The image of women in media sources is becoming pervasive from one day to another. Modern society is living in a comprehensive world where access to information is extremely important. The area of expertise has offered everything to make people able to access any information just by clicking a button. People all over the globe can easily access implicit environments and women are taking a central role in media, for example, in reality TV. All the same, question is whether the experiences, through which modern society is going and which is shaped by the media, have directed humanity to some area where personal authenticity is distorted. The media demonstrate to the audience the air brushed female individuals, accompanied by handsome men; moreover, images of idyllic families and couples surround people everywhere. Usually, the media shape the community’s view and perception of many life aspects; in addition, it may force individuals to take certain actions. These media stereotypes have targeted especially women; females have been branded negatively for many years, and society has been made to believe that women are depraved and immoral creatures.
Walker (1998, pp. 1-11) conducted a study on women’s magazines that flood the market between 1940 and 1960. The magazines during this time were stereotyped as mere housewives with no other role to play in the society. Protests through women movements began in the 1960s and women started gaining other roles. Women started being advertised different and in some cold manner started being used as objects which was apparently appealing to them even to this date. The study by walker (1998, pp. 1-11) was important in highlight how the media perception of women transformed following the start of women movements. Current research on this same subject has shown worrying trends with similar impact on women but from a completely different perspective as presented by Zimmerman and Dahlberg (2008, 71-79). The media has taken over the rights the women fought for to use them in a manner that destroys their image.
Zimmerman and Dahlberg (2008, 71-79) highlight the feminist values and beliefs that women have been accorded in advertising through the popular media. From time to time, attitudes on this issue have changed and taken different shapes. Women of the second wave of the feminist movement were absolutely against the manner, in which they appeared in advertisements; on the other hand, modern women have embraced the concept as a mean to empower their social status. According to Zimmerman and Dahlberg (2008, 71-79), such media presentations are not offensive to the contemporary woman. The media have produced immediate effects on the manner in which women and girls are perceived to be (Bessenoff 2006, 239-251). Models are exceptionally attractive; however, their appearance is not actually alike to the one of an average woman. It is sad, but when women observe these advertisements, they are meant to believe that it is the real clue to how they should look like and behave. Well the study carried out by Zimmerman and Dahlberg (2008, 71-79) clearly take on a position that the global media have shaped numerous stereotypes and images of women worldwide. Though from different perspectives, Zimmerman and Dahlberg (2008, 71-79) and Walker (1998, pp. 1-11) have clearly elaborate how media persuades the masses to take certain stands on women.
Both in the past and at the present times, women have experienced a lot of pressure created by the media sources. Today, they have been pressured to have silky hair and neat figure together with luminous white teeth and iron muscles, for example. Movies and popular television have been on the frontline in propagating these stereotypes (Wright 2005). Women across the globe are glued to their televisions, ready to imitate negative images of themselves along with other counterparts. Females have been subjected to observing numerous images of half-naked women with ideal bodies and unnaturally flawless faces. As a result, young females have not been able to appraise themselves adequately. The difference and strained imperfection they have been feeling has troubled them and caused many problems. Because of modern image of successful and ever-young female, the women in age feel themselves old and abandoned. The ideal brought about by the media is truly desirable but, at the same time, unachievable. The essay focuses on the most popular female stereotypes mothered by global mass media.
The media industry has managed to convince women all over the globe that they lack something. This impression has been rooted in the desire to have white teeth, fair skin, and attractive hair. The television media, for instance, has sold out products largely by way of convincing customers that they are imperfect that can be cured by a certain product. Women have fallen preys of the advertisements where they are shown as venerable creatures. Their male counterparts, on the other hand, have been presented as aggressive and strong protectors. According to Wright (2005), the prevalent characters of Jessica Simpson in “Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica,” reality TV show, and that of Lee performed by Pamela Andersen in “Baywatch” have bothered many women telling them the manner in which they should look like and behave.
The women in age have also experienced disapproval from the media on their growing old. These insults have produced negative effects on them all. The products, which are used by women for preserving this ideal image, have turned out to be destructive physiologically and psychically. Consequently, as the women actors age on, it is becoming unlikely for them to hold their jobs. The case is different for their male counterparts; therefore, the age stereotypes imposed by the media have made the female gender suffer serious biases and discrimination. Under other circumstances, women would compete favorably in the society and find their place solidly.
