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Gender Inequality and Stereotypes in the Media

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 2352 words Published: 8th Feb 2020

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Gender inequality can be characterized as esteeming one particular sex over another because of socially developed perspectives for instance, in a few countries, ladies are paid more than men in their work place or ladies are not permitted to be educated. “The degree of sexual orientation disparity contrasts among ladies and men in access to rewards, assets, positions, rights, and benefits shifts incredibly from society to society, yet when all is said and done men have more noteworthy access to the social perquisites than ladies” (Almquist 400).

       Gender stereotype are socially built perspectives about jobs of people in the general public that eventually characterize sex attributes. For instance, ladies are required to give birth to children and comply with their spouses. They are additionally anticipated that they would be supporting, dutiful, hesitant and powerless (Bauer 24).

        The handmaid’s tale, Yellow wall paper and The Epic of Gilgamesh all depict gender inequality and stereotypes among men and women. Women in the film are viewed as less important and individuals who are only seen as beings who are only supposed to bear children. Their worth is only measured by their fertility, they are given stereotypical roles as women who are supposed to just stay at home and perform sexual acts based on a mans way, women are demined to sexual objects and individuals who have to adhere to men’s instructions forcefully with no complains.

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        In the film and the writings referenced before, we will explore how genders are not treated equally and are portrayed as sexual objects in TV and the society in general. The films and texts both convey women especially, as individuals who are required to obey the orders of men and give birth to children. They are lessened to their womanhood and are forced to participate in stereotypical roles as women in the society.

        These women have no choice but to yield to society’s desires and keep on living under the control of men. As a result, the gender inequality and stereotypes depicted in TV and society explains how women face and challenge society’s social construction in which they suffer.

       “One highly pervasive and naturalistic environmental context within which gender stereotypes may be formed, strengthened, and activated is through television. Television commercials are a pervasive source of social information. More than 90% of Americans own televisions and the average American views approximately 714 advertisements each” (Howard 1049).

       Gender stereotypes and inequality are usually portrayed and formed in TV, we are shown the different ways women are stereotypically treated in the society as individuals who are weak and are supposed to abide to orders given by men (Howard 1049).

        An examples of this is the handmaid’s tale by Margaret Atwood, the film shows how women are held captive in the society are forced and belittled by to commanders of the society to give birth to children for them and their barren wives. “Fertility is a gift directly from God. He left you intact for a biblical purpose, you girls will serve the leaders of the faithful and their barren wives, you will bear children for them. You are so lucky!” (Atwood 18:24).

The women in the Republic of Gilead are treated leaser than men, they are not allowed to read, write or participate in the activities of the society and are severely punished if they do not abide to the society’s rules.

       Sexual orientation stereotypic TV promotions play a role in molding individuals’ self-ideas; past investigations have concentrated solely on the sex generalizations related with a specific sex job that of woman as a homemaker. Progressively, as it may be, the context of sexual orientation stereotypic TV advertisements has depicted women as sex objects (Bauer 24).

In the Handmaid’s Tale the women in the society have no rights, they have been disavowed, and consequently women are depicted as sex objects and are forced to have sex with their consent.

       The Handmaid’s Tale presents ladies as properties of men, these women are stripped off everything including their names, rights and bodies.“My name is offered, I had another name but it is forbidden now. So many things are forbidden now” (Atwood 5:43).

The bodies of the women are claimed by men as they are mishandled, transformed into maids and objects. It is apparent that the handmaids are exposed to forceful sex in other to give birth to children for the commander and their wives.

         In the film, there are numerous inferences to forceful sexual acts and gender stereotype which is obvious when the women were made to have sex with commanders in other to bear children for them. “And when Rachel saw she could not bear children for Jacob, she said to Jacob give me children or else I die…” (Atwood 31:00).

The society has made this act normal, treating men better than women and characterising them as sexual objects in the society.

       “Stereotypes about women are multidimensional constructs reflecting beliefs about traditional gender roles, behaviors, and traits. As definitional boundaries, gender role stereotypes relegate women to positions in the home as mothers, wives, and caregivers. Stereotypic traits associated with women include compassion, warmth, and emotional sensitivity” (Baeur 24).

       Women are usually seen as the weaker gender in the society and are therefore stigmatized as genders who must obey the opposite sex and follow their rules. As both genders are married the society has developed a stereotype whereby the men are supposed to be the ones to make the rules in which the women must answer to with no questions. Men are tagged as the ones who work and provide for the family while women are supposed to stay at home and take care of the house and the children.

      The Yellow Wallpaper explores vividly on the traditional gender roles of the society, the short story line shows an example of gender roles in the home and as a family.

