Mass media is a form of communication that addresses large and diverse audiences that are physically separated from one and another. The media itself is a powerful and pervasive mode of communication and in today's society it not only shapes people's perception of gender but also reinforces the gender sex roles of society. In this essay the term media refers to television, films, magazines, books and newspapers.
In order to assess the question above one needs to understand the functions of media. Sociologist Charles Wright states that the first function of media is that it gathers and disseminates information. Media is "the watchdog of a free society" as it provides receivers with news that is instrumental for their survival. The media's second function is that it analyzes and evaluates information for the receiver. Media commentators are in a position to offer their opinions on societal problems and this can influence the receiver's perception of certain issues. The third function of media is that it educates or socializes its audience. Receivers observe the behavior of characters in the media and then internalize these behaviors as norms. The final function of media is that it entertains. It allows an avenue for people to escape the defined world of reality and enter a dream world that provides enjoyment and gratification. With these functions in mind, one can say that the media is a tool or institution that strongly influences people's attitudes and values. .
With respect to how women are portrayed in the media, I concur that women are not accurately represented in the mass media. One must firmly agree that women are not only under represented in the media but the media reinforces prejudiced sex roles. This is so as it helps to perpetuate the myth that women are fickle, fearful, should be subservient to their male counterparts, and not as intelligent as men. Women are hardly seen in roles that put them on the same playing field as their male counterparts; it is a very rare to find a woman who is portrayed as strong, independent and equal to her male partner.