Gender stereotypes and the
To understand how gender
stereotypes are used within media
• 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 (and sometimes still is!) 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!
Representations of Gender
GQ= Gentleman’s Quarterly
The 15th Annual Men of the Year
awards special issue
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?
Ideology in Action – Traditional Representations
• Look at the following adverts – what messages
and values are being portrayed? What roles are
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 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.