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Feminist Analysis.docx

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Media Studies
Gray Graffam

Feminist Analysis - Biological quality of hair becomes a way that we understand the cultural rules surrounding what it means to be masculine or feminine- - The associations and meanings between biology and culture are exemplified through feminist analysis. - Feminist scholars look at how the limiting nature of mass media texts that reinforce dominant social understandings of sex and gender. - Feminism: explores the diverse ways men and women are socially empowered or disempowered. - Sexism : discrimination based upon a person’s sex. - Feminism is a political project that is focused on deconstructing sexist oppression present in our everyday norms and experiences. - Sex: refers to the innate biological differences between men and women: anatomy , reproduction, hormones, etc. - Gender: refers to culturally constructed differences between men and women, such as tastes, roles, activities, etc. - It is a biological fact that only women can give birth to children, but the tendency to view women as nurturing and mothering is a gendered quality. - We tend to understand gendered qualities as sexual ones , understanding culturally constructed norms as innate biological traits - Essentialism: the belief that gender distinctions are innate and natural - Patriarchy : a system of power relations in which women’s interests are subordinate to those of men. - Patriarchy essentializes women in a way that devalues them while serving the interests of men. - Patriarchal systems empower men and disempower women by making constructed, gender power imbalances seem natural and innate. - We may not consider ourselves sexist , because we are not literally sexist- but we play the game of sexism – when we go out into the world and take part in social systems that are inherently sexist- makes us sexist as well - All men are sexist, but women are too because we are all playing by the rules of the game when we unconsciously enact sexist social conventions - The gendered expectations that patriarchy places on women also exert pressure on men , often demanding that men show little emotion , avoid certain occupations or act as the breadwinner of families. - Stereotype: is a misleading and simplified representation of a particular social group. Stereotypes are damaging because they gloss over the complex characteristics that actually define a social group and reduce its members to a few. - Stereotypes or mental categories of people we carry with us, allow us to quickly process information about strangers by greatly reducing the amount of information that we have to take in. - The stereotypes that we see everythday often lend their texts a certain sense of credibility with media audiences - When media images feature stereotyping gain an informal credibility because they match some of the common stereotypes people use every day to reduce information processing. Gendered Stereotypes in American Media - Stereotypes of masculinity are defended by power , significance, agency , and social influence. - Stereotypes of femininity are defined by by powerlessness, insignificance, passiveness, and limited control - The four interrelated stereotypic binaries are active/passive, public/private, logical/emotional, and sexual subject/sexual object. Active/passive - Mainstream media representations of men and masculinity are often marked by strength and activity. Advertisements tend to portray men engaging in sports , working with tools, or driving powerful vehicles and the models in advertisements are often full of vitality or in clear physical shape. - Notions of power and physical prowness begin to define masculinity and “being man” in American society - Contrast between men and women: - Men are portrayed as strong , powerful individuals who are in control of the situation portrays the image of masculinity as one of power and strength. - Kate Moss advertisement: moss is merely to be visually consumed like a piece of art (no background images) , she is portraying the image of femininity as being passive and vulnerable to the influence of others. - Chan implies that drinking milk will make readers active and strong,
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