Media representations on femininity in today’s society

The way femininity is shown in the media represents a serious social problem based on the fact that it affects our attitude towards women and beauty in general.

It is represented in the media by the multi-billion dollar beauty industry in ways that links certain social practices associated with femininity as central to defining one’s identity as a female. Due to the Patriarchal nature in our society – women are less likely to be the leading source of a news story on any kind of topics. Very few women are actually in the bussiness as someone who occupies an important post, however they are all shown as young, slim and the imagine of ideal beauty that we are supoused to fallow.

Sociological researchers are particularly interested in not just the individual’s opinion of gender roles, but how those opinions influence the larger picture of culture. Primary example of the role of media representations related to the construction of femininity is a focus on body weight. This focus on slimness is a current cultural phenomenon that reflects current cultural beliefs. In the late 1900s, women who were not slim were viewed in a positive light given they assumption that they were well-fed — a status feature associated with class. Since that time, the ideal body weight as portrayed in the media has moved towards increasing slimness.

In modern society, women are often disempowered due to messages we receive through the media. The dominant ideology that women are only valued as sexual objects maintains hegemony by making women seem like they are unimportant or not valuable as people.

In the newsroom, men have predominately reported the news. In the past few decades woman have made a bold statement in the media, unfortunately with such actions comes stereotypical behavior. Women have been dressed up in outfits that expose their feminine features and have to maintain a figure that is very appealing to the eye. Most woman over the age of forty are not seen due to the fact that woman did not enter the news place until the 1970’s. It has been shown the anchors working for news stations have to deal with a lot of aspects in order to obtain the job.

Jon Stewart – host of the Daily Show on the Comedy Central, in 2015 talked about Caitlyn Jenner’s Vanity Fair debut cover and opened up a subject regarding the way Caitlyn is being treated as a woman in society. After cutting to a montage of news reports largely focused on her appearance on the Vanity Fair cover, Stewart went on by saying: “Caitlyn, when you were a man, we could talk about your athleticism, your business acumen, but now you’re a woman, and your looks are really the only thing we care about.”

“Remind her she has an expiration date now,” commented Stewart. “You came out at 65, you’ve got another two years before you become invisible to society. Better make the most of it.”

In this case Caitlyn as a woman needs to starts learning the preasure that woman  as public figures are under all the time about their appearence. We see celebrities through a screen of Photoshop, professional makeup, and designer clothes. We then broadcast this unrealistic beauty fantasy to every media outlet in the country and impose it on every woman. The impact that these unrealistic images have on our girls’ self-esteem is well documented, but we don’t stop. Some celebrities, including Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Winslet and Keira Knightly, have spoken out about this manipulation. But these lone voices are not enough to negate the terrible impact ‘Photoshopping’ has on our culture.

Different standards on femininity that exist in today’s society have a strong impact on us especially on younger generation that is easily influenced by the media. All the ‘’ideal’’ beauty representations that are shown to us have a tendency to manipulate in many ways and change our beliefs on what is beautiful around us. The impact that gender ideologies have on society can limit an individual in his/her powers and decisions in life on many levels. The environment holds many powers that can pressure each individual shaping them into what society holds to be correct.

 

Valeria Badiuc

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