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Media and its Influence on Gender

Introduction

The role of media in the creation of social norms is inevitable. In essence, the media act as a platform to propagate a distinct view regarding the position of men and women in the society. It is fundamental to note that the existence of gender role is an issue that emanates from societal perspectives. Man and woman are distinct sexes that have been wired to operate differently. Despite their differences, they continually seek to coexist in a society that grants them equal opportunities. However, what happens in the public arena is a result of preconceived notions. Adverts, films, television form crucial segments of the tools that enhance these ideologies. In essence, many viewers acknowledge the fact the media has been significant in perpetuating their view regarding gender roles. Media, therefore, reflects gender-based roles that saturate the immediate context of the society. The men emanate as bold individuals with voice to air out their thoughts. In fact, in most platforms they are the voice of reasoning. On the other hand, women form the basis of cultural oppression. In fact, they have been used as tools for sexual objectification. My interest in the area regards the need to explore how the media negatively portrays gender roles. The following paper exposes the destructive role of media in perpetuating the unrealistic and stereotypical views concerning gender roles.

Literature Review

Several researches have been done with regard to the subject of media and its influence in gender roles. According to Galdi, Anne& Mara, media remains a significant segment that  perpetuates the sexual harassment of women. In other words, it is the tool that enhances the oppression of ladies within the society. They further note its impacts the gender role norms. The view is according to a study that they did perform on women. They investigated the hypothesis that aimed at establishing the assumption that exposure to television and how it portrays women as sexual objects has the likelihood to predispose women to violence from the society. They compared their findings with that of the male population that had similar exposure to TV clips. Result did indicate that men who have exposure to objectified TV develop the tendency to beat women. On the other hand, such women developed conformation to the masculine gender. Conclusively, the study did affirm that media content is vital in propagating harassment as part of social norms. The findings emphasize the fact what the media displays dictates the community perception regarding the socialization. 

 
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In a further research Chartschlaa explores the external impact of children socialization on gender roles. The author affirms the fact that the socialization of gender roles experiences reinforcement through the media, family, and the education system. However, most children find accessibility to media owing to the presence of television in most homes. They study did operate on the hypothesis that family has an influential position in defining one’s perception according to gender. However, the result showed that the media was at the forefront in shaping people’s view. Children, from the onset of their lives learn the differences that exist between their genders. However, the media stabilizes the view. The boys develop a sense of superiority to the females. It is because the media portray them as bold and aggressive people who deserve the respect from all and sundry. On the other hand, women occur as entities of beauty and sex. In fact, most adverts in media portray them as weak figures who are after their beauty. The findings reveal the stereotypic perception that children develop concerning the females and male duties in the society. Boys, from a tender age, view the girls as weaker beings who serve as models. They have the mandate to cook, clean. Moreover, they are the desire of the men. In other words, they form the appeal to the male counterpart. One admits the fact that the stereotype that defines gender role remains intricate and multifaceted in nature. Consequently, he seeks for more research in the area to highlight the subject matter of gender roles. It is because one continues to questions if all form of media are destructive as portrayed by the findings. For instance, would the impact for television networks be the same as that for Radio. The aspect creates a gap that needs a study. 

Rudy, Popova& Daniel explore the context of current analyses of gender roles. In essence, the authors provide a quantitative content perspective of gender roles that should characterize both aspects. They trace the historical position to the current trend in the world. They further explore the objective that regards factors that characterize gender roles. Specifically, they seek to detect the effect of media producers on the content. The analysis compares the need to affirm the feminist voice and comparison of media effect on gender roles in real life situation. Evidently, media content play a central in defining the masculine and feminine factors of existence. One crucial aspect is the fact that it defines the extent of self-esteem that an individual develops. In other words, media can be both progressive and retrogressive. The authors are further keen to note that media content producers recognize the role that women do appear a lot in media as a strategy to an advert. In essence, they form the attractive segment of advertisement. Consequently, many people use the female figure in putting up any form of an advert. In fact, they cite the fact that most marketing agencies agree that the use of women in advertising has great impact on the market audience. However, they are keen to note that the increasing use of the female profile influences the societal perception. It is vital for the producers to note that they hold the key to enhance quality in the society. In other words, they can portray behavioral activities in advert that makes people reconsider the fact that both man and woman can take part in different jobs. On the other hand, they can highlight images that stir up criticism among the feminists. Consequently, creating a balance is essential.

