Essay about The Portrayal of Young Women on Television

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The Portrayal of Young Women on Television

Television is widely known to represent and reinforce the mainstream ideology of contemporary western culture. While television's representations of women has changed greatly in the last twenty years, in order to accommodate the changing role of women in society. one is left to ask how much the ideology has changed behind the more modern representations of women. "Television is regarded by many viewers to be the most 'real' form of media". If this is the case, then it is important for us to question how real the representations of women are on television and how this affects the attitudes of those who watch.

As mentioned above, there is a higher number
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Sex-role stereotypes are generalised beliefs. It is known by the coinage 'sexism'".

These would include the idea that women are supposed to look very pretty, be domestic, have children and then look after them while the man goes out to work, and these kinds of things. Another distinction that can be made is between sex-roles, quite literally the roles played, and sex-traits, which are personality attributes typically, displayed by men or women (supposedly).

Sex role stereotyping reflects the changes in beliefs about the value of family, child care, the role of the woman in marriage and the possibility of self-fulfilment through work. Generally, in the world of television, women tend to be confined to a life dominated by the family and personal relationships far more than men, outside the home, as well as in it. For example, according to a study by McNeil, about 75% of men are depicted as employed whereas less than 50% of women are (Gunter, 1986: 11).

Clearly there is a suggestion of sexism from these statistics, and if there are less women actually on television and taking lead roles, then already women are misrepresented.

Firstly by the suggestion that there are less women in the world and second by the inference that it is only really men who are capable of taking a lead and being the 'hero'.


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