Gender Roles: Power Imbalance In The Media

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Power Imbalance

There is a visible power imbalance in the media. Gender roles are fed to people from the moment they are born, and this message is reinstated and normalized throughout life (Massoni, 2004). Women are often exploited for their sexual appeal in order to sell products, and capture the attention of the viewers (Mulvey, 2012). The sexuality of men is also exploited in the media, however, the difference is that women are presented as subordinate beings when compared to men. Moreover, men are portrayed as powerful and strong beings, while women are portrayed as beings naturally created to serve the needs of men. Figure 1 is an advertisement for perfume that is designed for men (Beyers, 2015). The advertisement implies that when
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Let’s have a look at this cover from the June/July 2014 addition in figure 3. Here, an actress poses on the cover in bikini bottoms, showcasing a perfectly flat stomach, a big smile on her face, hair perfectly styled, and posing in a highly feminine fashion. The over-crowded cover features many messages and tips on what is inside this addition of the magazine. Most of the writing on the page has references to men, self-surveillance, and fashion. At the age group that this magazine targets, girls are often on the road to self discovery, and are often inclined to try the ‘how-to’ manuals that are ever-present in these magazines (Massoni, 2004). There is also a lack of representation for world issues. The cover itself is highly focused on how to look good to feel good. The title “Bikini Body Confidence” implies that one must look a certain way in order to wear a bikini and have confidence, as female confidence must derive from having a socially accepted good body. In a study conducted to look at the occupational messages present in Seventeen Magazine, they found that the main message was that men were the norm as workers. Also, men held all the power in the world place, and that modeling was the best career option for a woman (Massoni, 2004). It can be seen in figure 3 and noted from the study that words and images in such magazines support traditional gender roles The gender roles include the claimed importance of youth, beauty, and (heterosexual) romance in the lives of young women, and consumption was promoted as the way to attain these ideals (Massoni, 2004). There was also a ‘Cinderella Story’ notion present in the study findings (Massoni, 2004). As noted in the fairytale, a girl is only a worker until the prince shows up. The message that is even more concerning is that the attention of the prince can only be attained through beauty, being of a

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