Gender And Advertising Essay Research Paper In

Sociological Methodology Essay, Research Paper

???? In this chapter

I aim to gain a through understanding of sociological methods and???????? to look at various methods and their

merits and problems, i.e. quantitative etc. I will also attempt to show the

methods that will be used in study, and asses the reasons for? my choice. It will also be beneficial to

look at possible problems and measures to?

minimise these problemsAt a basic level research falls into two categories,

the positivist and the anti-positivist approach. However it is important to

note that sociologists generally do not use one method but combine both

approaches to obtain rounded results. And that the research must always be

reliable, valid and representative. Positivism is used by structuralists and

was used and developed by Augste Comte. Positivists carry out scientific

methods, it is otherwise known as the philosophy of science, examples of which

are; looking at statistics, or any numerical data. Also included in this type

of research are questionnaires, controlled experiments, structured interviews

etc. Positivist research can give us knowledge of something actually occurring

or existing but it cannot delve deeper and discover the reasoning behind it. The second approach to

sociological research is anti-positivism; this is where the reasoning behind

the knowledge is looked at. It is often described as the ?texture? and ?feel?

of a matter. Anti-positivists use qualitative methods of research, which

include, participant observation, unstructured interviews, direct observation,

and conversational analysis. An example of a sociologist who conducted research

in this way is Weber.Now I will look into a few

methods of research in a more detailed way, these are the methods which I am

most likely to use, either individually or a combination of both. As I have

chosen to use both positivist and anti-positivist methods, I will need to

examine a selection.Questionnaires will be very

important in my study as they will provide an insight and a feel for the general

consensus of young women as well as providing me with a set of results to work

with in numerical form. Questionnaires can either be given to people to take

away and answer or asked by me and answered n the spot. There are advantages? and disadvantages with both. If the

questionnaires are taken away, some would never be returned and I would

inevitably lose some this way. Also, people read questions differently and so,

if they read them themselves, I may receive different responses because the

question is being read in a different way. However the advantage of this is

that people are more likely to be honest when answering alone and anonymously,

especially young girls who from my hypothesis I am assuming are easily

influenced. The advantages of on the spot questionnaires are that I am

guaranteed to get answers from all those who are wiling to answer the

questions, so I will not lose any responses, however I may not get as many in

the first place because people may be intimidated by talking to me and answering

personal questions out loud. Another disadvantage with this is that I may guide

the answers with my tone of voice in the questioning. However, in the same way

I will be able to ensure that the question is read as it is intended to be

read. Also people react differently when they know they are being observed and

watched. After looking at all the advantages and disadvantages, I have decided

to send questionnaires, not stand and ask the questions, this is mainly due to

the intended nature of the questions. With both methods I think it is important

to use a mixture of closed and open ended questions. The person completing the

questionnaire will have the option, to remain anonymous and just complete the

questionnaire as well as declining the questionnaire altogether, if she decides

not to remain anonymous then she will also have the choice of agreeing to

further research, for example an in depth interview. My intended methods are

supported by P.Trowler, ?Investigating the Media?, 1991 pg 19. Courtney and Whipple,

1983 p45, Jean Baudrillard, a post modernist and Golding.Therefore interviews will be my

next method of research, from those girls who decide that they would like to be

involved in further research, I will look at their answers and to further my research

interview a selection. The interviews will give me a very in depth method of

research, it will bring me more information than the questionnaire because it

will be more personal, the interview will be semi-structured=-. I think it is

more effective to have a structured interview because it is more focused and it

very much depends on the personality of the interviewee as to if questions need

to be continually asked or if the conversation flows naturally. This is why I

think it is safer to have a structured interview, and a set list of questions.

