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The negative portrayal of women in music in the 20th century

What was originally created for encouraging consumerism is now being promoted to a society that is being consumed by the messages themselves. Mass media is especially harmful to women because it constructs negative perceptions of women and reinforces them on a daily basis. Actions employed by the media are not always what they seem, but instead they act as catalysts for dangerous effects on women and society as a whole.

This paper will address the tools used by media against women and will analyze the consequences of their use. Mass media is a potent tool used to influence its audience in many ways, although most people would like to believe that they are not affected by advertising.

The standard that advertising creates affects women deeply and it is absolutely inescapable. Advertisements are found on televisions, buses, on the sides of buildings, and in the magazines people read.

Mass media affects each member of society because its reach is vast, its bite is quick, and its message seeps into the very fibers that are woven together to create a culture of misperceptions about women. The message that advertisements are quite literally sending out is that people are equivalent to the products they purchase.

This endangers people because society regards these messages about what people are and what people should be as absolute truths, instead of culturally constructed standards of what it means to be successful Murray. Identity is the heart of humanity. When identity is taken away from people or is transformed into a thing, their humanity is subsequently stripped from them.

While the media attempt to target every person, the level of exposure is dictated by gender, and the majority of harmful messages are focused more toward women.

For instance, in media such as magazines where a person relies on an image to relate a feeling, girls are often made to look inferior. In other words, the way women are perceived is not necessarily truthful.

They are seen a certain way, because they are made to be seen that way Mendible 7. This fallacy perpetuated by gender-divided media affects women more harshly because women are more harmfully depicted than are men.

Being beautiful is, in American society, the most important role a woman should fulfill. The products that were previous determinates of self-worth become second to that of beauty.

Furthermore, media couples the idea of beauty with that of morality. The reason for this can be found within television shows and movies. Beauty in reality is subjective, but the mass media constructs and upholds a narrow standard for what it means to be beautiful.

Therefore, mass media is no longer solely attacking the product choices that consumers make, but also the consumers themselves. In lieu of beauty being so highly regarded, women are expected by society to adhere to the beauty standard.

When women do not naturally fit the standard or do not constantly strive to fit the standard, they are considered to have failed themselves, and most often, are told that they should be ashamed.

The Role of Women

This requirement, in turn, forces women to give up parts of themselves. We can play sports, excel at school, go to college, aspire to — and get — jobs previously reserved for men, be working mothers and so forth. But in exchange, we must obsess about our faces, weight, breast size, clothing brands, about pleasing men and being envied by other women. As these standards become increasingly narrow, it is important to note that there is yet another category of women who are affected negatively by the media.

Instead of allowing these women dignity and humanity, the media are presenting them as dessert drinks and an entirely different species from what they are. Therefore, the media are denying many women of color a chance for acknowledgement, while telling the women of color who are mentioned that they are equivalent to products instead of people. Another way in which the media categorically strips women of their humanity is when these women are a living embodiment of what the media deem as ugly, disgusting, or wrong.

Perhaps one of the most fitting examples today is when a woman is fat. Being fat is stigmatizing for all people, but it brings on a slew of new requirements for women. Therefore, the message is not simply that fat itself needs to be tamed, but that fat women need to be disciplined and controlled. Consequently, there is a fear equated with the fat body and any body that simply is not thin, encouraging shame and disgust toward these people for living in bodies the media deem as unacceptable.

Women in American Media: A Culture of Misperception

The most important truth in relation to the media is that it is built on myth. Is an environment that we all swim in, as fish swim in water. Because of these statistics, one could argue that the media actually depend on creating unhealthy thoughts and habits in women, in the hopes of generating profit.

If no woman is perfect the way she is, then no woman is excluded from buying into the message. This in turn creates problems rather than fixing them. Body modification has become a consumer solution to dealing with the environment that the media create. The frightening irony of this is that it actually contributes to the problem and allows more harmful industries to form and flourish.

One of the most common forms of body modification is dieting, especially with weight-loss pills. American culture has made it clear that every woman is too big, and dieting has become the norm. An even more dangerous and dramatic effect is a recent increase in cosmetic surgery procedures. This creates a vicious cycle between the media and the consumer. While the consumer is searching for a solution to nonexistent problems the media create, the consumer is also aiding in allowing trends to develop, making media seem as if their myths are reasonable.

What is worse is that the media know exactly the role they are playing.

Growing Up Female in a Media World

The danger of body modification is that bodies are not recyclable, the ideal image of beauty is perpetually changing and fleeting, and trying to keep up with it is both harmful and impossible. When the media gain powerwomen inevitably lose it. The media offer up a false sense of power with the products they sell in exchange for draining people of the power they do have. So while women are encouraged to proclaim independence and power, they are actually being used as a platform for larger media reach and outcome.

Another tactic employed by the media used to further strip women of their power is that of objectification and dehumanization. Women are supposed to be both virginal and incredibly sexy, a balance that is impossible to pull off. The danger with assumed slutiness is that it is not based in fact, but it is the negative portrayal of women in music in the 20th century in hate.

Women are caught between the balancing act of innocence versus experience, and the assumptions about their sexual activity can actually lead to assumptions of being dangerous and unworthy of human interaction. The media use objectification to normalize misperceptions of women within advertising. This erases real women, their lived experiences, and their worth.

When women are not given a space by the media, they are being told that they do not deserve recognition as people. However, the women who are pictured in the media are not afforded the dignity of a voice.

Women, in turn, are afraid to speak up in a culture that prefers their looks over their words. This message is reinforced in advertisements where girls have their hands over their mouths.

Media is then enforcing the idea that the less a girl speaks, or the thinner the girl is, the more she will be worth. Therefore, media are not only silencing women, but are simultaneously telling women to silence and erase themselves. The final wave of effect caused by all of these issues is violence and ultimately death. Being portrayed negatively is not the only cause for violence, however. Being erased by the media and not being given a space at all certainly contributes.

The media are a business that rely on people, and like any business, their purpose is to create opportunities for generating profit. The problem lies within the way people, most especially women, are treated by the media as products rather than human beings worthy of dignity, personhood, and respect. The result of this is a rise in low self-esteem, dangerous body modification procedures, violence, and sometimes death among women.

References Bartky, Sandra Lee. Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression. Gender and the Media. Gidgets and Women Warriors: Hayes, Sharon, and Stacey Tantleff-Dunn. Media Education Foundation, 2010. The Girl on the Magazine Cover: U of North Carolina P, 2001.

Women: Representations in Advertising

From Bananas to Buttocks: U of Texas P, 2008. Sexual Politics and Popular Culture. Disappeared Women and Media Activism. How Images of Beauty are used against Women. A Culture of Misperception. Women in American Media: