- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- The four interrelated stereotypic binaries are active/passive, public/private, logical/emotional,
and sexual subject/sexual object.
- 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
- Notions of power and physical prowness begin to define masculinity and “being man” in
- 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,