Although I do appreciate that with this method I can only draw from the

interview the answers from the questions I have asked, very little extra

information is likely to emerge. I will tape the interview, with the

interviewees permission because it can be very disjointing to ask someone to

repeat their answer and this may result in a different answer. This method of

research is time consuming but, I think this is justified because I am only

selecting a few, maybe only four people to interview on an individual basis and

with careful time management I don?t see this as an issue. In order to draw out

the most important information from these interviews, I will present them as

case studies.Observation , direct or participant

is will not be of a great deal of use in my study, so it is not a method of

research that I am planning to use. This is because I am looking at attitudes

and values as opposed to behaviour and norms. It is important to me what people

think not so much on how they act.Each method involves a sample, a

sample is by definition. ?A method for collecting information and drawing

inferences about a larger population or universe, from the analysis of only

part thereof, the sample.? Oxford Dictionary of Sociology pg 576. So basically

a proportion of the population is selected to represent the rest the whole of

the population. For my study it is important to select a sample with a range of

backgrounds, although of similar age and the same sex. This would enable me to

find out the factors that effect young girls and if they differ between

backgrounds. There are eight different types of sampling, these are;Random: where everyone has

the same chance of being selected, therefore it is representative. His method

of sampling would not be suitable for me because I have selected an age

criteria of 16-18 years old. Systematic: where names

are selected at regular intervals on a list, this gives a greater selection of

age and background. His method of sampling would not be suitable for me because

I have selected an age criteria of 16-18 years old, unless the list was

specific to that criteria in the first place. Stratified Random Sample: Important

variables are found, e.g. in my research age and sex would be two important

variables, the sampling group is then allocated to the important variables.

This would be a very suitable method of sampling for my study beaus of the

importance of the variables. Quota Sample: This

identifies samples with particular characteristics e.g. age and gender, this

would also be a good method of sampling for my research as it would enable me

to work with a set criteria list right from the start. Cluster or Multistage

sampling: These are drawn from selections of the target group, samples from

an already drawn sample, these are often unrepresentative. This could be

useful, for extensive research, if interesting results are found I could go

back and look further into the case. Snowballing: a relative

sample is built upon using personal contacts. Convenience or Opportunity

Sampling: This method enables the sociologist to select anyone who will

answer the question, making the sample unrepresentative and biased. Non-Representative: This

method may be useful for disproving a hypothesis, and is the final sector of

the sampling process.I will produce a questionnaire as

my base, this will produce numerical data for me to analyse and a base where I

can look further into individual cases. These methods of research, enable the

research to continue, from a group, to individual case studies, to observation,

of a case study, to an in depth analysis of an individual. This is what I want,

for my study to remain open ended an subject to further analysis. I will select

the sample using stratified random sampling and from this sample I will select

50 girls at regular intervals systematically from the school registers. This

way my sample will be representative. I am aware of the limitations involved in

distributing my questionnaire, such as, not being able to distribute it to

people outside my immediate community, i.e. people outside, those who I know

and the school community. This way I think is the most ethical and effective in

receiving a fair amount of returns. In this chapter I have managed to

discus the advantages of methods of research and so have decided which methods

are suitable for my study. I will now collect my primary research using these

methods of study and discuss the results and conclusions.Context Gemma Sanders ?The media are massively present in our lives and it is this

that gives them their cultural effect, they feed into our world views and our

culture, and help to shape them? page 396, Media Imagery and Representations,

Chapter Two, New Directions. So the media is constantly feeding us images which

have the power to produce social effects in young women, this is true,

irrespective of whether they are negative or positive images or messages.

However my hypotheses states that I these effects are negative in society.Emile Durkheim used the term ?representation? to include;

?drawings, symbols, written and spoken?. Basically our conceptions of images is

what causes that symbol and that word to become a representation. Durkheim

believed that ?essentially social life is made up of representations and they

constrain our thoughts and behaviour. (Durkheim 1952, page 40). He believed

that the representations that exist come from the media and see the media as

being one of the most influential sources.I would tend not to use the study of Durkheim in this

instance relating to my hypothesis because he thought that these

representations were seen by everyone in the same way. Although in my study am

suggesting that there are huge effects I also believe that other factors are

involved such as background etc, as I believe that this can determine the way

images are represented. If this were true then there would be many more cases

of negative effects in young women than there are. I believe that the negative

social effects come not from the integration that Durkheim believes exists,

where everyone reads the images the same. I believe that the negative social

effects come from the social conflict that these representations can provide.