Television media platforms have become extremely popular worldwide, but they bring more harm than good. The debate has all along been between having a healthy self-image and watching reality TV shows (Wright 2005). The matter is not about TV but about the value that is added while watching these movies especially when women are concerned. Usually, women are simply compromising their health and natural beauty due to the pressures imposed on them by the media. Many women, who are dissatisfied with their bodies, have become vulnerable to eating disorders (Bessenoff 2006, 239-251). As women compare themselves to the females in advertisements, they endeavor to have such appearance by starving or vomiting the food. This issue turned out to be a popular problem that has affected women worldwide. Largely, the thin ideal and sexual images in advertisements send disturbing messages to them and only pour oil on flames of the problem. To some extent, the media platforms can take the blame for the eating disorders of some women and the body dissatisfaction that has emanated from comparisons made in advertisements. The female stereotypes that are popular in the media have a very powerful impact on the manner, in which the society perceives women and how the females themselves appraise their own appearance and personality.
When watching such programs as “Flavor of Love” and “The Bachelor” where twelve women are usually employing their sexuality in winning the attention of a single man in a competitive environment, observing the half-naked women on advertisements, the society finds itself in a difficult situation of defining the notion of women and dealing with them, at large (Kitch 2001, 11-25). Women have been objectified and their personality completely ruined through media sources. The media have mothered more negative stereotypes than there have been positive ones. These stereotypes have devalued women entirely and reduced them to sexual objects and passive individuals.
When a female is in a power position, as in the case of the female boss in “The Proposal” or in “Disclosure” with Demi Moore, she is described as a cold heart, detached professional having sociopathic inclinations. This stereotype sends messages that a woman in an authoritative position can sacrifice her family, relationships, and even her whole sanity to be successful in her profession. For any young girl who dreams of running a company or attaining success in journalism or science, the media does not give comprehensive models as a source of inspiration and encouragement (Durik and Hyde, n.d). This message has been the most disturbing issue in modern society.
On the other hand, one should mention the positive female stereotypes received from the media sources, such as the image of intelligent young women and girls. Such characters, when used in media sources like in movies and television, can become powerful role models for many young females who are in search of feminine icon to follow. “The Simpsons” animated sitcom has provided a perfect example of Lisa Simpson, who is a very intelligent, gifted young girl. She can think on her own and be consistent in what she does; therefore, she can become a good lesson for many teenagers. In “Buffy, the Vampire Slayer,” the focus on a powerful and resourceful woman as a savior from supernatural beings is another excellent role model for women.
In the contemporary society, the media have influenced the woman personality greatly; they have played a significant role in determining the manner in which society stereotypes females (Kitch 2001, 11-25). In modern society, people are unwilling to believe in the discrimination based on gender experienced by individuals. Nevertheless, discrimination against persons based on race, sex, age, and sexual orientation, among other issues, has been very common (Bhargava 2009). Sexual violence is a rampant menace that has plagued the global community. Nowadays, women become rape victims more often than in the past. There has been a lot of sexual harassment and women battering on a daily basis worldwide. Despite the prohibition that has been made on such matters and with the many workplace policies established, trainings, and counseling, still there is an alarming rate of discrimination cases. The media have some responsibility to take for the fabric of modern society, especially concerning the issues of women’s dignity and personality.
In conclusion, the media seem to have little interest in how females are treated in the society in which we live. Women of the 1940s and the 1960s were branded housewives and everybody’s perception remained to be so. After protests on the issue, the media presentation changed while women stereotyping continued in a different sense. Modern media personalities and media platforms have used the woman beauty and elegance to propagate their own selfish interests at the expense of the females. The media sources reach lots of people around the globe. In most cases, the view presented by the media is mistakenly taken as the pure truth. The case has affected women greatly, especially through media advertisement. Under such pressure, women have camouflaged from their natural look, in order to elude away from their self worth and value. The effects have been extremely detrimental to the female gender. The media has thus created an illusion, a false impression on women, making them of less value, taking them simply as objects of use over the years, a manner in which we please.