Women professionals and athletes continue to be under-represented in news coverage, and are often stereotypically portrayed when they are included.

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.

Although many concerns remain about how gender 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 Eve in Killing Eve and Arya Stark on Game of Thrones, to more realistic, but still powerful characters such as Dr. Miranda Bailey on Grey’s Anatomy, while a growing number of movies and TV shows are questioning narrow definitions of masculinity.

Families, friends, teachers, and community leaders all play a role in helping boys define what it means to be a man. Mainstream media representations also play a role in reinforcing ideas about what it means to be a “real” man in our society. In most media portrayals, male characters are rewarded for self-control and the control of others, aggression and violence, financial independence, and physical desirability.

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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