For example the stereotype ?pg 3? of the Sun newspaper is regarded as harmless

fun, which may in the majority of cases be true but that one image has many

different perceptions from a variety of different people.Stereotypes are representations which are often false or

misleading. Stereotypes exist within ideologies. Stereotypes are used by the

media and the media is plays a lagre part in creating an ideology within our

society. In our society people desire to follow this ideology and look to the

media for guidelines. However when issuing reason and blame for the negative

social effects caused by these ideologies an important question must be asked,

does society make ideologies or do ideologies make society? As in Marxism,

society controls the individual.In this section of my project, I will discuss to what extent

do these media images have an effect and I will incorporate some sociologists

work about this. I will look at Feminist arguments, as well as a presentation

of other secondary data.When attempting to find research studies into this area, I

found that a lot were out of date, perhaps because with the developments in

technology, i.e. television and the internet the media has only recently had

such a widespread effect and such power.A very influential part of the media is advertising as it is

solely designed to influence us, and has the capability to shape our attitudes

and behaviour. In 1985 £4441 million was spent on advertising so the messages

portrayed in these advertisements are obviously very important to the

advertiser. It is more about selling a way of life in which this product

becomes a necessity than simply getting people to buy the product. Already it

is possible to see that advertising can change the way of life for people and

as stated in? my hypothesis this could

be negative.The research of Courtney and Whipple, 1983 p45, supports my

hypothesis they concluded after looking at images in the media and their

societal effect that, ? when limited and demeaning stereotypes are as

persuasive as those involved in advertising?s portrayal of the sexes, it

becomes important to question whether those stereotypes might result in

negative and undesirable social consequences?.Feminist strands generally believe that the media is partly

responsible for creating images, stereotypes and expectations for women. In

London in 1969, feminists were beginning to take note of the ?anti-woman or

women-as-object? advertisements that surrounded them. Shelia Rowbotham, ?The

Past is Before Us?, 1989 p248 stated that, ?All around us in adverts, the

cinema, and television were images of a distorted man made femininity.? This

quote supports my hypothesis because it recognises that these images are not

real and that women have a very hard time trying to live up to them.Not only are the images hard to live upto but they ave also

been accused of trivialising women, ignoring real issues that women face and

placing them literally on face value. Therefore it made it very hard for an

intelligent woman to gain her rightful place in society unless she resembled

portrayed images. ?Women in Mass Communication, p281, complained about the

trivial portrayal of women?s issues and the oppressive place women held in

advertisements, they noted; ??unflattering portrayals and the trivialisation of

feminists? political interests.? This is most certainly a negative social

effect as it is contributing to the position of women in society. ? The three strands of feminism have slightly varying views on

the media and its representation of women. Liberal feminists that the

socialisation is the main cause for misrepresentation of women in society. The

believe that we are presented with sex roles which have become embedded in our

culture. So the media?s representation of women simply reflects these already

embedded images and messages. Liberal feminists do not believe that the media

plays no part but that it is not wholly responsible however it should present a

more balanced and accurate picture of women. Radical feminists also believe that the images are already

apparent in society through patriarchy. They believe that men use the media to

manipulate women. They believe that issues which that effects women are left

out of the media or become trivialised, similar to the liberal feminists

response. Socialist feminists blame the economic structure of

capitalism for the medias portrayal of women. They argue that women are

expected to give their labour cheaply and serve as the reserve army of workers.

