Compare contrast essay - Part 2 - Gender Essay Example

            Men and women are shown through very different stereotypes in the eyes of the media.  Women are most often seen as either a very thin, young, and good looking character that is an object of sexual desire or as a high power figure trying to succeed in whichever career choice their character is following.  Men on the other hand, are usually shown in the media roles of a high power businessman, a sports figure or jock, or some sort of hero in general.  These stereotypes are not just developed by the image of the character.  The way that the character speaks, both to others and in inner dialogue with themselves, plays a large role in developing the personality and stereotype of the role.

            Despite her actual background a young, pretty, and thin blond girl would be judged by others as unintelligent, unaware of world issues, having several men that she dates, and spending her free time shopping, partying, and talking on the phone.  The media has created this image for many young girls.  In television and movies young girls talk to each other using the word “like” after every other word to show them as being air-headed.  They giggle constantly, make sexual innuendos, and often talk to their friends about boys.  An example of this is the movie The House Bunny.  Anna Faris plays Shelley Darlington, a playboy bunny that is kicked out of the mansion after her 27th birthday.  After packing up and leaving the mansion she is pulled over by a police officer.  He thinks she might be drunk so he tells her she is going to have to blow.  In response, she kneels down and unzips his pants.  Later she sees other groups of girls that are very skinny and barely have any clothes on.  She follows them, and to no surprise, they are sorority girls.  The hot girls do not like her so she joins the sorority with the ugly girls.  After giving those girls makeovers one girl comments, “So this is what it’s like to be not invisible.”  This tells the audience that to get any attention a girl must be pretty to look at.  Shelley meets a boy named Oliver that she likes while at the college, but he does not pay any special attention to her which she is not used to.  One of their first conversations starts out…

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Oliver: “You given any thought to who you might be voting for?”

Shelley: “I definitely won’t listen to what Simon says, he is just so mean. I usually always agree with Paula and Randy.”
Shelley: “Oh, you meant the president.”

This comment tells us that girls only care about and understand issues related to pop culture that takes little to no thought to enjoy.  When it comes to politics or news related issues they are clueless.  (IMDB, The House Bunny)

            Professional women are treated a little differently by the media.  Women are usually shown as businesswomen or in other roles of power on television shows that deal with law issues, such as Law and Order.  In movies powerful women are typically seen as high ranking officials in either an area of law enforcement or in the entertainment industry.  In these roles the women talk with an attitude.  They come across as sarcastic, conceited, emotionless, and mean.  The Devil Wears Prada is a good example of a woman executive in the fashion business and how she treats her associates and staff through dialogue.  Miranda Priestly is the editor of a fashion magazine in New York City.  Everyone that she works with is scared of her and calls her the shark woman behind her back.  She has an assistant, Emily, who jumps at her every command, and has filled the second assistant position with Andy, who knows nothing about fashion or the industry.  In response to simple everyday questions she answers with sarcastic insults such as, “By all means move at a glacial pace. You know how that thrills me,” or,”Did you fall down and smack your little head on the pavement?”  Emily wants to be the next Miranda Priestly and imitates her awful attitude with Andy, because Andy is below her.  Andy likes a pair of shoes that Emily is wearing and Emily responds with “You don’t deserve them, I mean you eat carbs, for Chrissake!”  Then when Andy is asked to make a delivery to Miranda’s house and accidentally goes upstairs Emily asks her, “You went upstairs? Why didn’t you just crawl into bed with her and ask for a bedtime story?”  This movie sends the message that women have to be insensitive and heartless to be successful in a position of power.  (IMDB, The Devil Wears Prada)

            Men are shown more positively in their media stereotypes.  Men usually play the action heroes and the jocks in both the movies and television.  Batman, the Hulk, Spiderman, and Ironman are all roles for men.  A man’s image does not limit him to certain roles like a female’s does.  Men tend to speak intelligently and tough.  Men curse often and make demeaning comments to women.  In the sitcom Two and a Half Men, two brothers named Charlie and Allen live together in Santa Monica, and usually have the goal of getting a certain woman to sleep with them.   Charlie is often trying to talk Allen into abandoning his wish to find one woman to love and instead sleep around with anyone he meets.  Charlie: “Hey, here’s a fun fact. You’re sleeping with a girl who was born when you were in Junior High, and yet there’s a good chance she lost her virginity before you did.”  In this television show it is completely okay for these two men to put down women for their own satisfaction while using graphic language.

Charlie: “Alan, there comes a time in every man’s life when he has to make a choice; does he want to be loved, or does he want to get laid. Fourteen years ago you made the wrong choice. You got married, and you wound up with neither. But now, fate has given you another chance. Welcome it. Embrace it. Grab its pert little ass.”
Alan: “What am I supposed to do, walk into my son’s birthday and say “Hey everybody, look at this gorgeous twenty-two year old woman I’m having sex with.”
Charlie: Oh don’t be silly. You don’t want to rub their faces in it; you just want them to know where yours has been.”  (Classic TV Quotes, Two and a Half Men)

Through the way they speak these characters are also reinforcing the stereotype of women as sex objects, and that being young and pretty is what decides a girl’s worth.

            Stereotyping different groups of people is harmful in a few different ways.  It puts people of one large group into very general categories, when people think and expect certain things from a particular group then that group will eventually start to act out those expectations, and it encourages prejudice in everyday life.  Overall, the stereotypes for men and women that media dialogue shows are negative for both sides.  If life were a television show we are teaching the country that it is acceptable to talk to women like sex objects and then throw them away.  Men are tough and can act and do what they want.  It is okay to judge a woman on her appearance but a man’s appearance does not have an affect on his personality and speech skills.  The media is encouraging unintelligent and unhealthy speech and actions from both genders in terms of interactions with themselves and each other.

References

IMDB: The Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 1, 2009, from Memorable Quotes for The Devil Wears Prada Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0458352/quotes

Memorable quotes for The House Bunny. Retrieved March 1, 2009, from IMDB: The Internet Movie Database Web site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0852713/quotes

Two and a Half Men Quotes. Retrieved March 1, 2009, from Classic TV Quotes Web site: http://www.classictvquotes.com/quotes/shows/two-and-a-half-men/

 

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