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Dehumanizing Women in The Media

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Words: 994 |

Pages: 2|

5 min read

Published: Jul 15, 2020

Words: 994|Pages: 2|5 min read

Published: Jul 15, 2020

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Table of contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Media Influence
  3. Social Media and Its Duality
  4. Political Disparities
  5. Workplace Discrimination
  6. Media's Role in Perpetuating Gender Disparities
  7. Conclusion

Introduction

Women, comprising about 51% of the population, find themselves persistently subjected to dehumanization in our society, especially within the media. This essay aims to delve deeper into this pressing issue, exploring its prevalence and adverse consequences. We will critically analyze the influence of mainstream media, encompassing advertisements, films, social media, news media, and societal norms, on the dehumanization of women. Drawing on research and analysis, we will also investigate how these factors contribute to the challenge of empowering women in today's society.

'Why Violent Video Games Shouldn't Be Banned'?

Media Influence

Advertisements, one of the most pervasive forms of media, significantly shape perceptions and attitudes within society. According to the American Heart Association, high school students spend an average of 20 hours per week in front of screens, thereby providing ample exposure to advertisements. However, a significant portion of these advertisements perpetuates harmful stereotypes or objectifies women. Shockingly, one in every ten television shows now depicts sexual intercourse, which represents nearly double the rate seen in the late 1900s (Bongiorno, Bain, & Haslam, 2013). Moreover, films often portray women as pursuing men or wearing sexually revealing clothing, further exacerbating the objectification of women.

Media portrayals exert profound effects on the impressionable minds of teenagers. These images set new standards for adolescents, influencing their perspectives on relationships and sexuality. The increased depiction of sexual intercourse in films contributes to the alarming statistic that over 20% of teenagers engage in sexual activity before the age of 14 (Morris, Goldenberg, & Boyd, 2018). This normalization of early sexual experiences can have profound consequences on adolescent development, often leading to hasty and regrettable decisions.

Social Media and Its Duality

Social media, a double-edged sword, can either uplift or harm women. On one hand, it provides a platform for women to showcase their talents and beauty, gaining admiration from a global audience. On the other hand, it exposes them to ridicule and body-shaming based on superficial appearances. The pressure to conform to beauty standards set by social media can lead to severe psychological consequences, causing women to feel compelled to alter their bodies or engage in unhealthy behaviors to meet these unrealistic expectations.

Political Disparities

The dehumanization of women transcends media influence and seeps into political realms. During the 2016 presidential election, instead of focusing on Hillary Clinton's policy proposals, the media often fixated on her husband's infidelity and her clothing choices (Miss Representation). This trivialization of female politicians undermines their credibility and distracts from the substantive issues they aim to address. It is a startling fact that the United States, despite being a developed nation, has never elected a female president, while 67 countries worldwide have had female leaders. Similarly, only 34 women have served as governors compared to 2319 men (Miss Representation). These statistics underscore the deep-seated gender biases that persist within our society.

Workplace Discrimination

The workplace serves as another arena where women encounter discrimination. Remarkably, the United States remains the only developed country that does not provide paid family leave (Bongiorno, Bain, & Haslam, 2013). This lack of support places women in an untenable position, making it challenging for them to balance work and family life. Employers may hesitate to hire middle-aged women, assuming they will prioritize family responsibilities over work commitments. Moreover, women are subjected to sexual harassment, an issue that starts at a young age. While females are educated on how to avoid becoming victims, males are rarely educated on the importance of consent and respectful behavior. This lopsided approach to addressing the issue perpetuates harmful gender dynamics.

Media's Role in Perpetuating Gender Disparities

The media plays a substantial role in perpetuating gender disparities, often portraying women as objects of desire rather than as intelligent and capable individuals. In films, for instance, women are frequently depicted as chasing after men or wearing sexually revealing clothing. This objectification reduces women to mere sex appeal, reinforcing harmful stereotypes. The prevalence of sexual intercourse in movies and television shows contributes to a skewed perception of relationships and intimacy among teenagers, potentially leading to early and risky sexual encounters.

Moreover, social media can magnify the objectification of women, as it often prioritizes appearance over substance. Women who conform to traditional beauty standards receive praise, while those who challenge these norms may face online harassment and body-shaming. The media's fixation on appearance over achievements undermines the accomplishments of women and reinforces the notion that their value lies primarily in their physical attributes.

Political bias within the media further compounds the issue. During political campaigns, female candidates often face disproportionate scrutiny of their personal lives and appearances rather than a focus on their qualifications and policy proposals. This not only detracts from the substantive issues at hand but also perpetuates the notion that women are less capable or serious in their political endeavors.

The workplace is yet another sphere where media influence exacerbates gender discrimination. The lack of paid family leave in the United States forces women to make difficult choices between career and family, with employers often viewing them as less committed or reliable due to their potential family obligations. Additionally, the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace perpetuates an environment of fear and discomfort for many women, limiting their career advancement and personal well-being.

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Conclusion

In conclusion, the dehumanization of women within media and society is a pervasive issue with wide-reaching consequences. The pressure to conform to unrealistic standards, objectification, gender disparities, and workplace discrimination all contribute to this problem. While women have achieved legal equality, the reality remains far from ideal. Failure to address these issues promptly will perpetuate the psychological and social consequences, including increased rates of self-harm and suicide among women. Society must challenge these harmful norms and work toward creating a more equitable and empowering environment for women. Recognizing the impact of media, fostering inclusivity, and addressing gender biases in all aspects of life are crucial steps toward achieving this goal. It is imperative that we collectively work towards a world where women are respected, valued, and treated as equals in every facet of society.

References:

  1. Bongiorno, R., Bain, P. G., & Haslam, N. (2013). When sex doesn’t sell: Using sexualized images of women reduces support for ethical campaigns. PLoS ONE, 8(12), e83311.
  2. Morris, E. R., Goldenberg, J. L., & Boyd, P. (2018). From objectification to violence: Consequences of sexualization of women in media. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 42(2), 187-202.
  3. Miss Representation. (2011). Directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom [Documentary]. Ro*co Films Educational.
  4. American Heart Association. (n.d.). Screen time vs. lean time. https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/nutrition-basics/aha-diet-and-lifestyle-recommendations-for-prevention-of-cardiovascular-disease
  5. United Nations. (2020). Turning promises into action: Gender equality in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/gender-equality/
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Dehumanizing Women in the Media. (2020, July 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 17, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/dehumanizing-women-in-the-media/
“Dehumanizing Women in the Media.” GradesFixer, 14 Jul. 2020, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/dehumanizing-women-in-the-media/
Dehumanizing Women in the Media. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/dehumanizing-women-in-the-media/> [Accessed 17 Jun. 2024].
Dehumanizing Women in the Media [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Jul 14 [cited 2024 Jun 17]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/dehumanizing-women-in-the-media/
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