The power of the companies which own women?s magazines is concentrated in male

hands. The function of women?s magazines is presented as being pastoral, giving

them solutions to their problems and promoting a code on how to be a woman,

ensuring that the woman will try to fulfil these codes. Body image is just

another one of these codes and is?

detrimental in he self esteem of women. Aside from this is the

expectation that a woman should be able to cope with a full time job and be the

main career for children. Hence all this has a massive effect on society, women

of course make up 50% of the population and whilst women are going around

trying to live up to these images and messages, society as a whole suffers

because confidence levels are on a downward spiral and women spend their whole

lives trying to be ?this?, ?that? and ?the other?.The pluralist model is a very interesting model to look at

in relation to the media. Pluralists argue that the media is a means for

voicing and responding to women?s needs and interests. They state that

advertisements now act as a way of increasing the audiences awareness of

women?s issues. This would go against my hypothesis however it does raise

interesting issues in that pluralists would say that these advertisements are

beneficial for women in society. The pluralist view of the media is a popular

image where the media provides unrestricted public airing. However the public

demand and so perhaps the media is simply responding to the demand, so the

media are a reflection of what the public are doing. It is a very complicated

debate in terms of the media being issued the blame for the social effects that

are happening when in fact it may be a viscous circle. Relating to my

hypothesis it completely disregards it, and alternative reasons for he the

social issues would need to be looked at.A valid psychological study that I will use in my primary

research is that of ?Fallon and Rozin? 1985. It looks at body images, I will

conduct the study and then find a relationship between it and the media. Body

images of male and female undergraduates were shown a figure of their own sex

and asked to indicate, a) the figure that looked most like their current shape,

b) the figure that looked most like their ideal body shape and c) the figure

that they thought was most attractive to the opposite sex. Fallon and Rozin

found that although men?s abc options would all point to the same figure.

Women?s choices pointed to all different body shapes. Showing that women are

not comfortable with their body image and I believe there is a direct

correlation to that and the media.Erving Goffman 1979 studied advertising campaigns of the

1970?s, he found that the representation of women in advertisements had a very

big part to play in the expectations that women, ?should refrain from vying

with men in matters mechanical, financial, political and so forth?. This,

directly relating to my hypothesis in the stereotypes of women is often

blatantly sexist, making women feel inadequate and causing negative social

effects. Basically if women are made to feel that there are certain things they

can?t do simply because of their genetic make up then women will have a very

hard time being equal in society, the media simply perpetuates this. Many research studies especially the more recent ones have

been looking at the representation of women and what the effects of these are.

The general findings are discovered through looking at women?s magazines.

Although they seem to revolve around women?s interests they reinforce glamorous

enhanced images of women whilst still portraying a? women with a role whether it be a traditional housewife role or a

career, setting almost impossible standards for any ?regular? women to compete.

By doing this women strive to be and act and look a certain way, a way which is

portrayed by these media images to be achievable and when the standard is not

achievable the women feel like they have failed, causing a strong negative

social effect.One of the main theories used by sociologists to investigate

the media and it?s effects, is the hypodermic syringe model also known as the

effects model. ?The effects model was derived from the rise of behaviourism in

psychology in the early years of this century which sees all human action as

modelled on the condition of reflex so that ones personality consisted of

nothing more than responses to stimuli in its environment?. Sociology New Directions

pg 373. This model suggests an injection of products, images, stereotypes and

attitudes is injected into society through individuals and that an effect of

this injection is absolutely certain. The Payne Fund, a body set up in New York

in 1928 looked at the relationship between film watching and the attitudes of

juvenile crime, they used the effects model as their base for research because

it demonstrated the relationship well. Showing and provoking that by the

injection of films in to juveniles, as a direct effects of this there was a

link with crime. Paul Lazarsfeld recognises that there are other factors are

involved, such as friends and social groups.Within my research, this model is applicable by looking at

