In resent years in education, family life and in the work place, society has become much less sexist. Are these changes in society shown in today’s media? Sociological research in the media has shown that gender stereotypes and sexist images still continue to be shown regularly in today’s media.
In films and television programs research has shown that women are shown in a more narrow range of carers and roles in their lives. Where as men are shown in a variety of carers, women are more likely to be shown as the ‘house wife’ Another stereotypical role for women involves ‘romance’ and ‘sex’. (Tuchman, 1978). When women are seen in an important carer they still are not as well paid or well looked after as a man in the exact same carer.
Ferguson’s content analysis of women’s magazines (1970s, 1980s) showed that a ‘cult of femininity’ existed, with women’s lives being successful in marriage and looking good. The focuses of makeup, fashion, relationships and appearance is still high even though there has been change from this research from teenage girl magazine such as Cosmo Girl and women’s magazines such as Take a break.
Women also has to take care of their physical appearance to get a good carer like TV presenting or a main role in a film etc.
In films, TV, magazines and adverts young women usually appear due to their looks and beauty, providing ‘erotic pleasure’ for the male audience (Mulvey, 1975). This isn’t true of men who are still seen as ‘physically attractive’ much later in life and therefore continue to be seen on TV as presenters and stars in films.
In the media the ‘perfect’ female body is often shown, putting pressure on women to improve their looks through constant diets or cosmetic surgery and slimming to achieve the often impossible shape. This is a cause of a lot of teenage girls to gain eating disorders and even anorexia, who are desperate to achieve a similar shape to those seen in so many types of different media.
Although women are regularly in the media for their sex appeal and glamour, they can be ‘invisible’ in some areas of social life. For example a sport on TV and in national newspapers usually ignores females, giving out very little information on their achievements. This is an example of the sexism often found in the media, showing that only males have sporting talent.