Gender and the Media

As we all already knew the facts that media is one of the most powerful and pervasive that shaping people’s perspectives, attitudes, values and behavior. No doubts, it is the important roles to influence our mindset on how we view a man and women. It plays significant roles that provide an understanding to the viewers about the gender roles that play in the real world. (Morawitz & Mastro, 2008)

Look at what has been shown in the mass media today, we shocked that most of the media especially in advertising are negative portrayal of women. It used the woman’s body to shows the masses but not showing how intelligence and leadership women can be. Besides that, media are also conducted our mindset about the ideal of beauty. (Goodall, 2012)Those who have fair skin, nice body, and slim are the one can be known as pretty otherwise it was not. But, does it really right to portray that? For me, I strongly not agree. It is because it given negative impacts especially for us especially the young girls’ lack of self-confidence on who they are.

On the other hand, it’s not only the advertising media has negatively representation of women in the media. Surprisingly, Disney films are one of the best examples that clearly demonstrate and portray in the gender roles as well.

imgPrincessCharacter

Photo credit : disneyandmovies.pbworks.com

When we were little kids, I’m pretty sure many of us grew up by watching Disney films. Disney is one of the largest companies that give us a good childhood memories. Because of the fairy tales stories and the gender representation in the characters, it influences the children to think in a certain way. The Disney Princess is a role model of children, this is why everyone has a dream and hopes for becoming a Disney Princess. The fairy tales stories that shown in the film are allow us to imagine and fantasize ourselves into the characters. However with so much exposure to the Disney films, somehow the messages that showing in the films might mislead and misinformed us.

In the early age, Disney was tend to portray women must be soft, weak, and wait for a man to love. This phenomenon mainly can be found in the earlier films that release in Disney such as “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” and “Cinderella”.  In the films “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” which was made in 1937 has given an idea that love is “easy”.  In this whole film, it does not show the process of falling in love. The Snow White manages to wake up and be in love with the prince after her prince awoke her with a true love kisses and they live happily at the end. (Sawyer,2013) In addition, it also portrays that woman should take care of the house without complaint at all. In the film “Cinderella”, it shows that Cinderella was doing her domestic tasks such as cleaning, washing without any complaint. She unable to stand up for herself when the time her stepmother is bully and scold her. (Dawn, Lara & Melissa, 2011)

Based on this, given a wrong message has become a serious issue especially in the children’s media. Children are always known as the active learners, they imitative on what the media has been shown. Because of the information in the media has affects and could be persuaded the perception of the children. (Wood, 1994)This is why, comparing to the past and the Disney films today it definitely show the changes. We’ve noticed that the female character in Disney film has no longer being portrayed as the feminist side but added up some of the masculine characteristic as well such as “Pocahantas”, “Mulan” is the most obvious films that have been portrayed the women independence.

Besides that, the latest film “Frozen” are also one of the examples as well. This film is one of the interesting and good films that I ever seen. It is because the story plot is so different compare to others. Based on this film, we clearly knew that Disney has tried on something new to portray the characters in the film. Why I said so? Comparing with the earlier films that release, the story is basically all about the romance and fantasy but in this film it shows differently. The whole story was focusing about the sisterly love and how Princess Anna has save Princess Elsa and rescued the kiss from the love one.

Hans Reveal Frozen Comic

comic anna sacrifice

Photo credit : www.whataboutcynics.com

Furthermore, in this film it also shows that the perfectly prince charming has become more layered. In Frozen, Princess Anna believes her true love –Prince Hans is the only one can save her from death. But, unfortunately the male character has portray differently compare to the pass. There’s no longer show how protective a Prince must be. (Dalfonzo, 2013)  In this film, Prince Hans has become the bad guy characters and betrayed of Anna. Because of his greed on wealth and power, he ended up become a killer and tried to kill Princess Elsa.

Well based on all this explanation and examples given, obviously every one of us has a clear picture on the impact of media as well as the changes in Disney. Based on my own opinion, I think it was a good kick-start for Disney to showing something different and relates to the society and real life. Just like the movie “Frozen” it shows that the female can be strong, brave, protective all the time while the male character are not necessary must be muscular, and the good one. In addition, in “Frozen” it also telling the viewers about life can be a twist just like how Prince Han treats Princess Anna. Therefore, I think it is great to show Disney has taken the responsible to acknowledge the fact to the viewers on what is considered as entertainment, and what is considered as real.

References :

Dalfonzo, G 2013, ‘Frozen’s Cynical Twist on Prince Charming’, accessed 12/5/2014, http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2013/12/-em-frozen-em-s-cynical-twist-on-prince-charming/282204/

Dawn, E, Lara, D & Melissa, A 2011, ‘Gender Role Potrayal and Disney Princessess’, Science Business Media, vol.10, pp556-567.

Goodall, H 2012, ‘Media’s Influence on Gender Stereotypes’, accessed 12/5/2014, http://ezproxy.uow.edu.au/login?url=http://search.proquest.com.ezproxy.uow.edu.au/docview/1291075912?accountid=15112

May, B 2011, ‘ Beyond the Prince: Race and Gender Role Portrayal in Disney Princess Films’, Saint Mary’s College, accessed 12/5/2014, file:///C:/Users/user/Desktop/Final%20Senior%20Paper-May.pdf

Sawyer, N 2013, ‘Feminist Outlooks at Disney Princess’s’, James Madison University, accessed 12/5/2014, file:///C:/Users/user/Desktop/SawyerFinal.pdf

Wood, JT 1994, ‘Gendered Media: The Influence of Media on Views of Gender’, Communication, Gender and Culture, pp.231-244.

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