Gender Representation


Men and Masculinity

Despite the fact that men are the most frequent protagonists in all forms of media, we sometimes have trouble defining what exactly makes a man. In this section, we explore how masculinity and maleness are constructed by the media.


Women and Girls

Simone de Beauvoir said “One is not born a woman, but becomes one.” This section analyzes how various media contribute to creating an ideal femininity and how we buy into it.

2SLGBTQ+ Representation in the Media

No longer relegated to the realms of innuendo and secrecy, today we see a wide range of gender identities and sexual orientations represented on television and in mainstream film alongside cisgender people. 2SLGBTQ+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, trans, queer and gender and sexually diverse communities) people see their reflections on screen in a wide variety of roles. And yet, there remain many challenges.

The Economics of Gender Stereotyping

"We are experiencing a sea change with women and movies, a shift in numbers but also in consciousness. Female-driven movies, from women filmmakers and not, open weekly and are greeted as a matter of course rather than as aberrations; some dominate the box office, and a handful are enlivening the awards season. Despite continuing biases and barriers, women are now directing movies with a variety of budgets, topics and casts."

Sex and Relationships in the Media

The pressure put on teens through ads, television, film and new media to be sexually attractive—and sexually active—is profound. Not only that, but media representations of relationships often teach unhealthy lessons.

Resisting Stereotypes and Working for Change

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 the conflicted Star Wars hero Ahsoka to Marvel characters such as Echo and Ms. Marvel to more realistic characters like Never Have I Ever’s Devi, while a growing number of movies and TV shows are questioning narrow definitions of masculinity.