For the longest time, there have been different occurrences surrounding women, especially towards their improvements and development. It is imperative to be conscious of the different occurring themes especially in the present-day media especially in their presentation of gender. With the developing occurrences and different technology, the media platforms are tremendously advancing to an extent where we depend on media since in most of the happenings; it is shaping our viewpoints and attitudes. Practically, media is inescapable, thus bringing about the issue concerning media presentation of women. In most of the cases, women are consistently portrayed in domestic outcomes in the media or rather seen as an accomplice to the male counterparts who are featured in powerful positions. According to Ross (2013), the media is representing women in impracticable ways which lead to the use of culture and tradition to justify roles that women are placed.
Within the detail of this paper, it seeks to answer the question concerning media representation of women and the underlying effects it delivers to the gender. Also, the paper aims to explore the unrealistic nature of women representation of media by considering every perception as long as they conform to the detail of media and gender involvement.
Media is portraying women in unlikely ways. They are affected and forced to believe differently as they lose their self-esteem and self-confidence. Carilli and Campbell (2012) deliver a discussion concerning the involvement of media that the message that it sends to women as they consider the consideration media presentation of women from different perspectives. As a result of the unrealistic media representation of women, it has delivered adverse effects especially in causing a sense of belief that is not true. Also, it is pushing other female genders to develop perceptions concerning specific occurrences that are not true which on the other hand creates impracticable impressions as young adults and children may develop and create ideas of their own.
The research questions concerning the unrealistic nature of media presentation of women were investigated with the use surveys and interviews. In the study, interviews were conducted meant to evaluate the actual involvement of media and gender. Eight female journalists and two male journalists were interviewed in newsrooms. In all the interviews, they covered two basic points concerning the perception of how women are portrayed in media, and second, concerning the perceptions that media is creating about women. In the involvement of all interviews, they were conducted in unique rooms set up for reporters to use whenever they need to talk privately with their sources. It ensured that every interviewee speaks freely without the fear of their superiors or colleagues. To ensure that provided information was not biased, the interviewees were asked to raise concerns in case they felt uncomfortable with any of the questions and permitted them to pass a question in case they did not want to answer it.
Correspondingly, a more substantial part of the study was based on literature reviews aimed to deliver the different surveys and conclusions drawn from scholarly articles. With the provided primary research, the secondary analysis played a significant role in confirming the validity of data acquired from the survey and interviews. Along with the involvement of the study plans in exploring the secondary sources, it evaluated the findings of the author as well as concluding. For example, according to Boepple and Thompson (2016), they argue that seclusion of the minority groups (women such as black, Hispanic, and Asians) affected their lives since they are featured in specific images.
Through the study, from the interview, it is clear that the media representation of women in the society is not ideal and it is contributing to low confidence as well as low self-esteem among the women. Within the interviews, since they were categorized into two, there was much more detail on the media presentation of women. (Perceptions media is creating about women, and journalist's perception of how women are affected through media created impressions).
Of the ten journalists, nine had evidence that media is creating unrealistic perceptions concerning women. According to them, the media is making women believe what they are supposed to and what they should not be which denies them the sense of self-confidence. However, as for the one journalist that did not have any evidence concerning the effect of media on women, he believes that women have created the problem for themselves. Correspondingly, seven journalists had proof that the media is affecting working especially when it comes to women. According to them, women have to strive harder to fit into the society which in another setting might not be a solution. For the three journalists, they have no evidence of any events where media was affecting women. Moreover, the results provide underlying issues regarding how the media is representing women. The result also derives confirmation from other authors in literature reviews on the impacts of media representation of women.
In consideration to the results acquired to the study, they deliver actual conclusion about the unrealistic nature of media representation of women. The issue concerning the representation of women by media is one that is providing numerous impacts which in most of the occurrences are negative impacts. The effects are not only affecting the involved individuals or women directly facing the representation but affect the children and young adults as they develop a perception concerning specific occurrences and events. As gathered from the primary research conducted, the journalists felt that the media is not only delivering an unrealistic presentation of women but it is also creating a gap in the involvement of women in some of the activities. Moreover, this preliminary study found evidence as some of the female journalists claimed to work differently and were perceived to work differently in consideration to the male counterparts.
