The exposures of women in the mass media have been an evident part in the daily affairs of humanity (Olenick). The presence of mass media as a tool of communication has increased largely because of the technological innovations consistently being introduced not only in advancing the productivity rate of media organizations but also in expanding the capacity of the various media outlets to include a wider range of topics (Hudson).
With this expansion, the subjects incorporated into the mass media has also been augmented (Graber) such that former topics that were once rarely untouched have now been constantly infused with unceasing publicity such as those that tackle Information and Communications Technology (ICT).Contemporary trends in the media have not also failed to divulge into matters that concern women in various ways.
Television documentaries as well as scholarly journals and entertainment publications have been constant players in bringing forth the issues that revolve around the lives of women. Apart from all these, advertisements have contributed largely to the depiction of the image of various women in a broad number of societies and fields of interest (Wortzel and Frisbie).Among these types of advertisements, there are those that, in promoting certain forms of products, portray women largely in terms of their physical appearance. The very appearance commonly being presented before the watching populations are those that show “slim” women who are seemingly happy and contented with their lives (Morant).
Conversely, the attitude being thrown upon “fat” women illustrates a life of misery and the continued efforts in achieving the goal of having a slender body (Benas and Gibb).Previous researches: a look into what has been assessedThe crucial points mentioned have been the center of several researches and studies that aim at shedding light and understanding on the consequences brought about by these media portrayals to women in general (Burd).
Whereas a number of these researches and studies have shown that the media’s representation of women has been both a direct and an indirect factor in the development of a woman’s negative perception of the self (Greenwald), one can also attempt to take the opposite side by insisting that media’s representation of women has a negligible effect on the self- image of women based on gathered data and its interpretation (Lee).While the underlying question being resolved by both sides of these scholarly attempts revolves around the question as to whether media has its effects on the self-esteem and perception of women, another fundamental question can be raised.
Should the media’s representation of women be considered a factor in the development of negative self-image among women?It is a fact that the media, in general, has procured a large number of specific portrayals of women that vary according to their age, national background, educational attainments and several other factors. Although there are articles claiming that the media has no role in the development of the women’s self-esteem(Wright), there is wide agreement among a number of researches showing that the media, indeed, brings both positive as well as negative effects on a woman’s self-image (Klapper).
By utilizing these studies that support the idea of the media harboring consequences to women, we can further proceed with the assessment on the effects of media by using the general argument that the media plays a contributive role in the creation of destructive self-images on the part of female individuals.Setting the grounds for the researchWith these things in mind, the main thesis that this paper will adopt is that the media’s representation of women has a negative impact on women’s perception on these representations from the media.
Supporting evidences needed to sustain the claim are to be taken mainly from previous scholarly researches and academic studies that center on the self-esteem of women in the context of exposures with the images of women in mass media (Holmstrom). Other references needed to maintain the argument are also to be extracted from several theories that put a premium emphasis on the hierarchy of the needs of individuals and on how people respond to these needs (Lester et al.).In the same light, articles that touch on the opposite side of the claim are also to be utilized so as to review the probable refutations to the claim and to seek the best means in order to arrive at a solid conclusion.
The research, in general, is primarily limited to the grounds of the media’s representation of women as a factor that brings negative impact on the women’s body as well as on their self-esteem and, hence, their perception on these images.Conducting the researchIn order for the woman to have at least a perception on the images being presented by the media, one must first have an exposure to these representations.
Consequently, there should also be the comprehension or understanding that there is indeed a representation being portrayed in the media. Once an understanding is already established, the way in which the individual comprehends these representations should elicit a response from the person in order to arrive at and establish a necessary connection between the representations being given by the media to the possible responses that a woman may have.
In order to arrive at the proper execution of the research, several factors that may appear to intertwine with the subject should be identified and be omitted. This is in order to avoid the injection of facts and ideas that have little or no relevance to the study. Otherwise, once these elements are included in the scope of the research, there is the risk of not arriving at the substantial information.Among the aspects that should be refrained from putting into the context of the research are the cultural factors that shape the perception of women.
