The stereotyping of men and women is so apparent but at the same time society is so blind to it. In society parents teach their children gender roles at a very early age. Gender roles refers to the attitudes, behavior, and activities that are socially defined as appropriate for each sex learned through the socialization process. Males are traditionally expected to show aggressiveness and toughness, and females are expected to be passive and nurturing. For example, little girls play with baby dolls and play “house” and little boys play with toy guns and play “cops and robbers.”
Mass media are powerful factors that influence society’s beliefs, attitudes, and the values they have of themselves and others as well as the world. If a male is seen in media doing “feminine” things, such as shopping or cleaning he is seen as weak, and women who are seen doing “masculine” things such as car repair and management positions she is seen as hard and cruel. Even though media still pretends that men and women in society are equal, it isn’t the case. Women are still seen as homemakers and men are still seen as professional, successful and independent.
After watching an hour of television, several commercials and some programs, women are seen in makeup and all personal hygiene commercials, even male products feature women. The message here is that if a male shave with our products lots of women will want to kiss him. Women are seen in all cleaning, cooking and child care product commercials. Looking good, cleaning the house, cooking the food and changing babies are all only for the woman to worry about. Men are in most of the commercials about financial matters – Business matters, debt consolidating, mortgages and car commercials. Major purchases, business relations and financial problems are to be handled by men.
Why are women so faded in industry and business? Clearly it is because of the double standard that society holds women to. Females are forced to adopt the “masculine” administration practices of proficiency and boldness. However, women who do this have been rated as less proficient and sufficient. Studies have demonstrated that women who exhibit these qualities are discriminated against. These negative reactions are more specifically those of males because they feel intimidated by it. The effect of this extra stress is so extreme that women are held out of nearly all corporate management positions (Fox). So, a woman must change her personality to one more feminine and submissive in order to become more profitable and desirable in the corporate job market. This is a result of the distinctions between genders created by society.
Another example of gender stereotyping is sports coverage. Woman who participate in sports, especially sports that are considered inappropriate for women, are often portrayed in a negative way. Women athletes are almost invisible and never covered on television. While male athletes have article after article, magazine covers, sports shows are seen as heroes, larger than life people. Even through organizations like the WNBA, professional women’s sports is almost never heard of until the Olympics comes around, very little people are aware there is a women’s U.S baseball team.
The consequences of media depictions of women could produce low self-esteem and self worth. Women are more often portrayed as sexual objects than people. This can have very powerful effect on women. All of the make up and weight loss ads in magazines are very intimidating to women. The pressures to succeed and look good doing it is greater than ever.
Women are not the only one’s feeling this pressure, however. Men’s magazines are filled with men with tan perfect bodies with beautiful girls all around them. The articles inside are all about succeeding at work and how to get ahead, also how to achieve a perfect body and pick up a beautiful woman. More and more men are developing eating disorders and hyper-gymnasia to get the results.
In today’s mass-mediated consumer society, popular culture, like television, play an increasingly important role in the interpretation of reality and the upholding of social ladder. Consciously and unconsciously, people rely on television imagery to interpret and understand their everyday lives. Even when people try to ignore television commercials, they make available a set of cognitive stereotypes that are called into play during everyday social interaction. This suggests that television commercials do more than offer people images of selves defined through the consumption of products. In addition, they shape images of others and sustain group boundaries that come to be taken for granted. Feelings of entitlement, subtle forms of prejudice, are reproduced in and through commercial television imagery.