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Gender Studies - Essay Example

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Gender Studies

In modern society, media is the most powerful instrument; the advertisement is quickest and easiest method to reach a large number of targeted audience. People engaged in this industry are expert in manipulating the situation in their favor, be it political or commercial. The media constructs ideologies about gender consciousness and pinpoint specific features as masculinity and femininity, all for the sake of increasing consumerism or some other vested interest.
The basic problem with these ideologies is that once internalized, individuals are forced to self-regulate and discipline oneself to maintain that abnormality, in spite of psychological disturbances. People become submissive to consumer capitalism, thus gradually creating an army of unsatiated individuals.
Media people create 'normal' and 'abnormal' gender frames of reference. Advertisement is not just display of information; instead they are targeted towards potential consumers. They construct meanings for specific services or products and then link them to some cultural messages, which people can easily decipher. The Ads are injected with social values and roles. If we dissect the advertisement, we will find that they are separated in different sections - first is the 'surface meaning', it is usually listing of items. Next, is the 'intended meaning', it is about the service or product, but full of societal messages. Last step of the Ad contains 'ideological or cultural meanings', this implicitly tries to socialize the viewer. For example, if an advertisement is of home food product, it displays who is cooking and serving. This indirectly conveys the message to viewers about our social roles and beliefs. In fact, media do not create any social message but their orientation is 'persuasion-based'. They repeat them constantly, till it become true.
According to Bordo, media experts construct unrealistic concepts about masculinity and femininity to widen consumer capitalism. The same is interpreted by Berger, they control our ways of knowledge. Bordo elaborates that these frame of references restricts our way of understanding for gender, thus making men and women objects of the gaze, thus people perceive skewed ideologies about masculinity and femininity. Further, Foucault's argument makes it more evident. According to him, as a result of these, people start self-regulating and disciplining their own normality, based on superficial judgments and so called people's standards. They self-impose so much of restrictions, as if some crime has been committed; more or less it is physical, like bulimia. Rightly, Bordo explains when she says, "Illusions set the standard for real women, and they spawn special disorders and addictions [she created] a mask so thorough, so successful in its illusionary reality that her own naked face now looked grotesque to her, mottled, pasty, featureless. (169)" Foucault contends that this self-regulating, like the disorders, restrains social agencies by suppressing them to abide by an unrealistic criterion of beauty. In order to regain happiness and have a natural life, people should change their frames of reference or shun such ideologies. The moment such thing happens people would realize nonsensical nature of these ideologies of masculinity and f ...Show more

Summary

In this paper I will explore how media uses or misuses the gender issue. Advertising does not create any societal ideal, but creates demand for a specific product and then tries to fulfill it. But, before going in to in-depth analysis, let us know - what the term 'gender' means Is 'sex' and 'gender' same or different In fact, both the terms are totally different from each other; sex refers to biological characteristics, that is, physical and genital features of a species…
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Gender Studies essay example
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