Combating Gender stereotypes in Media and Television

After critical evaluation of concepts that concern gender stereotype, it would be the desire of every person that gender should have a disadvantage as a result of social construction. However, it is inarguable that society has structured flames over which people define gender roles and abilities. Precisely, gender stereotypes come a long way from the past and are propagated exponentially through the current globalization medium. Studies have found that media is the most effective medium for propagating gender stereotypes since it has a significant impact on culture (Huxford 4). However, this essay identify that the media can reform gender schism by propagating less stereotypical content.

Television screens are an integral part of human life as of now. One can seldom avoid viewing a screen within a week. The screen technology has evolved rapidly because of its efficiency in impacting change in society. For instance, a television advert is more likely to record a higher advertising score than a billboard. Similarly, screen technology has participated largely in propagating gender stereotypes (Trier-Bieniek & Leavy). Both films and TV shows have successfully created a schism between what a boy or a girl can or should do (Wille et al. 1). From childhood to adulthood,  stereotypes are learned and predominantly affect the choices people make or define their limits (Wille et al. 10). In that light, media is the immediate avenue through which the current society may counter gender stereotypes (Trier-Bieniek & Leavy). Precisely, the media should portray leadership as a virtue, based on one’s capabilities, appreciate that everyone is unique, depict courage as independent of gender, and avoid placing a victim label on any gender.

The media should counter the world view of leadership which considers men as are more likely to make better leaders than women. Traditional media depicted men as powerful leaders, the Hercules and the kings in the society. On the other contrary, the media depicted women as subject to men – their rulers. The impacts of the stereotype are evident in the current struggle of women in getting top leadership positions compared to men. For instance, to some extent, presidential candidate Clinton lost to President Trump due to gender stereotypes (Jalalzai 2). Since the traditional media depicted men as heroes, the new media should depict women as able leaders with charisma and wisdom necessary to lead society. Besides, the media should depict women as sober leaders, polite, non-bossy, and critical. For instance, the popular film Game of Thrones featured female characters Cersei and Danerys ruling kingdoms, influencing through societies and making critical decisions similar or better to those of their counterpart kings. Also, their desire to rule from a young age, as seen with Danerys and Sansa Stark, illustrate that both genders have no limit to the aspirations of power. Another popular film, Wonder Woman (2017), features a female character Wonder Woman helping an army win a civil war. Like traditional media, the two films and others like them stimulates a social construction or a counter stereotype that equates leadership capabilities for both men and women.

The media should appreciate that everyone is unique. The uniqueness of a person may hinder or increase their ability to perform in some areas. However, such variations which underly in individual uniqueness, should not be the basis for propagating gender stereotypes. For instance, the media has labeled the best warriors and geniuses to be men. Many action movies and shows feature legendary men fighters such as Rambo, Jet Lee, and military men such as Bob Lee in the TV show Shooter. Also, most science fiction films portray genius in men than in women. However, not all men have the fighting capabilities as the film characters, and not all men are geniuses like Tony Stark in the Marvel Cinematic Movies. Therefore, films and TV shows should counter the gender stereotype by featuring more women as uniquely abled characters and equals to men. Some films such as Gifted (2017) are a good example, where a young schoolgirl has unique mental abilities. The Wonder Woman and Arya Stark from Game of Thrones are ideal representations of unique martial women in the society. In that light, the media should promote such films to motivates more girls and women to join sectors that were formerly associated with men such as the military or engineering. Besides, boys notice that girls are not lesser abled, but each individual has their unique abilities regardless of their sex.

The media should ensure courage is represented as independent of gender and avoid labeling one gender as a victim of the other. Through gender stereotype, the female gender has shrunk in matters of courage and has been labeled a victim of the counterpart sex. The prey-victim controversy is the basis for gender disparity and activism towards gender equality. The traditional media featured men as courageous and dangerous, overpowering women, mainly in domestic setups (Trier-Bieniek & Leavy). Hence, girls grew up knowing boys were vigor and dangerous, which has resulted in current domestic violence. However, both mane and female sexes are equals and non should be a victim of the other. The media should portray men and women working together, achieving their goals and cherishing their lives together. Though the woman should be submissive to her husband, her submission should not be taken for inferiority or victim to man. Daenerys and John Snow from the Game of Thrones are an ideal representation of both female and male working together, non-being a victim of the other. Besides, the constitution and human rights laws affirm that both males and females are entitled to equal measure of human dignity. Therefore, the media should eliminate all scenes which might insinuate a woman or man is the victim of the other.

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To sum up, the media is the most influential medium, through which gender stereotypes are propagated. To combat gender stereotypes, the same media should propagate counter stereotype messages, to close the schism between the male and female profiles. Firstly, the media should portray female and male leadership and equals to establish leadership aspirations for girls as in boys. Secondly, the media should helo appreciate uniqueness for both sexes. Lastly, no gender should be depicted as a prey or victim of the other. Hopefully, the next generation will have a different perspective towards opposite sexes, treating each other as equals.

Works Cited

Jalalzai, Farida. “A Comparative Assessment Of Hillary Clinton’S 2016 Presidential Race”. Socius: Sociological Research For A Dynamic World, vol 4, 2018, p. 237802311773244. SAGE Publications, doi:10.1177/2378023117732441. Accessed 13 Dec 2019.

Trier-Bieniek, Adrienne M., and Patricia Leavy. Gender & Pop Culture: a Text-Reader. Sense, 2014.

Wille, Eike et al. “Gender Stereotypes In A Children’s Television Program: Effects On Girls’ And Boys’ Stereotype Endorsement, Math Performance, Motivational Dispositions, And Attitudes.” Frontiers in Psychology, vol 9, 2018. Frontiers Media SA, doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2018.02435. Accessed 13 Dec 2019