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The Media

The Media consists of information sources- such as advertisements, magazines, movies, music, television, the news, and the internet- that send messages to us every day.  It’s a reflection of society’s values, standards and expectations, including definitions of what it means to be a woman or a man.

We learn a lot about gender from the media, and one lesson is that women are objects. Objects for men to use, not only for sexual gratification but to represent status.  In pop culture, a beautiful woman (or many beautiful women) is as much a symbol of success as a fancy car or a big house.  Like everything else in our consumer society, women can become a commodity.

This brings us full circle to the problem of women’s value being placed in their appearance. Women therefore spend enormous amounts of money, time, effort, and thought, on how they can increase their value. Advertising especially, prays on our insecurities and convinces us that if we only by this hair product, this foundation, or this weight loss supplement, we will be happy. The media has created an impossible expectation for women to be completely flawless, while simultaneously destroying their self-esteem.

It is hard to describe the way in which the media does this, because so much of it is visual. We thought the best way to share what we mean is to show you, so you could see for yourself.

This video, a trailer for the awesome fim Miss Representation, discusses the media’s effect on the way we are taught to think about women.

This is a trailer for the film Killing Us Softly, which discusses objectification in the media and how this leads to sexual violence. (Look at Youtube to watch all the parts!)

This is the trailer for The Tough Guise, a film about the media’s affect on the socialization of boys.  (Look to Youtube to watch all the parts!)


Visit our Video page to watch our favorite videos on gender issues.

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