In other settings, the individual develops a perception that for the longest time now delivers an effect. For instance, according to Grabe, Ward & Hyde (2008), they provide a study concerning the representation of women by the media in consideration to their bodies. They portray how the media has described thin bodies as an ideal body for women which is unrealistic and may render damage to other women in the society in the strive to meet the representation. It is one of the ways through which the media has induced a perception concerning the ideal woman by creating a picture especially in the current nature of media terming the occurrence unrealistic. Similarly, as Lavoulle and Lewis (2017), explore the representation of women in media by relating their current status to incidents n popular culture and music. Within their conclusions, they conclude that the media representation of women does not give significant value for diversity and beauty in looks.
On the other hand, according to Myers and Biocca (1992), they deliver a similar statement relating to the representation of women in media especially in involvement with their body image. Myers and Biocca (1992) conclude that the representation of women affects self-perception and self-esteem in women especially in women with big bodies. Majorly, the issue regarding the presentation of women in the media pertaining their bodies has delivered significant occurrences and issues. The representation is unrealistic as the images in the media do not provide actuals relations. For example, according to Sakr (2004), rather than focusing on the abilities, capacities, and abilities of the women in the society, media represents women in a different view as their viewpoints are linked to their bodies along with other unconventional representations. Also, the involvement of women in other events within the society such as politics and sports are some of the events that are also facing a significant effect as a result of the media representation of women (Rochelle et al. 2017).
The portrayal of women by media is unrealistic at different happenings hence affecting confidence and other abilities in women. There is the development of dissatisfaction as women try to compare with the ideal media figures that media is portraying which are leading a change in various habits such as eating and could also result in surgeries. According to Thompson et al. (1999), the development of eating disorders among women is as a result of various occurrences as women are trying to fit into the ideal woman represented by media. Moreover, Alwine (2014) seeks to elaborate on how women do not get the actual representation they need from the media about their abilities, but the media only focuses on appearances. Thus, it delivers the definite conclusion that media unrealistically portrays women.
Alwine, Lauren R. "Comparing Female Athletes and Models in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issues from 1997-2013." (2014).
Boepple, Leah, and J. Kevin Thompson. "A content analytic study of appearance standards for women of color in magazines." (2016).
Carilli, Theresa, and Jane Campbell, eds. Challenging images of women in the media: Reinventing women's lives. Lexington Books, 2012.
Grabe, Shelly, L. Monique Ward, and Janet Shibley Hyde. "The role of the media in body image concerns among women: a meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies." Psychological Bulletin 134.3 (2008): 460.
LaVoulle, Crystal, and Tisha Lewis Ellison. "The Bad Bitch Barbie Craze and Beyonce African American Women's Bodies as Commodities in Hip-Hop Culture, Images, and Media." Taboo: The Journal of Culture and Education 16.2 (2017): 7.
Myers Jr, Philip N., and Frank A. Biocca. "The elastic body image: The effect of television advertising and programming on body image distortions in young women." Journal of Communication 42.3 (1992): 108-133.
Rochelle, Tina L., and W. Y. Hu. "Media influence on the drive for thinness, body satisfaction, and eating attitudes among young women in Hong Kong and China." Psychology, health & medicine 22.3 (2017): 310-318.
Ross, Karen. Gendered media: Women, men, and identity politics. Rowman & Littlefield, 2010.
Sakr, Naomi, ed. Women and media in the Middle East: Power through self-expression. Vol. 41. IB Tauris, 2004.
Thompson, J. Kevin, et al. Exacting beauty: Theory, assessment, and treatment of body image disturbance. American Psychological Association, 1999.
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