Espinosa further exemplifies the issue in her study regarding the gender roles in Media and the need to debunk society’s stereotypes. She notes that there has been a continuous use of gender stereotyping in media. The purpose is to perpetuate character traits and humor. However, TV producers fail to recognize that increase portrayal of stereotypes is harmful. The viewers get to internalize the messages. She uses the feminist theory to analyze the variation of gender roles in the media. She notes that the Media has been a source of societal pressure for the young people. They have a defined way they want to look. Moreover, they define their accomplishment according to the media definition of success. However, the media should act as a source of assisting the young people to grow. 

Bluemferld further examines the media’s socialization of gender roles. He seeks to answer the question whether media create a balanced perspective regarding the various gender roles. He notes the gender roles are part of societal values that are instigated by the society. Nevertheless, the media has been fundamental in creating a trend. According to him, gender roles are a group of socially defined activities and behaviors that are assigned to individuals from the time of birth. He, however, notes the variations that occur from one culture to another. Commercial advert has been at the forefront to propagate the superiority of man. He notes that many adverts portray men as successful individuals. They emanate as people living in comfort at the expense of women who seem to fulfill their desire. The media also reveal that the woman is the sole attraction of the man. The articles reveal the dynamics that characterize gender roles within the society. It is fundamental to admit that the media has been influential in influencing the view of people. The precise aspects of adverts remain a crucial segment of the media that requires exploration. Consequently, the study seeks to explore the gap and come with valuable findings.

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Research

The research focuses on various advertisements that occur in four distinct magazines. The first magazine is the Sayidati paper. It is a weekly magazine that is published in Dubai and its environs. I chose it because it is specifically a magazine on women. I desire to explore how the various ads in women-related areas occur. I would like to see the frequency of the males in the paper. The second magazine is Al-Arabi that focuses on culture, arts and politics in Dubai. I chose it because it has a wide scope of view. In essence, it goes further in handling economic issues in UAE. Consequently, there is likelihood of a variety of adverts. Heyyi magazine is another crucial paper. It focuses on business and is published weekly. I chose it because of its audience that involves several working class people. The final magazine that I will utilize is the Lifestyle magazine that occurs in South Africa. It is a health special paper that discusses the various aspect of health. I chose it because it is found in a different region. The following study focuses of the four newspapers. It analyzes the adverts in each f the paper. Consequently, there are three distinct means of classification. The first one is traditional. According to the dimension, all adverts that portray women taking part in jobs that we consider normal in the society. These may include cooking, cleaning, washing among others. The next dimension is nontraditional. In essence, it considers adverts that have men and women do activities that one thinks is not traditional. For example, if one notes a man cooking or sweeping the house. It is not a traditional orientation. The last method of classification regards gender neutrality. The ads will focus on activities that do note exhibit any gender message.

Sayidat Paper

Adverts

Numbers

Featuring Men

3

Featuring women

7

Al-Arabi

Adverts

Numbers

Featuring Men

2

Featuring Women

9

Heyyi

Advert

Numbers

Featuring Men

0

Featuring Women

7

Lifestyle

Advert

Numbers

Featuring Men

6

Featuring Women

8

 

