and Gender stereotypes
To explore gender stereotypes
To understand how these stereotypes
are used within media
• As we grow up, we ‘learn’ what is expected in
terms of our gender identity from a range of
sources: parents, school, books, the media,
• The power to conform is so strong in us that
we tend to copy the gender models we see.
Thus, by the time we have started school,
most of us have “learnt” how to be masculine
or feminine as our culture defines it.
Think about the way girls are
often dressed in pink and bought
“domesticating” toys like dolls and
play ovens and toy vacuum cleaners,
whereas boys are usually dressed in
blues and non-pastel colours and
given toys like guns and construction
sets and cars, developing skills that
are outside the domestic sphere.
• Over time, the two genders have developed
quite distinct and often oppositional gender
codes – activities, spheres of activity and
qualities that are deemed to be exclusive to
only one group.
• TASK: In groups draw up a list divided into two
columns and label one side MASCULINE and
the other FEMININE and see what traditional
associations you make with each gender
under the headings on the next slides.
Responsibilities in the Home
Drinks on a Night Out
A Typical Night Out
Favourite Genre of Films
Typical Character Qualities
• What do you notice about these different
ideas associated traditionally with each
gender? What image do they conjure up of
• Traditionally men have held
power in our society – this
system where men have
power and control in society
is called patriarchy.
• Patriarchy = society run
by men for men
• The result of this is that
traditionally male qualities
and attributes have generally
been seen to be superior to
female attributes. Consider,
for example, the fact that
traditionally it was the eldest
son who inherited – even if
he had several older sisters!
• This was often reflected in the media, as most
media companies were run by men!
• Masculinity was often represented in ways
that were shown to be superior to feminine
qualities. Men were often shown to be more
important and powerful than women.
• Women were often shown in roles that suited
men and which kept them from challenging
men for power.
• In other words, the media showed men and
women how men wanted them to be!
List some typical action films – think
about the typical roles assigned to
men and women? How do these link
to patriarchal ideas about gender?
• Two of the most common traditional roles
women were represented in under patriarchy
were the happy housewife and the sex
object/Glamorous Ideal. Can you think how
these stereotypes suited patriarchy?
More Modern Ideologies about
From the 1960s onwards,
patriarchy, seeking to gain
equality for women. They
gained increased respect,
legislation for women,
giving them the chance to
step into what had once
been men’s shoes...
• Suddenly gender roles were less rigid and
defined and this is often reflected in newer
• .TASK: Again, we will look at two short extracts
to see how men and women are being
• 1 – Million Dollar Baby extract
• 2 - Aero Melt ad
Suddenly it wasn’t unusual for women
• Have a serious career
• Wear trousers
• Smoke, drink and swear
• Play football
• Downplay the domestic goddess role
Roles that had previously been
traditionally allocated to men.