browne, 2001). For example, the show Mad Men provides an explicit characterization of the society. In essence, it provides a glimpse into the societal expectations of the masculinity, social views of feminism, and the role of identity when it comes to cultural imperialism. On the other hand, Modern Family is a television series that gives a glimpse of the changes in ideology and cultural jamming that is taking place in the present family. In essence, the television continues to influence the societal transformation through fostering progression of gender roles that took place in the past half century and today.
During the 1970s, most television shows found it appealing or valid to incline women and girls in the home. In response to the societal trends, these shows placed women in the home. Women in this case were to play the role of taking care of the family (Browne & Browne, 2001). On the other hand, men took the roles of providers. In this case, men’s responsibilities took the direction of generating income and providing resources for the entire family. Today, much has changed, however, some telecasts like Mad Men still have an inclination of the past.
Television series’ like Mad Men capture women as instruments of men. They give a depiction of women as a weaker sex confined in the homes. According to this depiction, women do not have or are not supposed to have influence when it comes to non-domestic responsibilities (Trier-Bieniek, 2014). A case in point is Betty Draper, who knows her role of the perfect housewife. On the other hand, Peggy Olson presents a character who feels tired of what she is going through in life. Her drive and skill eventually earn her respect among her peers. Joan Harris seen as a sex object by others, she portrays a woman who does not have a voice and is struggling with the feminine responsibility of raising her son.
Men were portrayed as dominant, strong, and independent providers. Most past television programs portrayed them as the dominant gender in the society. Men were free to choose what they felt was working for them at the expense of the opinions from the ladies. For example, in Mad Men, the executives treated their secretaries in the offices as objects rather than human beings. In fact, it is easy to observe how they disposed them after having sexual encounters. In the end, women were not seen as having any value to the men.
It is worth noting that the current television programs tend to bring out the rapid changes in the society. For example, in the television series, Modern Family, the role of the women and men in the family tends to change. Women start assuming significant roles, for example, some of them become breadwinners while men become domesticated by their wives.
Rapid changes captured by these television series indicate how the society is changing. For instance, the concept of gay marriages is brought to the fore. Though it is difficult to accept at first, we eventually see a society that positions itself to accept these changes.
In conclusion, there is nothing as inevitable as change. The television continues to influence the societal transformation through fostering progression of gender roles that took place in the past half century and today. In comparison to the past, there is a significant change in gender roles and various stereotypes in television today (Trier-Bieniek, 2014). In order to achieve stability in terms of these changes, it is important for the television industry to develop programs that inculcate meaningful social values.
Browne, R. B., & Browne, P. (2001). The Guide to United States Popular Culture. Ohio: Popular Press.
Trier-Bieniek, A. (2014). Gender & Pop Culture: A Text-Reader. New York: Springer Science & Business Media. Read More
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