My interest in studying gender and sexuality as constructed culturally and socially was heightened after taking Dr. Gillespie’s class last semester, which was entitled “Mediating Gender and Sexuality: Feminism, Fairy Tales, & Popular Culture.” The class primarily focused on contemporary adaptations of traditional fairytales in order to examine cultural values, social norms, and how these things are perpetuated or change through time. This, then, encouraged my consideration of how media influences the conceptualization of gender and sexuality. Media outlets are relatively inescapable in this day and age so I am interested in better understanding the extent that media influences and controls the approach in which gender and sexuality are considered in American culture.
I think it is important to study the media’s portrayal of gender and sexuality to understand why they are treated the way they are today. There are an incredible number of forces in the media that influence and shape the approach that an individual has in considering gender and sexuality. Sometimes the force may be obvious but other times there are underlying forces that can contribute to an individual’s perspective without them even realizing. The potential for change comes with understanding the complex power that media has in controlling society and the extent to which it influences the thoughts of individuals.