sabato 3 novembre 2012

Gender stereotypes in mass media

Gender roles: question of natural differences or cultural constructs?
Mass Media both reflect and shape society: which images of women and men TV, advertising, press bring out? How gender stereotypes influence people's life?
Stereotypes create fixed and reductive images of a social group. These images usually represents women:
  • as domestic providers or sexual objects
  • with a beautiful and young body, often very thin
  • holding traditional female roles, such as mother and wife
  • practicing jobs as subordinates
Stereotypes reproduced by Mass Media have real consequences. They reinforce a patriarchal culture deep-rooted in many countries and they stand in the way of equal opportunities.
In Italy, for examples, data show how stereotypes can shape a society: the percentage of unemployed women are greater then the percentage of unemployed men, women are less paid then men with the same job, women are a “phantom-presence” in politics and they difficultly hold a position of responsibility at work. Instead women are supposed to do housework, raise children and take care of the oldest members of the family, much more than their partners.
The Word Economic Forum has measured the gender gap in 135 countries considering economic participation and opportunity, educational attainment, health and survival, political empowerment. Italy is collocated on the 80th position, after countries of the third word, as Vietnam, Kenya and Uruguay.
We have to think how stereotypes influence all spheres of our life, conditioning our choices. Women, are we really free? 

Angela Pulliero

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