The Evil of Media Every day, we all are on the internet, whether it is scrolling through our social media feed, streaming shows, or watching the news. However, the media does not only appease your appetite for entertainment. Media has a strong influence on all of our lives. From social media to movies and tv shows, they all have the same goal to define who we should be and how we should act. This affects our personality and future prospects based on our gender.
No matter how much we try to say it doesn’t affect us, it does not matter. Once you are hooked, it roots into your personality and mind. We all watched tv, listened to music, or watched movies during our childhood. This was the main part of our life as we grew up. According to Michigan Medicine, on average a child ages 2-5 spends 32 hours a week in front of a screen. This means more time for the media to place stereotypical norms on us.
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What are these norms exactly? GSDRC claims these stereotypes are, “homemakers and carers of the family, dependent on men, or as objects of male attention,” while men are portrayed as “powerful and dominant.” Many of the forms of media such as TVs and movies agree with this. Superhero and action shows are notorious for this. One example is Superman. This superhero is a favorite of Americans and has many movies and shows.
However, they all share the same story. The strong and powerful man, Superman, saves the world while the woman, Lois Lane, is the damsel in distress and is dependent on Superman. Movies and shows such as this effect how children think about how men and women should act and carry on to their adulthood. Knowing how media influences society from such a young age, how does it affect children in the future? Media teaches children to hide their true feelings. According to One Love, “Men grow up with the belief that crying is a sign of weakness.” Boys are taught their emotions are a sign of weakness and should be repressed.
Since it is acceptable for girls to cry, it is associated with the sign of feminity. Gender norms do not only affect males. According to One Love, “women face immense pressure from society to look pretty almost 24/7.” Society is bombarded with advertisements, whether it is promoting a product or just a magazine, they usually have beautiful models. When this is seen many times, over and over, it sends an unconscious message to the brain the ideal body for women is that.
Not only can this mentally affect someone, but it can also hurt them physically. Women can try to force their body to look like what they see in the media. In the end, it is physically impossible and just ends with the body being abused, such as deprivation of food. Even with these studies, there are people who are against the fact that media makes gender norms or even believe that gender norms do not exist. An argument that they make is that there are now a rising number of females who are dominating in some fields.
So, gender norms do not exist. Even if there are more awareness and people are taking action, that does not mean that gender norms is gone. No matter what happens, America is still a male dominant country. According to the Washington Post, only “20 percent of Congress is women.” This clearly shows that there is major inequality in gender roles and media is a key player in this problem.
Although the media has its benefits, it also has its downsides. Media influences society and sets gender norms. With TV shows and movies, it can teach children how they should act. Later on, these things being taught changes people and affect their behavior. This problem is now getting awareness and has improved equality between the two genders. However, this does not fix the overall problem. These stereotypes have been rooted in society’s mind and have been traveling from one generation to another as an acceptable norm.
- “Gender and Media.” GSDRC, gsdrc.org/topic-guides/gender/gender-and-media/.
- “How Gender Stereotypes Impact Behavior.” One Love Foundation, www.joinonelove.org/learn/gender-stereotypes-impact-behavior/.
- Bump, Philip. “20 Percent of Congress Is Women. Only 5 Percent of CEOs Are.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 20 Sept. 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2018/09/20/percent-congress-is-women-only-percent-ceos-are/?utm_term=.4892b3feb090.
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