Created by WS-71, 2015

Gender and Medai—Essay 1


Girl: “At the age of five I wanted to play with cars instead of dolls but my grandma told me that it is just not what girls do.”

Boy: “At the age of five I cried because I broke my arm but my father told me to stop crying, because it is just not what boys do.”

Girl: “At the age of fifteen I wanted to ask the boy next door for a date, but my sister told me to let it be, because it is just not what girls do.”

Boy: “At the age of fifteen I wanted to take ballet lessons, but my uncle told me that it is just not what boys do.”

Girl: “At the age of twenty I watched a commercial, where the only thing women did was undress themselves and I asked myself, if that is the only thing being a woman is about.”

Boy: “At the age of twenty I read an article about how to be the strong and successful one and I asked myself if that is the only thing being a man is about.”

Make up your mind about advertising, everyone of us has a different picture in his head, but when we compare our mindsets, we will come to the conclusion that our thoughts are not that dissimilar.

When you take a closer look on common media today, there is a enormous difference between the role of a man and a woman. Men seem to aim for respect, dominance and strength, at the same time a woman’s major aim seems to be gaining superficial materials, which are provided by men. Why is it an insult to call someone a girl? The phrase has sadly been adopted into our colloquial language to describe when people behave inferior. Why is it important for boys to be strong and emotional detached? It goes so far that they are being bullied for the simple use of slight emotions. Dorothy L. Sayers mentioned in “Are Woman Human?”: “ What we ask is to be human individuals, however peculiar and unexpected. It is no good saying: `You are a little girl and therefore you ought to like dolls`; if the answer is, `But I don't`, there is so more to be said.” When we are being honest it should be exactly this way.

What does it mean to be a woman or a man surrounded by huge amounts of media that is trying to tell you how you have to behave nowadays? Being a man means that your center of interest should involve being strong and successful and it is mostly defined by how many women you dominate. Therefore women are shown as the naive, innocent, pretty accessory for men. A good example is the video of the song “Blurred Lines” by Robin Thicke where women are shown as the flawless surface that has no mind of its own and its only purpose is to resign itself to men. Short: “Man take action- women are presented”(by Erich Kirchenhoff).

In the eyes of media women can also be beasts who do not act in the interests of men and are an annoying attachment as seen in the Snicker advert, where men get “bad habits” and are instantly turned into a woman. The different spots represent the various female stereotype features, for example being overemotional, fuzzy, too delicate to do the hard work, plain being exactly “like a girl”.

“When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch.” (by Bette Davis)

“Does our sex [really] define […] who we are […]?” (by Matthew Harper)

On the one hand it is a pity that men have these stereotypes, on the other hand it is terrifying that even women take over that state of mind. In the advert “like a girl” by Always women and men are asked to behave like girls in different situations. Shockingly it wasn't really “shocking” to see what they did, everyone of us wouldn't act any different. They borrowed every cliche we featured above, and if we are being honest, it is really a shame, but we can only describe their moves as “girly”. Girls of the age of ten were given the same task, later on. The distinct reactions were marvelous. They were running, kicking, fighting, screaming like... well how should we call it, maybe they were just acting like themselves. Gender should not take part in defining who we become, but sadly it is proven that foremost girls are being told that acting like themselves isn't a thing they should be proud of, during their teenage years. It is interesting how Media companies are influencing children in their course of life so that they take on their beliefs on how a certain gender should behave, that concerns not only girls but boys as well. Like with everything we want to change in the world we should start by looking at our own faults, why is it that women are accepting their given misogynistic image and not fighting against it? When women start to fight against the cliche of being inferior to men, we have a good chance to change the outlook everyone has on gender stereotypes, but it is hard to fight against something that is deeply anchored into our minds.

In social media there is no difference between the two kinds of gender, people seem to care more about their interests, that is why we prefer to share our gender instead of other information. More important to us is our music taste, religion, sexual orientation or what we like to watch on TV. Following we can hope that in the future gender inequality will no longer be a moral challenge.

If we all seem to know that not all girls are innocent and weak and not all boys are strong and manly, why are we still letting the media influence our society to the point where we have clear stereotypes on how we have to act in our allocated gender?

Because it is the easiest thing to do.

We know that we are mostly reduced to our gender (something we can't do anything about) in our modern society. We know that there are girls who like to fight and boys who play with dolls, but there are people who can't accept that.

Is that a place we still want to live in?

Sources:

Snickers: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QFjWoM36TXM

Always: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XjJQBjWYDTs

Blurred Lines: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yyDUC1LUXSU