the injection of the media images of women and the direct effect possibly being

eating disorders unsatisfaction with themselves etc. However one of the

problems with this model is the total disregard it shows for peoples conscious

efforts to make decisions of their own, giving a very narrow view of the

audience. Within my hypothesis I have allowed for this by choosing a

particularly vulnerable group in society whoa re more susceptible to media

images-young women. But in fairness it should be noted that or everyone in

society has the same level of susceptibility Jean Baudrillard, a post modernist believed that the media

massively effects society, he believed that the mass media increasingly defines

what the world in which we live actually is. Supporting my hypothesis in simply

the fact that he recognises the huge effect the media is capable of having.Golding p78) says, ?The media are central in the provision

of ideas and images which people use to interpret and understand a great deal

of their everyday experience?. This shows also how critical the portrayal in

the media is in causing effects, when the media begins to represent out of the

ordinary situations as everyday they then change the whole nature of our living

and the way we think and what we believe is normal and everyday.For Marxists, the media is a fundamental instrument of

control, owned by the dominant class, who control what is portrayed within it.

So perhaps it is another case where the powerful gain even more power by

causing these negative effects through the media. Meaning that the young women

on the end of these images have no choice but to follow them as they are being

controlled to do so. Marxists also take the view that the media is among those

institutions which reproduce social domination and control under the base of the

bourgeois capitalist society. From my research I can conclude that the majority of studies

that I have looked at accept that women?s self worth, opinions and place in

society are partly moulded by their portrayal in the media. This will of course

play a massive part in the subordination of women which is a negative social

effect, supporting my hypothesis. There are no longer outright sexist

advertisements but the simple fact that women are represented in a totally

different image to men shows that sexism exists and causes negative social

effects. My next step is to conduct some primary research of my own to discover

if the media does effects peoples self worth, and exactly what the negative

social effects are. Questionnaire Deconstruction Title: The Media Portrayal

of Women1)How old are you? A self explanatory question. Used for grouping data into

ages so that in my evaluation I can analyse differences between ages and see at

what age the media starts to effect and if we realise it is effecting us at

later stages. The most likely question to follow would be, ?are you male or

female? but my studies concentrate solely on female attitudes. However if I

were to extend my research this would certainly be a topic to look into. I do

appreciate and take into consideration however that male attitudes do play a

large part in the attitudes of females and that they are a contributory factor

as well as the media to negative social effects about body image.2)Which media are you most likely to read/listen to? I have chosen three options; a)television as many images are

portrayed on television through advertising, TV programmes, the news etc. These

images are particularly powerful because they are moving images which can give

them the realistic edge over other media. B) Magazines, teenage girl?s

absorb? lot of information from

magazines, images of older girls are often featured in these magazines and

regular information on how to look like them or for example how to create ?that

perfect Jennifer Anniston look?. Due to magazines being such a source of

interest and information to young girls I believe it is important to look at

the messages they are portraying. C)Radio, radio is a very important source of

information but I wanted to discover how many teenage girls listen to the

radio. The radio has a large advantage in that it plays music which is a

massive interest to youth. The radio is also a very interesting media as it has

no visual aids but can it still create images?3)Do you think that the media attempts to portray a

?perfect image of a women?? I think that it is important to discover if teenage girls

are aware that the media image is a pretence or if they believe that when they

grow up that is what they should aspire to look like. The word attempt in this

question is very important as I am not suggesting that the is the perfect image

but simply that an attempt is being made. It will also show if in the eyes of

teenagers they do consider these media images to be perfect.4)Would you like to like the women in these images? This question is important in identifying the difference

between simply seeing an image and actually taking it and storing it in their

minds as an image that they would like to look like. And perhaps an image that

they think they should look like.5)Do you think that celebrities have too much attention on

them through the media? The main focus of the media is celebrities.. This question

