Gender is a societal construct of the roles of men and women in the society. According to Asher and Lloyd, (2002), gender stereotype refers to the beliefs people hold about members of categories of men and women. Gender role are described by social scientists as “socially constructed”, which they vary from one culture to another. It all depends on how we are socialized in different cultures since childhood and who we interact with that defines our gender role. Most social upbringings present women as the weaker sex who needs to be protected and to just stay at home. Men on the other hand are seen as the bread winners and that they work to provide and to protect their families. Both men and women perceive the world differently according to how they are socialized. Beliefs regarding appropriate behavior also influence how men and women interact.
Television has however enhanced stereotypical role in that’ they portray a “good” woman as the one who is submissive and domesticated. Femininity therefore is associated with traits that are emotional, prudent, co-operative, having communal sense and compliance to certain aspects. Television portrays women as emotional beings and that they talk more than the men. Men as per the media are suppose to demonstrate their power and authority during interaction thus they tend to dominate during conversations. Men on the other hand are portrayed as concerned with report aspects that are based on facts thus using different communication styles from women.
“Even within a culture masculinity and femininity may be defined differently by various groups, in particular according to ethnicity, age, social class and sexuality. In this sense there is no single masculinity or femininity, but rather multiple masculinities and femininities. Not all men are ‘leader like’, ‘aggressive’, ‘assertive’, ‘independent’, ‘risk-taking’ and so on; and not all women are ‘affectionate’, ‘gentle’, ‘sympathetic’, ‘dependent’, ’emotional’, ‘nurturing’ etc. Such qualities are found in varying degrees in most people” (Curran& Michael.eds., 1991)
They continue to argue that all men and women are aware of the cultural traditional gender stereotypes and the television network contributes to this awareness. Men will usually seek achievement and dominance in cultural expectations and that women will be with complaints and be supportive. The relationship of people to these expectations often involves tension that usually boils up.
This categorization thus influences our perception and teaches us how society wants us to behave as men and women. Both men and women do the same role nowadays for example they go to work in the morning and return in the evening just like the men do. It is therefore paramount that all these stereotypes portrayed by the television are countered so that both men and women see each other as equals and that they can do the same jobs regardless of their gender.
DeFleur defines socialization as a complex, long-term, and multidimensional set of communicative exchanges between individuals and various agents of society that result in the individual’s preparation for life in a socio cultural environment (DeFleur, 209). According to Max Weber a German sociologist, sociology is the study of society social sciences which aimed at developing and refine a body of knowledge about human social living through critical investigation and analysis with the aim of applying gathered knowledge to the pursuit of social welfare. (Wilson, 1989)
The essence of education in society has influenced the way in which cultural communities associate, in television there different target of audience and the messages portrayed are passed frequently either by male or female. Most of business advertisements uses both sex ads depending on the product they want to create awareness and likeability e.g. a company which sale motor vehicles will likely use men to pass the message while various companies that deals with body lotions or domestic products are likely to use women. However occupations equivalence is now based on education merit and professional ability to handle critical task. This helps to brainstorm working in the society where women too can do most professional jobs as their male counterparts. In recent years there has been a notable increase of women presenters and perhaps the attribute of physical attractiveness has played a huge part in their selection than for their male counterparts.
The effects of gender stereotyping in today’s society
Greater societies have adopted gender etiquette due to political, social and economic human rights mostly communicated via the television, this role is relevant to household for well being of the society in general. Through educative programs, television is the most realistic mode of communication. Television still perpetuate traditional gender because it reflects social values, However, television shows a small, distorted view of reality, which can damage people’s views of the real world, and this can influence how people think and behave. Television has always been a male dominated area based on masculinity perspective and implicit narratives judgments. However, there are other theoretical considerations, criticisms and assumptions that arise from the cultivation theory, and which are mainly addressed in the work of Huston and Wright. Cultivation theory needs to rely on other approaches such as the influence of the family, the child’s cognitive development, the amount and most importantly the type of television the child watches; this is to fully understand the socialization development.
In the today’s media fraternity departments, (e.g. television production) is highly male dominated which is influenced by stereotypes with the aspect of masculinity. However females will soon move to such technical areas due to advancement of technology whereby portable production equipments can be handled by women. Professionalism has created a balance race on job specifications curbing bias. Television alone is not enough to change people gender roles, it is vital that role models contribute broader perspective on stereotypes about what both sexes can do. ( Joyrich, 1996)
To various communities watching television can be quite awful especially to little children who watch much of television, most a time can lead to complications in change of behavior, e.g. crying and other violent or excessive aggressiveness, which probably can be due to the programs which kids sees that might be violent.
Research contacted by reality TV, American idol, attached over 50% market share indicating that over 50 % of television viewers watched the show, reality TVs watched all over the world and UK 2000 70% of population watched of ages 8-65+ have watch TV regularly, and
The research will be conducted using primary and secondary methods, the questionnaires for data collection externally. The questionnaire will have both open-ended and closed-ended questions, this are aimed at explaining the way in which television portrays adult gender stereotypical roles and the effects this may have on today’s society. Questionnaires will be advantageous to the researcher while collecting data because less time will be spent. The method will allow the researcher to collect data from the large number of respondents quickly. In addition, the respondents will have enough time to read and understand the questions before answering them. Content analysis will also be used to analyze the number of viewers and listeners based on frequency at which stereotypical roles are aired on television. This will be analyzed by stating who says what, to whom, why, to what extend and with what effect. Desk research will be collected from various books, magazines, social journals, internet to corroborate the findings from the field.
The data will be analyzed quantitatively using descriptive statistics with the support of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS). (Nachmias & Guerrerro, 1996). It says that descriptive statistics has an advantage to the researcher because it allows a researcher to organize information in an effective way and also allows information to be reduced to an understandable form. The descriptive statistics to be used will include simple tallying procedures such as frequency distributions, pie chart, bar graphs and histograms.
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Television has contributed to shaping gender roles. The society has in one effect due to cultural norms streamlined the possibility that women can also work competently and there is no doubt that television is a vital tool that presents powerful attention and mind grabbing images and programs, however the anchors gender should always be balanced and not based on cultural beliefs rather profession ability to handle the task.
Television today is proofing to be one of the most important and most considered medium of communication. Media has an impact in bringing change to the society, e.g. through television mass audiences get to share a variety of identical experience, socialize and others create business opportunities. Television is a set to observe positive successful ideologies and probably assume it is one source in which the society should adopt change.
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