From the moment we see the first light of the world to the day we learn how to think for ourselves, our culture has already exposed us to the system of gender stereotypes. We have been taught what it means to be a boy or girl. This is shown from the colour of the clothes which our parents have picked out for us as infants to the toys we play with.
The media has shaped our conceptions of what it means to be male or female. We have been taking reference from different mediums of media as our baseline models of behavior instead of our parents. The media such as the television has a huge effect on the viewer. Although the plot and characters we see in the movies and shows are purely fictional, the underlying attitudes and unsaid messages in the films are definitely not missed by the young minds. With this being said, it is crucial to uncover the mask that has been hiding a double standard that is pervasive in our culture.
The media’s portrayal on gender stereotypes can be divided into 3 different aspects. Characteristics, role behavior , and lastly, vocational interests. In media such as the television, both genders are portrayed differently. The males tend to display more of the strong, domineering, independent and fearless characteristics. Females show the gentle, timid, emotional, and submissive side of them. These spectrum of characteristics are only unique to the respective genders mainly due to the fact that our upbringing has taught us the most basic of human nature. The media therefore reinforces it using scenarios to show how these characteristics are applicable in different situations and to different people. One example will be the classic fairytale Cinderella. I watched the show when I was 6. My impression of Cinderella had always been of this sweet, gentle and loving lady. From that young age, I have already been exposed to the media’s idea of how a typical female should act.
For role behavior, Eagly’s (1987 ) social role theory says that it is...