â€œThe Media perpetuates stereotypes based on gender, race and class and foster the illusion that we live in an equal societyâ€ (Focus is on gender stereotypes)
Issues of gender and social portrayal within the media are controversial and divisive in nature. The all encompassing and pervasive influence of the media has fostered a wide range of research and debate examining these issues. Extensive studies of gender stereotyping within the mass media broadly conclude the dominant perpetuation of traditional male and female representation. However, in the face of widespread criticism within modern society, many have begun to question and challenge the maintenance of such gender stereotypes. Although there has been evidence of slight change, overall analysis indicates traditional gender portrayals to remain. Furthermore, questions as to whether or not the media fosters illusions of an equal society have been widely debated and analysed from a wide array of angles. A Marxist ideological framework assists in providing a basis understanding of societies portrayal within the media. Today, modern analysis has extended such classic theories to incorporate an examination into the forces of globalisation; theorist question whether such forces are enhancing or conversely liberalising the representation of equal societies within the mass media. Overall, investigation into the perpetuation of gender stereotypes and the delusive nurturing of equal societies, offers insight into the powerful and persistent influence of media portrayal within society.
Gender Stereotypes are today generally seen as an inherent part of the media. Stereotypes can be generally defined as widely circulated assumptions that are associated with distinct groups (Branston and Stafford, 1996). The contribution of the mass media to the perpetuation of gender serotypes in society has been the focus of considerable debate and research in recent decades (Butler & Pai