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Soc pp

  1. 1. Media Pressures on Average Females and Males<br />By Amanda Brown<br />
  2. 2. Surrounded by Media<br />“The media are a primary institution of socialization.” (Kimmel) <br />The media is deeply gendered and persuades established gender stereotypes. Because we are surrounded by media products, it can hold a power over people and their way of life. Today, the average American home has three television sets, 1.8 VCRs, 3.1 radios, 2.6 tape players, 2.1 CD players, 1.4 video game players, and at least one computer. We absorb nearly every inch of information the media passes on. Weather it is a TV commercial, radio talk show, a violent video game, or even a rap song, we breathe in gendered stereotypes. In most cases, men are seen as the dominant, muscular and often violent character, whereas women are seen as passive sexual objects. These stereotypes are hard to avoid, because they are seen so frequently in our culture. <br />The media portrays men and women differently, and because of this, it creates gender inequality.<br />
  3. 3. Females experience extreme pressure from the media <br /><ul><li> The average female sees 400-600 advertisements a day.
  4. 4. By the time she reaches the age of seventeen, she is likely to have seen over 250,000 commercial messages through media outlets. </li></ul>A recent survey done by Teen People magazine showed that 27% of girls surveyed admitted that they felt pressure to have a perfect body because of what they see in the media.<br />Another study, examined Saturday morning cartoon commercials targeted at children. 50% of commercials aimed at girls spoke about physical beauty. <br />The National Eating Disorders Association reports that one out of every four commercials sends some kind of "attractiveness" message. <br />Media portrays idealized bodies that are abnormal compared to the average woman’s body. Today's fashion models weigh 23% less than the average female. Studies show that women ages 18-34 only have a 7% chance of being as slim as a catwalk model, and a 1% chance of being as thin as a supermodel.<br /> Researchers believe that advertisers "purposely normalize unrealistically thin bodies, in order to create an unattainable desire that can drive product consumption."<br />
  5. 5. Sexual icon or object?Kim Kardashian is an example of a sexual icon in the media. She is a very young and sexually attractive woman, who grew famous after her homemade sex tape leaked on the internet. Kim’s sexual appeal consistently has her pinned as the sexual icon. Most recently, Kim starred in a CarlsJr advertisement. In the commercial, she is dressed in only a robe, and is eating a salad while lying across a bed. She is eating her salad, while the camera focuses in on her mouth, where salad dressing is dripping from her lips. At the end of the commercial, she is shown taking off her robe and getting into a bubble bath, “to clean up”. This commercial alone, illustrates how media strongly influences sexual perfectness. Not only is Kim beautiful, but she has to be eating a salad too?<br />
  6. 6. Masculinity in the Media<br />Notice: He is muscular and his facial expression and stance makes him look dominant!<br />Media tends to portray men as hyper masculine and often violent heroes. <br />007 comes to mind, he is a secret British spy who consistently kills, sexualizes women and is shown drinking. He is portrayed as the ultimate man. He has fancy cars, money, clothes, and is able to hook up with any women he wants. He is glorified for his way of life, making men aspire to be like him.<br />Men are frequently portrayed as being above a woman. A Sky Vodka ad is a great example of the gender inequality seen in the media. A man is standing over a woman who is lying down. The woman has on a barely-there bikini with her breasts nearly exposed to the camera. The man has the vodka in his hands with two glasses. Because of his stance, it shows he is in the dominant position and she is the sexual object. <br />
  7. 7. Domination<br />Men are frequently portrayed as being above a woman. A Sky Vodka ad is a great example of the gender inequality seen in the media. A man is standing over a woman who is lying down. The woman has on a barely-there bikini with her breasts nearly exposed to the camera. The man has the vodka in his hands with two glasses. Because of his stance, it shows he is in the dominant position and she is the sexual object. <br />This looks as though the men all want a piece of the woman, and she is struggling to resist. What does this image tell boys and men?<br />
  8. 8. Hypothesis<br /> The media portrays men in women in such ways that pressure them to fit the media-made stereotype. The stereotype that women are sexual objects and men are masculine and to be respected, shine through various media outlets and can lead to pressure on average people who obtain media’s information. Men and women alike will feel these pressures in different ways, and will express how they feel in different ways, proving that media segregates men and women, and in turn creating gender inequality. <br />
  9. 9. Method<br />By surveying a wide variety of average and random people, I found that many express the pressure they feel media puts on society. I examined the differences in male and female views on the topic. Those surveyed were of several age groups, different cultures and different genders. I researched several media outlets and the message they are trying to send, while investigating the effects it may or may not have on males and females. <br />The following questions were asked to all anonymous surveyors in one sitting. Ten males and ten females were surveyed, a total of twenty people.<br />Age<br />Sex<br />1-Do you feel the media influences people’s lives?<br />2-Do you feel the media glorifies sex and violence?<br />3-Are violent video games to blame for school violence?<br />4-Do celebrities influence inappropriate behavior?<br />5-Do you feel the media influences men to be strong and muscular?<br />6-Do you feel the media influences women to be thin and beautiful?<br />7-Do you or someone you know feel the need to change to appear more like a celebrity?<br />8-Because of the media, do you feel you have somewhat of a low self esteem?<br />9-What advertisements do you feel directly target you?<br />
  10. 10. Results<br />All twenty people interviewed agreed that the media influences people’s lives. This isn’t surprising to me, since we are saturated in media. All twenty also agreed that the media glorifies sex and violence. This proves that people are aware the media influence and pressures. 5 out of 10 women felt violent video games are to blame for school violence while only 2 out of 10 men felt the same way. I believe this is more acceptable to men because men are held to the standard of being masculine and tough. In the media, this is the man’s role, making it seem more acceptable to average boys and males. 7 out of 10 women felt celebrities influence inappropriate behavior, while 5 out of 10 men felt the same way. 7 out of 10 women felt the media influences men to be strong and muscular and 8 out of 10 men felt this way as well. This shows that men do feel media pressures to be hyper masculine, maybe more than many may realize. 9 out of 10 men felt the media pressures women to be thin and beautiful, all 10 women felt the same way. This once again proves how media can make a woman feel as though she must add up to the beautiful media stereotype of the ideal woman. 12 out 20 interviewed knew or was someone who felt the need to change to appear more like a celebrity. This shows that many people feel the need to look like someone else they see in the media, and strive for the “ideal image.” Half of the women surveyed felt their self esteem was lower due to media pressure, while only 1 male felt the same way. Though males may feel the pressure of the media, they may not make comparisons as women do to those in the media. Or, maybe they feel as though they must mask their insecurities and put on a masculine attitude, considering 8 males felt the media pressured them to be strong and muscular, but only 1 admitted to being insecure about his self esteem. When asked what kind of advertisements targeted them, most women wrote weight loss, and beauty products. These products both have something to do with image, meaning women are drawn to products that will help them strive to reach the media’s expectations. Men wrote beer, exercise and sports ads targeted them. Only one of these pertains to body image, meaning men may not feel the need to focus on their body image as much as women do. <br />
  11. 11. In Conclusion<br />In conclusion, I feel my methods of research helped me grasp an understanding on the pressure females and males feel from the media. It would be great if it was further studied, because little information pertained to men’s thoughts and feelings on the subject. This simple study showed how the media can make women feel like beauty is most important, while men feel respect and masculinity is most important. In the end, media outlets target men and women in very different ways. This illustrates a gender difference that is reinforced through the media. Once again, we are gendered and treated unequally. Though, the media can portray valuable lessons and admirable qualities, the bad outshines the good, leaving society feeling they must conform. Media is a part of our everyday lives, and always will be, we must learn to separate reality from irrationality.<br />