Negative portrayal of women and men in mass media

“Mass media became one of the main sources of popular culture in modern capitalist society. Media, however, not only entertains and offers news to people, but also transfers the stereotypes, beliefs and values of the society to reproduce the existing order of social life.”

Lily Gataullina

Mass Media

Mass media exert extraordinarily powerful influences upon the way we think. For a number of years women has drawn attention to and fought against stereotypical and sexist portrayals of women in mass media. Unfortunately sexism against women remains, as pointed out in the recent documentary called Miss Representation:

What about men? Are they being treated nicer by the media?

As Jim Macnamara points out in “Dissing’ men: the new gender war”, “Until recently, gender theorists and media researchers have argued or assumed that media representations of men are predominantly positive, or at least unproblematic. Men have allegedly been shown in mass media as powerful, dominant, heroic, successful, respected, independent and in other positive ways conducive to men and boys maintaining a healthy self-identity and self-esteem.

However, this view has come under challenge over the past few years. John Beynon, a Welsh cultural studies academic, examined how masculinity was portrayed in the British quality press including The Times, The Guardian and The Sunday Times over a three-year period from 1999-2001 and in books such as Susan Faludi’s 2000 best-seller Stiffed: The Betrayal of Modern Man. Beynon concluded in his 2002 book, Masculinities and Culture, that men and masculinity were overwhelmingly presented negatively and as “something dangerous to be contained, attacked, denigrated or ridiculed, little else”.

Canadian authors, Paul Nathanson and Katherine Young in a controversial 2001 book, Spreading Misandry: The Teaching of Contempt for Men in Popular Culture reported widespread examples of “laughing at men, looking down on men, blaming men, de-humanising men, and demonising men” in modern mass media…

An extensive content analysis of mass media portrayals of men and male identity undertaken for a PhD completed in 2005 through the University of Western Sydney focusing on news, features, current affairs, talk shows and lifestyle media found that men are widely demonised, marginalised, trivialised and objectified in non-fiction media content that allegedly presents facts, reality and “truth”…”

The most disturbing is the difference in the way some people react to negative portrayal of women and men, especially when it comes to depiction of violence – see a few examples provided below:

The negative portrayal of women and female identity is not only a matter of concern for women, but also for men. What is happening to women has an impact on men who live and work with them and who care about the health, welfare and happiness of their wives, partners, sisters, female friends and their daughters.

In the same way, the negative portrayal of men and male identity is not only a matter of concern for men, but also for women. What is happening to men has an impact on women who live and work with them and who care about the health, welfare and happiness of their husbands, partners, brothers, male friends and their sons.

Let’s free our minds from the negative stereotypes promoted by mass media and support each other in finding our true nature – who we really are.

Man Woman

8 thoughts on “Negative portrayal of women and men in mass media

  1. ridicuryder says:

    Otrazhenie,

    Great post, being mindful of these negative images is important. Actually putting aside sex fueled objectivity is difficult……I am getting my ass kicked so far.

    RidicuRyder

  2. [...] blogged at Otrazhenie go visit, it’s worth it . . [...]

  3. […] Negative portrayal of women and men in mass media […]

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