Gender representation issues began in the past when feminists began fighting for their rights to equality. As we all know, women have been under graded in our societies with men being superior in most cases. Studies on gender-based issues began in the 1950s when gender portrayal in the media led to launch of the Second Feminism Wave (Bagdikian,and Ben, 10). Mass media was topping the list of the Second Wave Feminists because of their oppressive representation of women in different genres. Researchers however began to address the issue almost two decades later. Despite all that, the subject remains a contemporary issue in relation to media studies. A documentary talking of stereotypical roles of women in the mass media with the title, Miss Representation written by Jennifer Siebel (Bagdikian,and Ben, 15). It revealed how media develops images and certain contents shaping the perception of gender roles simply by reestablishing stereotypes.
Internationally recognized TV programs like the wife swap, global excellent sellers like Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus plus many other Hollywood blockbusters for example Avatar do not only reflect on our understanding but also the gender and even sexuality. Media is a very important influence in all these even though most people do not understand such kinds of influence since majority do not instantly absorb the content of whatever they read, see and even hear (Baitinger, and Gail, 580). They only get the sense when critically engaged in discussion touching on what they are watching. Media representation of both men and women is changing rapidly though not in a straight forward. Some people argue that despite media reflections of the changing diversity of the society concerning the society changes like women’s movement from their traditional domestic nature to the public hemisphere, the changes are not positive and liberating or rather empowering.
The negativity of the media on gender representation has been seen in some of the latest TV shows and mainstream media where regressive representation of female characters is clearly shown (Baitinger, and Gail, 586). The term post-feminist cultures of the media is used for feminist scholarship checking on the contemporary mainstream media where feminism is acknowledged and the same time dismissed in the same movies. Critical analysis of gender-based issues shows that there is a sense of gender inequality showed in the TV shows and other mass media events. From TV shows such as the Sex and the City, Ally McBeal, Desperate Housewives plus other magazines suggest feminism in the movies mainstream media representation is narrowly focused with empowerment and choice becoming a matter the outfits to put on, whether sexy looking clothes or affection girlish or rather laddish characteristics. Again in the rise of celebrity gossips in different sites and media sources plus makeover shows, we see some kind of punitive surveillance of women celebrities and characters (Duggan et al. 22). Shaming of women’s physic and bodies is particularly a major issue for the working class of women. Men have continuously shown their lack of respect for women in all these ways.
The changing men’s representation in the media and TV shows especially the movies to women is not really justified since the difference in men and women’s responsibilities is still evident including the ways in which they look like or rather feature. Young independent women smartly dressed in the films we see and the TV shows like the pictured Veronica Mars, Hit Girl in Kick Ass plus the Olive Prendergast in Easy A, the women characters remain sexualized in certain ways that male characters are not (Duggan et al. 27). The act of sexism spans the whole Mass media ranging from Televisions and the films we see through up to the newspapers and magazines we read. Some reports in the recent past clearly brings out the endemic levels of sexism in which the British press and the sparked campaigns trying to challenge the sexist media representations like the popular website www.everydaymediasexism.org.uk
There has been an emerging category of dramas mainly focusing on women important in the public. They are women who have done one or more things in the public and have gained the public attention. Examples of these women are the Birgitte Nyborg, who is currently the prime minister of Norwegian drama, Borgen and Carrie Mathieson, both intelligence officers in Homeland drama (Kian, et al. 899). The relation between the public and private dramas is very important but that is not all that is happening in the real sense. Female character in these dramas are always complex and are not always easy to reduce to stereotypes. American show Girls authored by Lena Dunham is one of the most popular dramas that have ignited debate from all corners of the world concerning women representation in the American media. Some people have praised the show for being more authentic picture of the western contemporary womanhood. It is celebrated for attending most feminist issues. Despite praise from people, other groups of people have tried to criticize the show because it lacks both ethnic and class diversity in the entire America.
The internet on the other hand, has been experiencing a series of changes in the ways people engage it where in most cases, we feel more able to write texts back and to the authors our own. This all in turn changes the ways of how we do gender based things. Sites like Facebook though still forces people to try to fit themselves in rigid groups that are gender and sexuality based. The role of game playing which invites cross gender play and certain interventions as wikigender addressing women relegation in wikipidia.
The key issue as to why we lack women in other side of the cameras or newspaper writing desks and the newsrooms is women are under-represented across all platforms of the mass media and creative industries, creative roles to be specific. A recent research indicates that men dominate many other fields and are likely to handle expertise jobs in social issues including factors affecting women like abortion and reproductive rights. A website by the name, The Women’s Room set up with the main purpose of providing comprehensive data for female experts to ensure they are represented well and their issues in the media counter measured (Kian, et al. 904). Even though men still continue to dominate, important women directors with little stories about some women astronauts who were close to taking Neil Armstrong’s place. Many female filmmakers also try to support females across the globe.
In summary, men have continued to dominate women in various fields starting from industries, media and even research institutes. This should change to make our women believe in themselves. Such films as the wonder woman are the kinds of things we want to see in this days since men and women are equally human beings. Ladies have to be given chances especially in the media sector. When they get such opportunities, they act as encouragement to other women and this will inspire them to one day become heroes of tomorrow. The wonder woman movie is such a kind of what we want to see in the media and through this; we will have a completely diversified worl where men and women are both the same.
Bagdikian, Ben H. The new media monopoly: A completely revised and updated edition with seven new chapters. Beacon Press, 2014. Pp 10-20.
Baitinger, Gail. “Meet the press or meet the men? Examining women’s presence in American news media.” Political Research Quarterly 68.3 (2015): Pp 579-592.
Duggan, Maeve, et al. “Social media update 2014.” Pew research center 19 (2015). Pp 21-31.
Kian, Edward M., et al. “Sport journalists’ views on gay men in sport, society and within sport media.” International Review for the Sociology of Sport 50.8 (2015): Pp 895-911.