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Patriarchal ideology, gender and media

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  1. Introduction.
  2. Evolution of patriarchal ideology.
    1. The visual media.
    2. Women in the Western civilisation.
  3. The case of gender representation in cinema.
    1. Patriarchal ideology laughed away in Swimming Pool by Francois Ozon.
    2. Photography as a medium of communication.
    3. Attempts to dislocate the woman from familiar places.
  4. Modern media and differentiated gender representation.
    1. Feminist theories of the media.
    2. Justification of such theories in the modern visual media.
  5. The example of the 50's housewife reading Cosmopolitan.
  6. Women' s roles in film.
  7. Conclusion.

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). [...]

[...] In conclusion, we can say that the alleged differentiation in gender representation in contemporary visual media can either be the result of patriarchal values which are still reproduced or else the need to meet current trends and consumer demand, as can be illustrated in the fact that men are represented more extensively in newspapers than in advertising, where women are the dominant weapon for consumer attraction. Moreover the obvious popularity of the soap opera among women can be questioned, as C. [...]

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