Are Women Being Represented Appropriately?

We are living in an age that the public opinion could be affected or even shaped by the media intensively. Don’t believe it?

In the year of 2001, a research article released by the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media investigated how women are being depicted on three major network prime time TV fictional series. The demographics and behaviors of main characters in both both of the genres: drama and comedy,  were codified by researchers. The result of the research indicated:

  1. The ratio of men to women characters was 1.7:1 ;
  2. Male characters were normally physically aggressive, while women were always being associated with verbal aggressions in comedies;
  3. Female characters in dramas and comedies were more likely to be depicted as the first to initiate affection toward the other party;
  4. Job status of women were normally lower.

According to the research, even though the ratio of men to women characters in prime-time TV shows were getting smaller, the process was much lower than expected. What might be the reason of this ratio? Why male characters were normally depicted as the one with higher social status? Scholar Jack Glascock suggested it could be a reflective representation of the real life. Because of the greater numbers of male producers and writers, female characters were short in terms of presence on the traditional media.

What about the representation of professional females? Sex objects; mother; child and iron maiden are the four typical stereotypes of women when it comes to professional women, according to a study conducted in 2009.

If you are able to recall of what Hilary Clinton being referred as “a scolding mother, talking down to a child” by CNN, you could have a mental picture of a political women being a victim of stereotyped as a bad tempered mom.

We love to claim that the society is becoming much more diverse and equal, yet would you still hold this opinion after seeing these mentioned facts?



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