will invite respondents to say yes they think the media is intrusive upon

celebrities and it does cause negative effects or No the media focuses the

right amount of attention on celebrities and this does not pose a problem to me

or to society as a whole. 6)Have you ever known anyone to suffer from an eating

disorder? Statistics show that eating disorders are becoming

increasingly common. It will be interesting and beneficial to compare the

answers against the statistics and between the different age groups. It will

also show whether teenage girls are always aware that their friends are

suffering from eating disorders by comparing the answers to statistics. Or

perhaps if they are even aware of what an eating disorder is.7)Do you think that these images contribute to eating

disorders? The question is probing whether teenage girls actually

believe that there is a link between media images and disorders. Or indeed

whether the worry of eating disorders is another media hype. If they answer yes

then it will demonstrate that the media is leading to negative social effects.8)Do you think that these images contribute to low self

esteem? This question is similar to question 8 but far less extreme

because although they themselves would not go to the extremities of eating

disorders so that is difficult to understand they may recall bad feelings about

their body and their looks in comparison to celebrities and these images. 9)Do you think that males are subjected to similar images

and pressures through the media? This is a widely debated question as the increase for those

who suffer from male eating disorders is rising but it will be interesting to

look at how women feel that media pressures are distributed.10) Do you have any further comments about the portrayal

of women in the media? Valid comments are useful for a deeper understanding of the

subject. They will also help me with the evaluation because if the same

comments crop up consistently then it will show me that there should have been

a designated question for that issue.Comments From Questionnaire Question 10 in my questionnaire asked if their were any further

comments about the portrayal of women in the media these were the results of

that question. I found that many thought that the pressure on men is not as

much as that on women but that it definitely exists however it is not based on

such a physical sense and is not portrayed highly through the media. There

pressure on men lies more on their personality, it is important to be funny, to

have a good car, to be good at sport etc. Another strong comment that came out

was that too much attention is paid to celebrities bodies and not enough to

their personalities and this is what causes negative social effects. They are

successful and they have good bodies that is all we see of them, therefore in

order for us to be successful we must have nice bodies.There was a definite vibe through the comments that the

media?s portrayal of women needs to change, they need to start representing

?real women?. Women?s true achievements are not focused on enough either.

Apparently women?s sport is not highly covered and when it is it concentrates

on people such as Anna Kornakova, who is glamorous but a far less talented

tennis player than say Venus Williams. Some believe that almost as if the pressure begins to ease

off women it is focusing on men. These comments are very valid because they give me a deeper

understanding of the way people actually feel, reinforcing that the problems

with images of women is not just another media hype, which in itself would be

very controversial. ContentIn the context section I looked at Erving Goffmans study of

Gender and Advertising and his coding categories, in order to prove that his

research is still evident today I carried out my own research by finding

advertisements which fit into his categories.?

I was a selection of magazines from Sunday supplement magazines. I chose

this because these magazines do not have such a specific target audience as

specialised women?s magazines, so I am not limiting my findings.Relative Size (Appendix _ _) This Advertisement for ?Dannimac? shows men leading the way,

sheltering and protecting women from the weather. This advert is not explicitly

sexist but it does have connotations of sexism and agrees with Goffmans theory

of relative size.The Feminine Touch (Appendix_ _) This advertisement for Orange E-Mail services supports

Goffman?s theory that women?s hands are often pictured in advertisements. The

Orange logo is in the centre of the woman?s hand, showing that she is nurturing

it and protecting it, exactly as Goffman suggested. Function Ranking (Appendix _ _) Goffman discussed advertisements that belittle women by

showing them being instructed by men. In my Context I made the observation that

since Goffmans study this has actually turned full circle and an advert will

generate a lot more interest if the roles are reversed. Obviously the reason

for there being more interest is because the roles within society are still not

totally reversed. However the advert pictured here certainly does reverse the

roles. These men are pictured in a skip, typically a mans job with a washing

machine in front of them, this suggests that the woman has instructed them to

do the washing, explaining the blank and confused look on their faces.The Family (Appendix _ _) This advertisement shows the mother and baby, a very stereotypical