The reason to this is that the focus of the research centers on the effects and influences of the media representations of women on the perception of women towards these representations (Park). Cultural attributes are in no part of the research largely because the focus on the images from the media amply limits the context upon which the research is to operate. Though these cultural attributes bear importance to some respect in other field of research, it does not share a significant and relevant portion with the study. Ample room can be given to these attributes in relation to other parallel researches.
Although there remains the possibility that the media representations on woman can also have direct and indirect effects towards men in general and that these latter consequence may pose a significant effect to women, it remains an excluded part of the research. This is primarily because the issues being raised in such a situation are not part of the research.Rather, the core of the research strictly implies the direct correlation between women and the representations given by the media. To insist on including the consequent effects on men from these representations are beyond the delimitations of the research and, hence, are not significantly related to the undertaking.
Though, to a certain degree, it may posit a level of importance to other fields of research as well as to studies being conducted that concentrate on the effects of these images on men that serves as the link between the representations from the media and the perception of women on these images, it remains outside the perimeters of this research.Another factor that must be left out is the role of the family in the very perception of women, ranging from children to adults.
Since the research seeks to establish the link that will bridge together the two variables-media representations and the perception of women towards these representations-it should be the case that the intervening variables must remain beyond the context of the research albeit these intervening variables may be pursued in another study.In this case, the role of the family as an intervening variable should be treated as not an integral part of the research.
Although researches have already been made that sought to concretize the underlying connection between the roles of the family in influencing the perception of women with regards to their self-esteem (Thompson and Heinberg), these are nevertheless researches that delve into another point of interest.
In general, it is critical as well as ultimately important in any type of research that parameters have to be made in order to arrive at the objectives set forth in the research by carefully selecting which factors are to be excluded and which ones are to be kept in the research process. Related literature is, indeed, of equal significance in providing additional backbone for extracting the necessary items in conducting any type of research. However, this does not entirely grant merit for the inclusion of all types of related literature.
This brings us into the next question: what factors are to be kept and used in the research?Elements in the researchIn order to meet the argument that the representations of women by the media results to negative perceptions from women on these representations, the essential factors that contribute to the research must be properly identified. After pinpointing the elements that are crucial to the research, these factors are to be used in analyzing the correlation between the two primary variables and in determining the probability of the resulting findings.
One of the fundamental factors that must be utilized and expounded upon in the research is the set of representations coming from the media that depict images of women. The images should resemble those of “slim” women primarily from the printed media mainly because printed media such as women’s magazines are widely read by women and that the images printed in these publications can be closely looked upon and scrutinized by women on a longer period of time compared to advertisements and documentaries in televisions.
Another is a set of related literatures that focuses on matters such as how women’s perceptions are created, how women react to “negative” images, as well as media publications that feature representations of “slim” women. Utilizing the important fractions of ideas from these former researches and studies as well as the possible contentions to these set of literatures, the research can then be pursued.After gathering the necessary and important materials in the research, an analysis will be done with regards to these elements in the context of the argument being presented in the research. Consequently, an analysis of the resulting information will proceed from scrutinizing these elements which will eventually pave the way for the findings of the research and the concluding statements.
But prior to arriving at the findings, a proper consideration for the probable set of contentions against the supporting literature as well as to the research itself will be pursued in order to weigh the merit of the analysis of the factors in the research. With the available researches and findings previously established that either support or contradict the thesis of this research, further analysis will be made after which we are then able to arrive at the findings and, finally, the conclusion.Conclusion and further remarksMass media has advanced in terms of its expanse of reach in terms of technological innovations in the last few decades. With such expansion, representations of women from the media have also risen.
Meanwhile, women are constantly being exposed to the written media that portrays these images. The purpose, then, of this research is to arrive at the understanding on the impact of these negative representations towards women and their perception towards these images by arriving at the necessary connection between the two primary variables.
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