Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Feminist Media Stereotypes

Chapter 2 in the book “Feminist Media Studies” by Liesbet van Zoonen discusses vital issues in what is called the feminist media theory and how this has changed throughout the progression of time in the United States. From the beginning and still today, there is a consistent lack in participation from women in the higher education and science world. Because of this lack in representation, according to van Zoonen, many stereotypes have been created and things have been centered on male biases. I find this accusation to be completely valid. Today women are still consistently outnumbered by men in the field of science. While the numbers are increasing, I know there is still a gap. I have heard of many initiatives and foundations striving to close this numbers gap. The National Science Foundation has begun an initiative called ADVANCE in order to increase participation of women in science. What I find most interesting is that even though many colleges and universities in the United States have more women than men, something is deterring women from pursuing a career in the sciences. I still believe this has foundation in media created gender stereotypes.

The section I found most interesting was on Stereotypes and Socialization. The new themes brought up in the section were “the stereotypical images of women in the media and the effects of these images on the audience” (16). The media has a very great tendency to either rid women from the situation or depict them in their stereotypical roles. While I do still believe that today women are portrayed as the homemakers and the caretakers, I believe while the media has evolved so has other ways of stereotyping women. I discussed a more recent version of this argument in my Illusions of Wellness class. We discussed how the media portrays women in health magazines. Good health is now based on two things: body image (which includes nutrition and exercise) and sex. When looking at the front cover of Shape Magazine the main stories involve how to achieve a body we want, a beautiful fit celebrity who has that body, and some sort of advice to entice someone of the opposite sex. I personally think that this is a prime example of what the media has deemed as important to women. Although this was different a few decades ago, I believe it still rings true.

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