image displayed throughout the media. The woman is looking perfect and the baby

looking happy. This is the kind of advert that I believe generates negative

social effects because of the image that when you have a baby you should be

able to still look your best and keep baby content. Goffman?s study 100%

supports that this advertisement exists and that the effects of it are only

negative to society.? It is a

stereotypical image which does not exist, yet the media portray it as the norm

putting women under tremendous pressure.The Ritual of Subordination (Appendix _ _) This advertisement, reinforces Goffmans claim that adverts

exploit women?s sexuality to sell a product. The amount of skin and the

lingerie shown in this advertisement certainly show hat sex sells. The product

is a muscle toning product, so it could be argued that it is necessary to show

the midriff of the woman. Licensed Withdrawal (Appendix _ _) Goffman talked about how women are often pictured as being

disconnected from a situation and become excited about menial things, in turn

making them and their lives seem very insignificant on a larger scale. This

advertisement shows the woman with a dreamy expression on her face, there is

nothing real or powerful about this image, it simply reinforces the

insignificance of a woman in the medias eyes.These categories outlined by Goffman are still relevant

today and these recent advertisements only go towards proving this. These

advertisements were found amongst only three magazines showing that there is a

significant amount of derogatory messages in advertising. Advertising is a

large part of the media and often considered the mist powerful because of the

messages it conveys. There was one area of improvement which I found in

?Function Ranking? however the message is only so strong because it is so

controversial which takes away from the whole point of presenting women in a

different light.Comments From Questionnaire Question 10 in my questionnaire asked if their were any

further comments about the portrayal of women in the media these were the

results of that question. I found that many thought that the pressure on men is

not as much as that on women but that it definitely exists however it is not

based on such a physical sense and is not portrayed highly through the media.

There pressure on men lies more on their personality, it is important to be

funny, to have a good car, to be good at sport etc. Another strong comment that

came out was that too much attention is paid to celebrities bodies and not

enough to their personalities and this is what causes negative social effects.

They are successful and they have good bodies that is all we see of them,

therefore in order for us to be successful we must have nice bodies.There was a definite vibe through the comments that the

media?s portrayal of women needs to change, they need to start representing

?real women?. Women?s true achievements are not focused on enough either.

Apparently women?s sport is not highly covered and when it is it concentrates

on people such as Anna Kornakova, who is glamorous but a far less talented

tennis player than say Venus Williams. Some believe that almost as if the pressure begins to ease

off women it is focusing on men. These comments are very valid because they give me a deeper

understanding of the way people actually feel, reinforcing that the problems

with images of women is not just another media hype, which in itself would be

very controversial. EvaluationI will evaluate my research chapter by chapter. My rationale

states my hypothesis, ?The portrayal of women in the media causes negative

social effects in young women?. Starting with analysing my hypothesis, in

retrospect I believe that my hypothesis is too wide. The media is such a vast

area, and such a powerful tool that its effects are widespread. I should have

narrowed my hypothesis to a specific negative social effect, i.e. eating

disorders, suicide, sexism etc. Also I could have looked at a specific media

for example the television. As I feel my research was too generalised. However

I think that I made a good decision in concentrating on young women but I do

feel that at points my research strayed off this subject. Although in my

rationale I did establish that I planned to do this I think my rationale should

have been worded more specifically.It was however a good choice to look at the media because it

is a growing tool, with the internet fast approaching and all its dangers to

society. I could have looked further into the internet because concerns about

it are growing rapidly. Questions which I asked in my rationale, were; ?Does the

media help to cause eating disorders? and ?Is there something inside the young

women that triggers the effects and is stronger in some girls hence the effects

is more serious?? I think that I answered these questions well using Fallon and

Rozin?s, survey about body shape and image. This looked at the actual

perceptions young women have about themselves. My aims were to prove or disprove my hypothesis, I believe

that I strongly proved my hypothesis but also presented a balanced view by

using different research studies. I did find that the research in to disprove

my hypothesis was very limited because if people don?t believe that the media

has an affect then they are unlikely to conduct research on it.I have compared my findings with sociological research, this

is best shown when using Fallon and Rozins study to conduct my own primary

research.I produced reliable data as it was easily quantifiable and

could be put into graps and analysed effectively. My questionnaire produced

some excellent data but the questions were not as objective as they possibly

could have, possible because my aim was to prove my hypothesis. In question two

of my questionnaire the internet should be mentioned as well as newspapers and

friends because of its rapid growth as a media source. Question seven should

have been asked after question eight because if they had said yes to the first

then they are compelled to say yes to the second as the effect is worse.

