Pornagraphy In The Media Essay, Research Paper
Pornagraphy in the media
When you look up the word “servant” in Roget s Thesaurus you will discover
that some of the words associated with “servant” are words like menial lady
help, domestic, secretary, maid, waitress, handmaid, Lady s maid, nurse, kitchen,
laundry, dairymaid, Cinderella, slavery, laundress, bed-maker, puppet, and creature. Now, not all of these words refer to women, some refer also to men s roles as waiters or busboys, but most of the words are naturally associated with women s or women s roles.
Stereotyping is something that has been around for a while, and affects all groups. It is no surprise that women are also a target audience for stereotyping. In advertisements women are often portrayed in similar roles and lumped together with the assumption that all women are the same or should be the same. I will talk briefly about some of these roles in which women are portrayed. So many stereotypical women s roles are not as obvious in today s culture, compared to the roles they played during the 50 s and earlier. Yet, that does not mean that stereotypes do not still exist today.
The first role in which women are portrayed is in a domestic or housewife setting. According to a study done by Time in 1992, 50% of the major female characters displayed in ads were mainly set in the home. In these advertisements women are shown performing household tasks relating to the product. Often times the males are the beneficiaries of these products where the women are the ones who use them. Also, the study found that ads that show food being prepared and eaten tend to be represented with women or girls. The impact of this, as the study points out, is that the idea that women cannot be independent, and their place should be in the home.
The second role women are portrayed in is as a sex object. Women in these ads take on an artificial look because they are made to look “perfect.” They are young, tall,
Long-legged, and have perfect skin with no wrinkles or pores. They are masked with makeup and almost always airbrushed to perfection. This places unrealistic images of women in society and makes it impossible for women to achieve this look. Just look at any issue of Vanity Fair or Cosmo and you ll find many examples of these ads.
A third role in which women are portrayed is in the business realm. With the advancements in the women s movement and equal rights, more and more women are entering the workforce. However, many advertisements have not yet picked up on this aspect in women s lives. According to the Time study, they found that the working woman is underrepresented in both print and broadcast advertising. Although women make up 42% of the major characters in advertisements, they represent just 24% of characters with paid occupations. They also found that when women are portrayed in an occupational role, they are most likely to be seen in entertainment/sports or sales/Midlevel business. Only 4% are found in Business Executive positions. When women are portrayed in professional roles they still can not escape the earlier stereotypical roles. Now they most likely portrayed in a “superwomen” image where they can do it all. Along with working a full-time job, she can still be a mom, take care of the kids, do the cleaning, cooking, and satisfy her husband. Advertising, of which much is targeted towards children in toy ads, is littered with sex role stereotypes that many adults have abandoned. It is like an advertising “time- warp”. The article Time Warp in the Toy Store , by Ellen J. Reifler, puts it well stating, “Girls play with the dolls, tot-sized housewares, and make-up that reflect the holy-trinity of child-are, housework, and seduction. Boys play with cars, construction sets, and superheroes; that is, they operate vehicles, erect buildings, and rescue people.” (Reifer, Ellen J., 1997) Instead of exposing our children to tons of gender conditioning “right off the bat”, we should open up their universe and not limit it. Reifler goes on to say that “Life will place limits on our children all too soon. It s our responsibility to expand their world and then find their own individuals places in it.” (Reifler, 2997)
Stereotypical roles of women are directed toward all ages of people in society, via magazines, newspaper ads, television, and now technologies such as the Internet. We are bombarded with evident stereotypical images everywhere, such as women in the acts of cooking, cleaning, and child rearing are not often portrayed in this role or even sharing these responsibilities. The only way to recognize and change these misconceptions in our culture is to redefine our way of thinking about the role men and women should play in today s society and to evaluate the validity and true relevance of those views today. To work toward change is to “catch” ourselves assuming that certain ads are truly portraying “the way things should be” and to adopt a more objective, realistic points of view, and then proceed to put them into play in our daily lives.