John who is the head of the family and the husband is shown as the decision maker of the family and gives rules to his sick wife who must abide them and whenever she refuses to follow his orders he tries to threaten her. “John says if I don’t pick up faster he shall send me to Weir Mitchell in the fall” (Gilman 3).

      This shows how much power men have over women in the society, men are seen as the stronger gender and the most rational which makes them entitled to women.

      The narrator is forced to stay at home and not allowed to write or work, she is considered by her husband to be delicate, enthusiastic, and liberal. “So I take phosphates or phosphites—whichever it is, and tonics, and journeys, and air, and exercise, and am absolutely forbidden to “work” until I am well again” (Gilman 1).

      Through the text we are shown the different ways women willing submit to their husband’s rules because the society has developed that stereotype of them being the head. Even though women are forced by men to follow their rules due to the society’s social construction we are shown in the text how the narrators challenge her husband’s instructions without caring about the consequences. 

       Due to her inability to communicate with anyone or write and read, the narrator created a mysterious image of a woman in her head, the woman trapped behind the bars shows how most women feel trapped in their own home due to the inequality they face in their marriage.

At the end of the story we are told how the husbands faints when he finds out that his wife had been creeping in the room he locked her in, he is supposed to be the stronger individual but turns out he is weak after all.

      This shows how men are stereotyped to be the strongest and the most rational in the society but this isn’t true because men are also weak and both genders are supposed to be treated the same with out the need to make one gender more superior than the other.

       In the Epic of Gilgamesh N.K. Sandars translation, women are depicted as sexual creatures in this text. At the point when Enkudu is created he is sent to a woman in other to benurtured, she is being referred to as a harlot and not by any means given a name.

       Through out the text the lady was being referred to as an object, she didn’t have a name which makes her character as woman more demining. The text portrays her as a sexual object who is supposed to nurture and make Enkidu a human through sexual contact. “There he is. Now, woman, make your breasts bare, have no shame, do not delay but welcome his love. Let him see

you naked, let him possess your body. When he comes near uncover yourself and lie with him; teach him, the savage man, your woman’s art, for when he murmurs love to you the wild’ beasts that shared his life in the hills will reject him” (Sanders 4).

       At the end of the day the women were able to make Enkidu a human, she was able to transform him from a wild man to a human who could live in the society.

          This text has given us an insight of how women are portrayed in the society, they are treated as beings who are supposed to take care of men and nurture them into stronger individuals. Women are tagged as the ones who can change men and be used as sexual objects for men’s sexual satisfaction.

           Through examples from the film and texts used above we are able to explore how gender inequality and stereotypes have been developed in the society. This social construction of how males and females are supposed to act and be like in the society has affected the lives of both genders especially women. Women are seen as the weaker link, who are supposed to be given instructions by men who are seen as the decision makers of the society.

         In this present century Tv is a source of information and an influencer in the society, ideas can be formed and learned from through Tv. Through films and various online text, we are able to view male and female roles which had become a norm in the society.

         The society in general especially the media is the most important influencer on how individuals view or perceive men and women today. Different kinds of messages are passed across to us about how men and women are supposed to be treated.

         Men are usually depicted as the more important individual in the society while women are views as objects or invisible in the society. This social construction has been normalized in the society, the traditional gender roles, gender stereotype and the mistreatment of women in the society are all being portrayed as normal in the society.

        Through the dystopian film the handmaid’s tale, the texts yellow wallpaper and the epic of Gilgamesh we are able to explore the different ways women are treated unequally and how tradition stereotypical roles are being normalized in the society.

We are able to see view how women are given roles are nurturers, sex objects and individuals who are supposed to follow the instructions of men because women are seen as the invincible minorities and less important than men.


  • Almquist, Elizabeth M. “Labor Market Gender Inequality in Minority Groups.” Gender and Society, vol. 1, no. 4, 1987, pp. 400–414. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/189634.
  • Atwood, Margaret. “The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 1.” 123movies, www5.123movie.cc/seasons/the-handmaids-tale-season-1/.
  • Bauer, Nichole M. “Rethinking Stereotype Reliance: Understanding the Connection between Female Candidates and Gender Stereotypes.” Politics and the Life Sciences, vol. 32, no. 1, 2013, pp. 22–42. JSTOR, JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43287266.
  • Gilman, Perkins Charlotte. The Yellow Wallpaper. Project Gutenberg. http://www.gutenberg.org/1952/1952-h/1952-h.htm, 2008.
  • Lavine, Howard, et al. “Depicting Women as Sex Objects in Television Advertising: Effects on Body Dissatisfaction.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 25.8 (1999): 1049-58. Web.
  • 2 Dec. 2018.
  • Sanders, N. K.  The Epic of Gilgamesh. Assyrian International News Agency books online

 www.aina.org, 2016.


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