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JlMC 477 Men and Media

Images of men in media---stereotypes

Joel Geske

on 23 March 2018

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Transcript of JlMC 477 Men and Media

On a sheet of paper:
Jot down a few notes.
What role is he playing?
Describe his temperament...
Think of a man on TV.
Jot down a few notes about her.
What role is she playing?
Describe her temperament...
Think of a woman on TV.
Jot down...what role is he playing?
Describe his temperament...
Think of a gay man on TV.
Compare the different roles you've written down.
Defining Men:
Families, friends, teachers and community leaders all play a role in helping boys define what it means to be a man.

Mainstream media representations also play a role in reinforcing ideas about what it means to be a "real" man in our society.
In most media portrayals, male characters are rewarded for self-control and the control of others, aggression and violence, financial independence and physical desirability.
Number One
TV Rankings

Children Now, a California-based organization that examines the impact of
media on children and youth,
released a study entitled
"Boys to Men: Media Messages
About Masculinity." The report argues
that the media’s portrayal of men tends
to reinforce men’s social dominance.

Note masculine and feminine roles in this clip ...
one of the highest grossing film of all time to date.
Movie: "Avengers," 2012
The majority of male characters in media are heterosexual

Male characters are more often associated with the public sphere of work, rather than the private sphere of the home, and issues and problems related to work are more significant than personal issues
Non-white male characters are more likely to experience personal problems and are more likely to use physical aggression or violence to solve those problems.

Children may conclude that these dominant trends in the media’s portrayal of men reinforce and support social attitudes that link masculinity to power, dominance and control.
Male characters are mostly shown in the workplace, rarely at home

More than one-third of boys (aged 10-17) had never seen a man on TV doing domestic chores
Some of the study’s main observations:
On television, most men and boys usually keep their attention focused mostly just on women and girls

Many males on TV are violent and angry

Men are generally leaders and problem-solvers
Males are funny, confident, successful and athletic

It’s rare to see men or boys crying or otherwise showing vulnerability

Male characters on TV could rarely be described as "sensitive”
The Joker is a popular character with boys, perhaps because laughter is part of their own "mask of masculinity." A potential negative consequence of this stereotype is the assumption that boys and men should not be serious or emotional. However, researchers have also argued that humorous roles can be used to expand definitions of masculinity.
The Jock is always willing to "compromise his own long-term health; he must fight other men when necessary; he must avoid being soft; and he must be aggressive." By demonstrating his power and strength, the jock wins the approval of other men and the adoration of women.
The Strong Silent Type focuses on "being in charge, acting decisively, containing emotion and succeeding with women." This stereotype reinforces the assumption that men and boys should always be in control and that talking about one’s feelings is a sign of weakness.
The Big Shot is defined by his professional status. He is the "epitome of success, embodying the characteristics and acquiring the possessions that society deems valuable." This stereotype suggests that a real man must be economically powerful and socially successful.
The Action Hero is "strong, but not necessarily silent. He is often angry. Above all, he is aggressive in the extreme and, increasingly over the past several decades, he engages in violent behavior.”
The Buffoon commonly appears as a bungling father figure in TV ads and sitcoms. Usually well-intentioned and light-hearted, these characters range from slightly inept to completely hopeless when it comes to parenting their children or dealing with domestic (or workplace) issues. See the news report below (sorry for the commercial at the intro).
But of course no matter who the man, no matter how ordinary... Axe will transform him...
Author and academic Susan Bordo (University of Kentucky) has also analyzed gender in advertising and agrees that men are usually portrayed as virile, muscular and powerful. Their powerful bodies dominate space in the ads. For women, the focus is on slenderness, dieting and attaining a feminine ideal. Women are presented as not just thin, but also weak and vulnerable.
Critics suggest that just as traditional advertising has for decades sexually objectified women and their bodies, today’s marketing campaigns are objectifying men in the same way. A study by the University of Wisconsin suggests that this new focus on fit and muscled male bodies is causing men the same anxiety and personal insecurity that women have felt for decades.
Did you know that even though eating disorders like anorexia are portrayed as female-dominated, they affect men as well?
Men account for 10 to 15 percent of all cases of anorexia or bulimia, according to a report in the American Journal of Psychiatry. Gay men make up a high number of those cases: A 2002 International Journal of Eating Disorders report found that 20 percent of gay men are anorexic and 14 percent suffer from the related eating disorder, bulimia.
Eating disorder specialist Carolyn Costin said that gay athletes in particular are at an increased risk of developing the condition. "People with anorexia are very rejection-sensitive, and look at the rejection that can come in this society from being gay," she said. "Not winning the gold medal, not coming in first, can be a kind of rejection, too."
How many women were shown and how many men? I count two (one panicking and one superhero) women. The men are all army, police, armed, superheroes and "genius, billionaire playboys."
Male Privelege
In our society, men (and white men in particular) have "privilege". Just by being born male they enjoy freedoms....and take them for granted...that women don't experience. As we have seen in the media, male characters dominate films, news programs, and other media venues. In this interesting clip we hear from transgender men (persons born biologically female but they have transitioned.) They have experienced being both feminine and masculine and talk about privilege.

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