Media portrayal of men and woman can have a tremendous impact on cultural
and gender ideals in society. Gender tensions are often created by
exploitative media portrayals of men and/or women in stereotypical roles.
Far more often than men, women are exploited by media moguls in order to
promote the sale of goods and services, and to create desire and interest
in objects completely unrelated to gender.
The media has created and supported the idea that "sex sells." When it
comes to provocative images of youth and beauty, women far surpass men in
media portrayals. Research suggests that women are also portrayed more
often than not in subservient or minor roles rather than important ones.
Unbelievable even with reference to serious subject matters, women are
often portrayed in skimpy outfits and in high gloss images in manners
completely unrelated to the particular service or product being offered.
The media has propagated and supported the exploitation of women
consistently over time. The extent and the effects of such portrayal are
explored in greater detail below.
Grodzki (2003) points out that visual images of women on television and on
magazine covers have tremendous influence on commercial power as well as
cultural perceptions of the roles of women. Media imagery can in fact
create and perpetual certain idealism's and beliefs regarding women's roles
Hall (1998) cites Carol Dietrich, claiming that women in the media are
often portrayed as "sexualized bodies, whose status in the world, and
position in the advertisements, is dependent on how they look rather on
what they do" (p.21). Many images of women in the media suggest that media
agents are capitalizing on gender stereotypes and using attractive women to
dictate how women should feel and behave (Hall, 1998:21).
Hall also notes specifically that the primary marketing strategy behind
many products i...