In a study carried out in the mid-70s, B. Miles (1975: pg.un) found that the proportion of men and women in situation comedies was nearly similar. However, the author points out that the gender roles and the humor could still be traditional and sexist'. Thus, what we need to study in order to decide whether gender representation is still differentiated in the contemporary media is the precise ideology that has forged the notion and arguably the hypothesis of male power in modern visual media. Therefore, in a first argument, we will depict in what ways can patriarchal ideology, that is a set of ideas that support the power of men, be perceived as no longer verified in the modern visual media. On the other hand, we will survey how the idea of male power is still perpetrated in the contemporary representations of gender.
[...] Therefore, it can be said that women have a desire to emancipate from something that prevents them from exploring unknown environments. In the case of the visual media, it appears that male power could be what is maintaining a subordination of women in modern visual representations. Indeed, it is clear that the modern media nowadays invariably offers differentiated gender representation that seems to be based on a relationship of power. As a matter of fact, K. Woodward (1997:15) points out that signifying practices that produce meaning involve relations of power'. What is more, S. [...]
[...] Thus liberal feminists demand ‘equal access to the symbolic order [ non- traditional roles and non-sexist language' (Enriques, 2000), while radical feminism emphasizes women's difference from men and believe that women should create their own means of communications, as the present media is dominated by male owners in a patriarchal society which places them as subordinates. They are also concerned with the fact that the nuclear family is presented as the norm. Likewise, socialist feminism regards the media as ‘instruments' presenting the capitalist and patriarchal society as the ‘natural order' (Enriques, 2000). [...]
[...] However, a gap has been created between such representations and that of contemporary women's magazines. But, in reality, it seems that the modern Cosmopolitan still does carry some signs of male power, in advertisements in particular, where the ‘dumb blonde' stereotype has merely replaced that of the housewife. Thus, female inferiority is maintained in Western culture through the common ‘dumb blonde' stereotype, which Lacey argues, ‘serves the purpose of patriarchal ideology'. He goes further in saying that, If a woman was sexually attractive and intelligent then there is likelihood that she would be the dominant partner in any relationship, a role that bourgeois ideology defines as male. [...]
[...] Media, Gender and Identity, an introduction. London: Routledge, p Geraghty, C ‘Representation and popular culture' in Curran, J and Gurevitch, M (editors) Mass Media and Society, Third edition, London: Arnold, p.371. Gunter, B Television and Gender Representation, London: John Libbey. Pg.un. Far From Heaven Todd Haynes (writer, director). Main Cast: Julianne Moore, Dennis Quaid. Jhally, in Stuart Hall: Representation and the Media. The Media Education Foundation. Kaplan, E.Ann. 1983.Women and Film: both sides of the camera, London: Methuen, pp Lacey, N.1998. [...]
[...] While they used to be kept home and in the privacy of their family, which still is the case in some countries, women have in recent decades gained greater access to economical, social and political life, which obviously had a clear impact on the media, chiefly in the sense that it has induced conflicts of representation in a way that older models of patriarchal ideology can be said to be no longer valid and truthful of the current trends in relationships between men and women, which is why the evolution of gender roles in visual media needs to be explored further. [...]
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