Media influence on Equality
Even though many activities influence the way we view women and men, media is the most prominent and the most powerful factor influencing ideas/feelings about race and gender. According to sources from the US Census Bureau (2011), people were projected to spend more than half of their life occupied with radio, TH, newspapers, the Internet, and listening to personal music devices. Mass media and popular culture feeds people with a picture on how women and men are supposed to behave and be. This essay examines how the media and popular culture influence people’s perception on race and gender.
Women have been progressing by receiving more rights on their endeavor to be equal. After realizing the importance of education, and beginning to hold various positions in the workplace, women started noticing that they held an important position alongside men.“By the 1990’s nearly half of all workers were women and the majority of the working age women held jobs outside the home” (Kennedy 886). Despite all these people continue to view women as mere objects to men and inferior, and not people.
The media communicates images of sexes, majority of which perpetuate stereotypical, unrealistic, and limiting perceptions. Media represent gender in three different themes. To start with, women are underrepresented which implies that men are more superior and women less important or invincible according cultural standard. Secondly, women and men are stereotypically portrayed in a manner that mirror and uphold socially endorsed views of race and gender. The third theme is the depictions of the relationship between women and men accentuates traditional roles and normalize violence against women.
The major way in which media disfigures reality is through underrepresentation of women in the media. Regardless of the time, the number of white men outnumbers the number of women three times. During the 1970s, women’s sports did not receive equal coverage as that of men. People considered women’s athletics more inferior as compared to male athletics and their events perceived with less seriousness. In addition, male athletes received a higher pay as compared to that received by women athletes. It was Billie Jean King, a professional tennis player that helped bridge the gender disparity (Nike Commercial, 1970). Such portrayals coming from the media may make individual view women as inferior and less import according cultural standards.
In her song, Material Girl, Madonna portrays a woman is not looking for love and romance in relationship but for a man can satisfy her material needs. As each man showers her with gift; she takes the gift and abandons the guy. What she portrays in the video is that women cannot be bought with anything. As mentioned in the lyrics “Only boys who save their pennies, Make my rainy day.” Madonna disproves men perception of women as ‘material’ and not a person. Until the 1990s, employed women received less people as compared to men doing the same job. This happened despite undergoing the same education process and working same hours as men. On the other hand, women enjoyed receiving gifts even they still wanted to be valued as equal to men. That aside, this music video helped change the perspective held by men toward women. Her success in the music industry also shows that women can also make it just like men.
In conclusion, people spend more time in the media and popular culture thereby media impact how people perceive gender and race. It is evident that the dominance of TV shows by white males makes more people believe that white males are superior and other people are not able to perform such duties. Other races and females are underrepresented in the media hence making people perceive them as less important.
Ciccone, Madonna. Material Girl. Youtube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_gWqc7pTNn0 http://www.union.edu/offices/dean/sart/campus/index.php
Nike Commercial. Battle of the Sexes III.
Kennedy, David. The American Pageant. Connecticut: Cengage Learning, 2012.