Introduction throughout this report. Literature review My literature research

Introduction

 

A current development of today’s media is the rise in the objectification
of women in society. This is explicitly shown through music videos, music,
television and movies, where the main focal point of women is as sex symbols
instead of individuals. The destructive consequence of this upon society is the
creation of social stereotypes for people, which often lead to corrupt habits
for both men and women in a social or physical form. This report aims to
analyze not only popular forms of entertainment media that subsumes to such
objectification but also how it affects the society. My core research question
is “how is society affected by the medias presentation of women?” We seldom
confront this issue as the more the media promotes sexual imagery of women it
appears the more are purchased. As follows, the media is capable of embodying
the society’s sense of romantic life, sex and the ‘norms’ of society according
to them. Advertising and the images provided by the industry that persuades
females to devote themselves to their appearance and desirability are damaging
in terms of their physical and emotional health. This is what I will be
observing throughout this report.

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Literature review

 

My literature research on the objectification of women through the
media provided a clear argument of the strong affect it has upon women. Our
culture buys into the imagery of women being presented as sexual objects as the
use of such objectification produces profit for the industry and will continue
to however harmful it proves to be to society. “Sexual messages in the mass media
can have both immediate and long-term effects. Viewing a television program may
change a person’s immediate state by inducing arousal, leading to inhibition of
impulses, or activating thoughts or associations. It may also contribute to
enduring learned patterns of behavior, cognitive scripts and schemas about
sexual interactions, attitudes, and beliefs about the real world.” (3) The
media enables a lot of power in the creation of this issue. “Entertainment
media including movies, TV, magazines and music videos are targeted at a
teenage audience and provide a vast array of messages on falling in love,
relationships, and sexual desires; therefore, may shape sexual attitudes,
values, and practices. The internet, with its easy access and highly explicit
sexual content, has become another important source of information.” (4) Unrealistic
and altered descriptions of romance and sexual relation are regularly displayed
by the media, raising interest in the response from our society to these
facades. A group we should especially focus on is the youth as they endure this
during key stages of development. “This group may be particularly at risk
because the cognitive skills that allow them to critically analyze messages
from the media and to make decisions based on possible future outcomes are not
fully developed.” (8)

 

 

 

Methods

My
research question is how is society affected by the medias presentation of
women. I decided to analyze this through looking at popular and regular forms
of entertainment media. A theme that was clear to me through observing these
pieces is the objectification of women as sexual objects. From here, I
conducted research into what affect this actually has on the culture and
society as girls from an adolescent age are exposed to this image. To do this,
I looked into studies conducted on adolescence and their response to women’s
representation through media. There was an incredible amount of supportive
research, which enabled me to find clear themes and identify consequences that
have formed. A limitation to my methods was conducting primary research, I
found this a set back as I had little or biased participants to reach out to
for example to conduct a questionnaire on to gain my own results. The way, in
which I worked around this, was by using my personal prior knowledge as a
female teenager growing up surrounded by these images and the opinions and
emotional responses I have been able to gain from my friends. This along with
my further secondary research for example from one source I have learnt that young
girls are becoming self-aware of their appearance as early as 8 years old now.

This could be the cause of eating disorders to have grown 400% since 1970. Young
girls are feeling pressures about having to create the perfect body. There is a
fear of becoming unattractive or old based on what is displayed on the media.

(5) I chose this aspect of social life to study, as I believe it is important
to tackle the issue before it becomes any more detrimental to society and work
to prevent any harm that can be caused.  

Critical
Analysis

A
key concern from the media and entertainment industry is how women are
portrayed in music videos. “Many
mainstream artists negatively influence how the way we view and treat women
through their music videos. These messages persuade us that treating women as
sex objects and enacting sexual abuse against women is acceptable. Women’s role
in many hip-hop videos is to dance, look provocative and suggest sexual
interests towards men.”(9) From this, society is attracted to this
culture and such a culture is growing enabling the representation of the women
in these music videos to become ideals and a model in society. The problem we
face in any attempt to confront such images is that the artists in the
production of these music videos in the industry are gaining a tremendous
profit with these music videos.

Both male and female artists play
key roles in the creation of such stereotypes in the media. Along with music
videos having a active persuasion on this trend advertising also presents and
pushes the same ideals. This causes apprehension as these should display things
relatable to society and include what society is interested in seeing or
hearing. Therefore we must question if society wishes to be blasted with the
sexual objectification of women, as that is what is sold to them?

