Feminine Gender Stereotypes and Sexuality in Mainstream Media (Essay Sample)
Length: 5 pages, typed, double-spaced, Times New Roman, 12 point font (excluding cover page and bibliography)
Sources: In addition to your readings, provide at least 6 outside sources. At least 3 outside sources must be a peer-reviewed/academic journal article.
Critically analyze Simone de Beauvoir's feminist perspective. How does her perspective on women's oppression compare to Patricia Hill Collins' perspective on this topic? To what extent are the theoretical ideas of these two authors useful for understanding ONE of the following 2 topics: (1) the debate about women's traditional roles in society OR (2) the portrayal of women in mainstream media (films, music, and/or television).
Hints and directions:
1. All papers should have an overall argument that is clearly stated in both the introduction and conclusion of the paper and which you develop in the body of your paper. If you can't answer:
“What's the point of the paper?” in one or two sentences, you still have work to do. In this case, the main point of your paper is your critical evaluation of the authors' theoretical arguments.
Although you need to layout each author's argument and discuss it, this discussion should relate to and provide the foundation for your evaluation of the author. You should not just evaluate the authors in one paragraph or in the conclusion. You must provide reasons for your evaluation of the author and cite evidence; don't just state your opinion of the author.
The Portrayal of Feminine Gender Stereotypes and Sexuality in Mainstream Media
Feminist theory is a social theory that explores the philosophical, fictional, and theoretical aspects of feminism in a bid to understand gender inequality within society. Through this theory, critical insights into nature, dynamics, and driving factors of feminism are explored. By exploring these aspects of feminism, this theory works to raise awareness about, as well as tackle gender inequality within the society, with the aim of ensuring both male and female sexes are considered equal, as well as treated so (Giddens et al. 18). Thinkers such as Simone de Beauvoir and Patricia Hill Collins have highlighted numerous ways in which anti-feminism sentiment and patriarchal ideation have been used to stifle the freedom of women to be truly free and comfortable in their gender and sexuality. This view on women's portrayal in society has been explored through mainstream media platforms such as television and mass media, and more recently, on social media. Through the depiction of feminism from the stereotypical patriarchal lenses, women have continually been portrayed as submissive, helpless, weak, and lesser than men, as demonstrated by Collins (Wyatt 54). For instance, many users of social media tend to be divided insofar as embracing feminism is concerned. The prevalence of hateful comments against women and feminism, which are supported by the right to free speech tend to inhibit the progress of advancing feminism and women empowerment. However, the decision by platforms such as Twitter and Facebook to take action against users advancing hateful comments on their social media accounts has been a rejuvenating shot in the advancement of women in media. Coupled with the sexual objectification of women, such stereotypes become robustly reinforced through media platforms such as television, making it difficult for the stereotypes to be eradicated.
One of the earliest experiences women have with gender stereotypes involves playtime as children. Toys are typically provided to children based on their gender, and many young girls are quickly inculcated into the harsh oppression of a patriarchal society that they will continue to endure for many years. With girls being given dolls and house sets and boys being given toy cars and balls, young girls are essentially reinforced with the ideology that they are required to be ‘girly' in order to actually qualify their gender. The manner in which toys are presented is also a factor that consistently undermines women. For instance, female dolls are often accompanied by house sets and even utensil sets for ‘tea parties' and other feminine activities. Such toys only reinforce the stereotypes that women are confined to housekeeping and other activities typically considered to be feminine. These stereotypes are consistently reinforced among young girls aged below 7, which tends to establish a foundation for keeping women confined to their patriarchal roles. This is one of the most elaborate forms of gender stereotypes still in action today, which Beauvoir highlights as a cause of oppression for women (Moi 268). This is because parents naturally assume that male children would prefer to play with toy cars and balls and female children would enjoy dolls and house sets, which are also assumptions that have their roots in the application of social stereotypes in advertising. From the depictions of young girls playing with doll sets in advertisements to the portrayal of women as submissive and often helpless beings (with a few exceptions of course) in films, television programs, and cartoons, many young girls are denied the chance to achieve true freedom as it is espoused by Beauvoir (de Beauvoir 291). This is an important aspe...
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