Gender Portrayal Differences in Mass Media

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It is generally accepted that the mass media have become some of the most powerful institutional forces in society. Although everyone uses the media in different ways, the media are responsible for directing attention and shaping cultural attitudes and values. (Media Awareness Network) The media is influential, using stereotypes in many areas, such as the entertainment and news industries, to get audiences to quickly understand information. Stereotypes act like codes that give audiences a quick, common understanding of a person or group of people, usually relating to their class, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social role or occupation. (Media Awareness Network) Stereotypes can be problematic, reducing a wide range of differences in people to simplistic categorizations. This transforms assumptions about particular groups of people into realities. Mass media, such as movies, television, magazines, newspapers, books, music, and computer games, both reflect and shape gender roles. (Knox) Women and men are usually depicted as having extremely different roles in society, evident in the way media portray them. (Al-Ghafari) Some gender roles confine both sexes to traditional duties and responsibilities. Media plays a role in constructing gender roles and in presenting the image of the girl as a woman, and the boy as a man that has different roles. (Al-Ghafari) Media can play a significant part in transmitting a society’s culture to children. The way in which gender is portrayed contributes to the images that children develop about their own roles in society. Gender bias can be seen in books, movies and television shows, for example, evil female characters, such as the stepmother and the ugly witch. Heroic male figures dominate a lot of books, movies, and television shows, with the female character shown as being saved with the help of a male figure. Girls are

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