Through advertisements and media
women are sexualized and dismembered to be represented as sexual objects. This
presentation of women in advertisements is destructive to societal norms as
they change and embody what we perceive to be ideal for our romantic
significant others and our luxuries in life. It has been shown that not only
men are the ones falling for these set standards but also women. “Men are
not the only ones who have adopted this harmful attitude towards relationships,
intimacy, and sex. Women can just as easily adopt a negative self-image and
attitude, perpetuating the negative stereotypes about women, sexuality,
intimacy, and relationships.”(10) As the media industry progresses to
profit from such imagery these ideals will remain a norm in the community and
thus so will the consequences of this trend. Dismemberment is also a part of
the objectification of women in the media. This is the focus of a particular
part of the human body. The negative result of this is that the society
dissociates the person from their body. A further consequence of this is the
contribution it provides of unrealistic beauty that the society creates and
strives to. It is seldom that the media focuses on any other forms of beauty as
the focal point in the body instead of any attention being brought to the
personality or other attributes that form a person.

Furthermore an aspect of interest
in the media industry that has been around for a long time is the movie
industry. “Women are rarely treated with any sort of respect in film.

Their constant struggle for equality has had many breakthroughs but has so far
failed to impress Hollywood.” (11) Often in movies women are not
displayed with respect, however it is important to note that there are also
movies in which women have power and movies on the development of human rights.

“Hollywood has forever been built on illusion. As a result, many people
are unaware of the dangerous portrayals of women in, not only films, but as
well, magazines, television and music videos. The idea that women are
merely objects is an extremely wrong message to deliver to society. But yet, no
matter how much one critiques or complains, women are still objectified in
every form of entertainment. Sex sells and will forever be a strong selling
point. Men have always been considered the maker of meaning in films and as
long as this continues, women will forever be objected to the voyeuristic gazes
of the masses.” (11) Therefore, we can assume that the industry will
continue their presentation of women despite the consequences. A good example
of a movie this is shown in is a clip from the movie Transformers. It features
Meagan Fox and includes features of the objectification I mentioned. She is
clearly presented for her body when fixing her car and the speech included
focuses on Fox discussing he desire for ‘big biceps and tight abs.’ This
supports the theory on how objectification goes both ways and society has
fallen into the medias tricks.

Women begin seeing their selves
for not their personality or other attributes but alone their appearance and as
sexual objects. This corrupt way of thinking can lead to unhealthy consequences
such as low self-esteem, depression and eating disorders. Such problems can be
linked to such objectified imagery in media entertainment.

 

 

I have chosen these
advertisements as a representation of the medias extreme use of sexuality and
objectification as a promotion tactic to their audience. The first advert is
attended for males to sell a shower gel however they have decided to use an
image of a dirty woman to display their brand. Analyzing the reason for this
decision, we can assume the women is only shown for her body as her face has
been removed and therefore can be referenced and unimportant, showing a
preference for body over personality. The second advertisement is by the
company Guess selling jeans. However instead of the sole focus being on the
jeans the image is focused on the waist upwards, promoting sex instead of the
product. So why advertise a product that is not included in the image? “We are sexual beings. Advertisers use this attribute by
trying to associate their products and services with sexy imagery hoping that
some of the hotness gets attached to their brand in the consumer’s subconscious
mind.” (2) 

Conclusion

The
theme of objectification of women in entertainment media shall continue due to
its large profit and audience. Even though it has proven to be detrimental to
society for psychological and physical consequences. Both women and men are
trapped in an attempt to perfect their bodies to obtain the medias version of
an ‘ideal body’, even at the extent of their health. Through my research I have
found statistics supporting the fact that females (and males) suffer from
eating disorders and depression as an effect of the medias ideal beauty
criteria. This issue of women being objectified also falls upon the youth of
our society. Despite the knowledge that there are no benefits to our culture of
such imagery it still occurs and will continue to. Objectification of women in
media has clear consequences for our society, now its time to focus on what we
can do as a society to put an end to society buying into it. Our culture
remains to tolerate the medias portrayal of romantic life and therefore the
consequences will progress. These reasons suggest that we can conclude that
society is strongly impacted by the portrayal and objectification of women
through the entertainment media.