Retrospectively question nine was badly worded because it assumes that they

believe there is a problem in the pressures of the media and there is no option

for them to say they believe there is no problem. Although this was a small

minority of people, I did not give the option, again because my aim was to

prove my hypothesis. Question nine also does not give the option for people to

say that the medias effect does not apply to women at all and only effects men.

Conclusively the questionnaire assumes too much. The comments gained from

question ten support my hypothesis, however those who did not have anything to

say may not say anything because they don?t see it as an issue, therefore I

would only get comments which support my hypothesis. I should have looked at

men?s views more and perhaps opened up the questionnaire to men. If I had the

chance to further my research study I would include this.My body image survey produced some valid and reliable data,

Distortions in body image survey however there are of course some improvements

in retrospect that I could have made. I could have compared height/weight

against average and healthy to see if they were actually overweight even though

they were saying that they were. I could have used a selection of 5 body shapes rather than 3

because although people didn?t always think that they had the figure of option

2 they weren?t prepared to say so chose option three whereas they may have gone

for something in between. It is important to recognise that people weren?t

always honest with me because there is an image that it is wrong to think that

you are the perfect size, in order not to sound egotistical.Using Goffmans study I analysed some advertisements of my

own to test his theory. I found that he was right. I also found that although

we can look at the negative social effects of these advertisements it cannot be

assumed that everyone deconstructs them in this way, perhaps this is why they

are so dangerous, but it is important to remember that the purpose is to sell

products and this is overwhelmingly achieved. I can see that my own values, pre-conceptions and ideas

played a part in my research but I think that to passionately want to discover

the results you need to have values to a certain extent. If I had no

pre-conceptions then choosing questions to ask in a questionnaire would be very

difficult and would make the results hard to analyse. I have a friend who

became very ill and suffered with anorexia, after being with her throughout

this, I am convinced that the media had a big part to play in her illness, this

has given me values of my own and therefore made me less objective to people

who thought that people who suffered from illnesses were simply unstable than I

perhaps should have been.Time was a great limitation when conducting my research. My

subjects were easily available girls at school, my school has a good reputation

for results meaning that they are all generally intelligent enough to be able

to deconstruct the media and understand its effects, so my research was not

particularly widespread across young women.Overall my evidence supports my hypothesis, I have found out

that people have distorted images of themselves and concluded that part of this

is because of the media. I have also discovered that young women are generally

critical of the way others look and that this plays a big part in perceptions

and self esteem. Through my findings I believe that there should be tougher

regulations within the media. The problem is money, ?mind game? adverts and

images of beautiful women sell products, the government gain money from these

products so social policy would be very hard to implement in the media. The

Internet will soon pose a real problem because it is so hard to monitor that

even if a social policy were implanted, advertisers would still get their

message across and girls would still be left feeling inadequate.I have learnt a lot about the research process as a whole. I

have learnt that objectivity is fairly impossible and that in research some

subjectivity is necessary. I have leant the process of triangulation is

important because it is difficult to conduct research which is either valid or

reliable, and quantitative methods are equally as important as qualitative

methods. I have also learnt that with the best of intentions, changes do need

to be made from the original rationale and that these changes are significant

and it does not make your research invalid, if anything it opens up your

knowledge and understanding. Theories from other sociologists give you a good

grounding to research and play an important part in giving you ideas and




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