They have ads of how you should dress and what you should look like and this and that, and then they say, ‘but respect people for what they choose to be like.’ Okay, so which do we do first?” 

Kelsey, 16, quoted in Girl Talk

The pressure put on women through ads, television, film and new media to be sexually attractive—and sexually active—is profound. While this is nothing new, research has found that women’s representation in popular media has steadily become more and more sexualized over the last forty years.

Gender Representation

Male or female: Seems simple enough, but these categories which were assigned to us at birth carry with them a whole lot of social and cultural meanings and expectations. In this section, we look to unpack some of the media’s baggage around what it means to be a boy or girl, man or women.

Here stands the spring whom you have stain’d with mud,
This goodly summer with your winter mix’d.
You kill’d her husband, and for that vile fault
Two of her brothers were condemn’d to death,
My hand cut off and made a merry jest;
Both her sweet hands, her tongue, and that more dear
Than hands or tongue, her spotless chastity,
Inhuman traitors, you constrain’d and forced.

Titus Andronicus, Act 5, Sc. II.

The video game sector is the fastest growing entertainment industry and second only to music in profitability. Global sales of video game software hit almost $17 billion U.S. in 2011. [1]

Sixty-two per cent of Canadian gamers are male:[1] and in a market targeted primarily at males, games that appeal to girls can be hard to find. Generally girls aren’t interested in the violent “first person shooter” games favoured by boys, and many of the girl-specific games promote stereotypical interests such as cooking and babysitting. (Industry representatives claim these topics are chosen based on their surveys of what female games want.)

Media Issues
In this section, you will find our collected writings on issues related to the ways that media represents and sometimes misrepresents specific groups of people; how media influence our attitudes and behaviours; and the ethical decisions we make daily as media consumers.

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