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Gender Socialization and the Mass Media

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Ariana Rose

on 20 February 2013

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Transcript of Gender Socialization and the Mass Media

Gender Socialization and the Mass Media What is Mass media? The term mass media refers to a medium of communication that is designed to reach the mass of the people. Forms of Mass Media? Mass media can come in many forms. These forms can be subdivided into two groups:
Print media: This includes newspapers, magazines, books etc.
Electronic Media: This includes radio, television, the internet, video games, etc. Now what does this have to do with gender socialization? Gender socialization is the process by which individuals are taught to behave as acceptable males and females in society. Although people are biologically male or female, their behavior is either feminine or masculine. These differences in behavior are culturally created. The mass media plays a major role in the process of gender socialization because it bombards individuals with ideas and images of what men and women are supposed to be. Print Media and Gender Socialization Magazines Obvious examples of gender socialization can be found in magazines. Magazines that are targeted at women are markedly different than those that seek a male audience. Lets take a look.... Women's Magazines Men's Magazines While women's magazines focus on looking pretty and staying skinny and finding better ways to connect with your man, men's magazines focus on sports, news, ambition, and staying in shape. Newspaper articles that target men and women are also similarly divided along gender lines. Electronic Media and Gender Socialization Television Television plays a major role in defining gender roles by way of commercials and television shows. Advertisements for an array of products depict men as being strong and masculine while women are portrayed as dependent delicate flowers. Lets take a look... Men's Commercial Women's Commercial While the commercial targeted towards women says that ladies are supposed to do all the cooking and cleaning and child care, the male targeted commercial gives men just one requirement: don't smell like a lady Television shows and movies also play a major role in reinforcing typical gender stereotypes. they constantly remind the public of what a men and women are supposed to be. Men are supposed to be strong and masculine and "superior" in intellect while women are weak and dependent Video games The images portrayed in video games also contribute to the ideas of gender characteristics. Male characters are, in most cases, extremely muscular and skilled in the use of massive assault weapons while female characters are, if not damsels in distress, dressed in revealing clothing. Although female characters may be portrayed as strong and independent, their slutty clothing makes them less respected than male characters. Gender Socialization Studies Body Image Study In an effort to substantiate the media's influence on body image, a study was carried out at the University of Wisconsin Stout. Forty-three undergraduate students voluntarily participated in the study. The control subjects participated by filling out the Body Image State Scales (BISS).
The experimental subjects viewed a 120-second power point presentation showing media images of women followed by completion of the BISS.
The BISS consists of six questions, rated on a linkert type scale that inquires about the subject's feelings regarding their physical appearance at a particular moment in time.
analysis suggested that individuals who viewed the media images of women felt less physically attractive than the individuals who did not view the media presentation. The mass media is constantly barraging women with images that portray what is considered to be the "ideal body." Such standards of beauty are almost completely unattainable for most women; a majority of the models displayed on television and in advertisements are well below what is considered healthy body weight. Mass media's use of such unrealistic models sends an implicit message that in order for a woman to be considered beautiful, she must be unhealthy. Here is another look at how advertisements facilitate the process of gender socialization Having broken traditional gender roles, the men in this commercial over correct their behavior in an effort to reaffirm their masculinity. This commercial portrays women as being the weaker sex by implying that their husbands should have serious concerns when they are out on the road independently. The End With special thanks to: &
Ariana Rose Hannah Moore Katherine Ammon Caity McDonald Liz Jones
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