It is easy to fall blind to stereotypes which are considered as normal, despite the societal efforts to make changes. I feel that this is an important issue that has often been overlooked. Today, women fight for equal pay, equal rights, and to do virtually anything that a man can do. I remember watching movies such as “G.I. Jane” and “Enough” and thinking that these celebrities are fighting to change the perception of what is an acceptable female role. Movies and dramas like these provide the viewer to see that it is possible for women to do anything that a man can do. The resistance that is often present is also portrayed in these films. The examples used in this paper show the evolution of the role of women in the media.
The written task that was chosen focuses on stereotypes in the media and movies. The topic was chosen because it is an issue that society is still facing today and sets and expectation for roles in the media which needs to be addressed. I feel It is important to consider how magazines portray the stereotypes, as I am writing on behalf of the senior movie and drama director. It is important to be able to advise them of the issues found in this paper. According to Latino Magazine, “Stereotypes in the media are simple, one-dimensional portrayals of a certain group of people, usually based on race, gender, religion, profession or age. To some degree we all stereotype people who are different from us” (Castillo). I believe that a large part of the issue and the ability for media to manipulate personal opinion is the lack of knowledge that it is going on. Media reach all ages of viewer, male and female, so it can be a positive or a negative tool with stereotypes.
Stereotypes and Women in Movies and Dramas
Type: Astro Book Magazine
Position: Movie Director
Publication date: Next Month
Demonstration: Awareness of Language and Meanings are Shaped by Culture and Concepts
I believe that the progression of women’s rights and equality has directly been influenced by many different media outlets. It is important for this article to reflect on specific examples where the depiction of women’s roles directly influence the viewing and reading audiences. It is, in my opinion, a form of justification for allowing women to be seen as secondary citizens. The evolution of women in television and films is shown in three different forms, “I Love Lucy”, “Law and Order Special Victims Unit” and “Enough”. There is also the newspapers, magazines, and other written literature which form stereotypes of women. The readers of Astro Book Magazine can see by the examples provided that media influences stereotypes. I feel that the readers need to understand that perhaps a significant part of the progression of women has been directly influenced by the opinions provided in the media. If the media complies with societal standards, it receives favorable reviews. It if breaks the expectations, without gradual evolution, it is not positioning itself for the acceptance of the general public. Knowledge is power, and I hope the readers understand real dangers of the media and their ability to create, maintain, and change the stereotypes that we know.
Example Past: I Love Lucy
The historical example of the roles of women and how they were characterized as secondary members of society is shown through many different films, television shows, and even in publications. Lucy Ricardo is married to Ricky Ricardo and despite the comical setting of the show, it still holds women to an ancient expectation of subservience to their male counterparts. I feel that despite the show being absolutely hilarious, it set a precedence where women were expected to stay at home to cook, clean, and care for the children. Lucy had to ask Ricky for permission to go places and do things. Despite the fact that this show has been off the air for decades, reruns still occur on many different channels. Its entertainment value is directly challenged by taking women’s role in society back to a time where they weren’t in a position to have a corporate job or make decisions without the approval of their husbands. It allows the viewers, in my opinion to revert back from all the changes that society has pushed and fought for – for centuries.
Example Present: Law and Order SVU
“Law and Order Special Victims Unit” is a television show that made its debut in 1999. One of the main characters, Olivia Benson started as a detective who was partnered with her male counterpart, Senior Detective Elliot Stabler. She was portrayed as the ‘good cop’ to the bad cop where the Elliot would revert to physical violence and she was the compassionate, level-headed character. After 15 seasons, the role of Olivia Benson has changed. She was junior detective for twelve seasons, and it wasn’t till the fifteenth season that she was promoted to Sergeant. They portrayed the character as a single mother and successful law enforcement agent. I feel that this evolution is important because it shows how women’s roles in society has evolved significantly. If Olivia was brought on in 1999, as a Sergeant and a single mother, the show’s success would have been directly affected. Society during this time was influenced by the media’s presentation of women in the workforce being subservient to their male counterparts. However, for the purpose of this article, I feel that this show portrays how media has evolved and the role of women and their stereotypes has changed significantly in the past decade.
Example of Past and Present: Enough
The film takes place in Los Angeles where the waitress, Slim, is romanced by a well-to-do businessman Mitch Hiller. The fairytale story shows how he wins her over by being a great guy and they get married and have a kid. The story changes however shortly after the baby is born. Slim finds out that Mitch is having an affair and threatens to leave. It is at this point that he becomes physically abusive, and Slim has very little options except to stay and put up with his cheating and abuse. She finally decides to leave him, and his money provides him the opportunity to hunt her down regardless of where they go and hide. Slim did not have the opportunity to turn to the legal system for help because he had too much money and influence over the authorities. I feel that referencing this film is important for the readers to understand that women have had limited rights in their relationships in the past. Having menial jobs and little resources has required them to remain behind their men, regardless if they are happy or not. The only escape that slim was afforded was when she physically fought back and removed him completely from the picture. It is important to see that women’s rights have been challenged and their only form of hope is to literally and figuratively fight back.
Newspapers, journals, and written literature has also directly influenced the stereotypes associated with women and their role in society. It sets an expectation for which the norms and standards are determined. I want this article to show how both visual and written media not only creates stereotypes, but it sets expectations for the society in which we live. There was a time when the newspaper would consider a women leaving her husband as news worthy. Now it is an event that takes place on a daily basis, and it not considered to be newsworthy. Recently, the newspapers were filled with the new of the first fulltime women referee in the National Football League. Women running for presidency, and taking significant positions in the political field. I think it is important to see how women in society and what they are accomplishing is continually evolving. If the news provided a negative position on the first women’s National Football League referee or the political events, it would directly influence how people perceive the evolution in a negative light, versus a positive change. The readers of Astro Book Magazine can see how media directly influences the societal view and stereotypes of women.
Castillo, Bel Hernandez. (nd). Beyond Stereotypes. Retrieved from http://www.latinomagazine.com/summer12/features/hollywood.htm