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.
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
Since the 1960s, feminists have argued that “it matters who makes it.” When it comes to the mass media, “who makes it” continues to be men.
This section addresses the representation of men and masculinity in the media. It covers topics such as media stereotypes of masculinity, how children see masculinity portrayed in media, how various media contribute to stereotypes of masculinity, and male authority in media news coverage, and it addresses the role that the media play in shaping attitudes about masculinity.
Although many concerns remain about how women are represented in media, there are signs that things are changing. Roles for women on television, in particular, have become much more varied and complex in the last decade, ranging from tough and take-charge characters such as Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica and Detective Kate Beckett on Castle to more realistic, but still powerful characters such as Parks and Recreation’s Leslie Knope.
We all know the stereotypes—the femme fatale, the supermom, the sex kitten, the nasty corporate climber. Whatever the role, television, film and popular magazines are full of images of women and girls who are typically white, desperately thin, and made up to the hilt—even after slaying a gang of vampires or dressing down a Greek phalanx.
Given the high likelihood that youth are going to come across or seek out online pornography at one point or another, not to mention the many messages they receive about sex through other media, it is important that parents take an active role in their kids’ Internet use and start talking to them about healthy relationships and sexuality at early ages to help them contextualize and make decisions about what they’re seeing online.
Questions about media violence have populated the headlines for almost as long as mass media has existed. Every few years, there’s a new line up of suspects: music, video games, television shows, and movies.
Television is an inescapable part of modern culture. We depend on TV for entertainment, news, education, culture, weather, sports—and even music, since the advent of music videos.
Most of us have happy memories of watching television with our families when we were young. But what was once a simple shared pastime has become an increasingly complex—and sometimes problematic part of modern family life.