Total

14

Sayadati Coding

Advert

Coding

#1

Traditional

#2

Non-traditional

#3

Non-traditional

#4

Gender Neutral

#5

Non-traditional

#6

Gender Neutral

#7

Non-traditional

#8

Non-traditional

#9

Traditional

#10

Gender Neutral

Al-Rabi Coding

Advert

Coding

#1

Non-traditional

#2

Non-traditional

#3

Non-traditional

#4

Traditional

#5

Gender Neutral

#6

Traditional

#7

Non-traditional

#8

Non-traditional

#9

Non-traditional

#10

Traditional

#11

Gender Neutral

Heyyi Coding

Advert

Coding

#1

Non-traditional

#2

Traditional

#3

Traditional

#4

Gender Neutral

#5

Non-traditional

#6

Non-traditional

#7

Non-traditional

Al-Rabi Coding

Advert

Coding

#1

Traditional

#2

Gender Neutral

#3

Traditional

#4

Non-traditional

#5

Traditional

#6

Non-traditional

#7

Non-traditional

#8

Non-traditional

#9

Non-traditional

#10

Non-traditional

#11

Gender Neutral

#12

Gender Neutral

#13

Traditional

#14

Non-traditional

According to the results, there is a distinct evident of variation concerning the number of adverts that are aimed at men and women. First, it is apparent that women form a crucial segment of the advert. In fact, the ads that utilize their feature are 77% compared to men 23%. However, in most cases men are the target audience. In other adverts portray nontraditional roles. It forms 62% of the dimensions. It is high compared to 30% of traditional role and 8% of gender neutrality. In other words, they are not aligned towards the definition position of the norms of the society. Many women appear to cook in adverts that regard cooking oil and other products. They are well dressed like chefs. Moreover, they seem to enjoy the activity. However, traditional adverts are also present. They occur, for example, in the areas that regard sanitation. For instance, women are used in advertising washing powdered. It is because they are the target audience. Consequently, they seek to convince the public regarding the authenticity of the use of a particular washing soap. On the other hand, man emanates in color products. For instance, adverts that regard building or painting are characterized by the male counterpart. It is because these are the traditional roles of men and women n the UAE. The smallest numbers belong to the gender neutral. Such advert considers business. For example, insurance companies do give any sexual orientation. In fact, both men and women are present in their advert. It is because they desire to attract a wide scope of market that is free of gender bias. Moreover, both the males and the females consider insurance cover as critical component of life.

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Discussion

The comparison of the figures of the results indicates the role of media in influencing gender roles. There is a societal definition of gender roles. These are the defined activities that the community expects from women and men. In the United Arabs Emirates, the men have been geared towards masculine functions such as building and painting. On the other hand, the women emanate as home-makers. Nevertheless, one must appreciate the role of westernization that continues to evolve the different parts of the world. Consequently, media has been at the forefront in embracing western culture. It accounts for the high number of non traditional role that is present in most of the newspaper. It is because according to western culture, men can form better and effective cooks than women. Moreover, the females can work well in the corporate world as compared to men. In other words, there is no clear cut distinction of the role of the men and the women. The increase is same-sex marriages also facilitate the increase in non-traditional adverts. However, one important factor that can go unmentioned is how the media sexually objectifies women. In essence, this is the portrayal of women as an object of sexual pleasure. The act is apparent in many adverts. For instance, women emanate to dress in provocative clothes that attract the men. Moreover, most o the adverts are aimed at the men. For example, an advert that focuses on cologne portrays a sexy lady who seems to be infatuated by a man who uses the cologne. Such women have a lean physique with distinct shapes that is known to models. While people may appreciate the advert, the trend signifies the reality concerning the silent intimidation that continues concerning women. It is fundamental to note that the adverts make young children grow with a perspective that their role in life is to fulfill the sexual desire of the men. Consequently, they fail to seek their niche in life. 

Conclusion

The subject of the media influence on gender roles is significant. Many literature materials indicate the findings concerning the issue. In the UAE several newspaper magazines have been at the forefront in perpetuating sexual objectification and non traditional roles between the man and the woman. Westernization infiltrates the country through viewers who use the media. Moreover, the society seems to tolerate the changes in gender roles. There are no defined duties for a woman or a man. In fact, the aspect of gender equality is evident in the adverts.

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