We’re bombarded with gender-specific ideas in our every day lives: magazines, billboards, novels, games, and TV programming. They educate us on what is natural on a daily basis. Which tells us how men and women differ in so many ways. “You are not normal if you can’t discover anybody,” says one myth, while the another claims that you can’t be good without a man. Many variations of “Beauty Myths”
Gender is not just what we are born with, it’s a set of characteristics, behaviors and attitudes that society considers appropriate for men or women. It’s also the way we communicate our gender to others through our appearance and behavior.
The term “Gender role” describes the expectations society has about how men and women should look, behave and think. Gender roles vary from culture to culture and have changed over time.
There are different types of Gender Representation in the Media. One of them is “Stereotyping”. This happens when media uses overly simplified and generalized images or ideas about groups of people, usually based on their race, ethnicity, gender, age or religion. Another type is “tokenism”. It happens when there is an attempt to include a person from a underrepresented group, but that person only serves to fill a quota rather than being an integral part of the story line.
The last one I want to talk about is “Objectification”. It occurs when someone is treated more as an object than as a person. This usually happens to women in the media, where they are often sexualized and their worth is based on their physical attractiveness rather than their personality or accomplishments.
One of the most popular films that has been analyzed using semiotics is “Thelma and Louise”. Thelma and Louise is a 1991 American road film directed by Ridley Scott and written by Callie Khouri. It stars Geena Davis as Thelma and Susan Sarandon as Louise, two friends who embark on a road trip which turns sour after a man attempts to rape Thelma at a bar.
They shoot him in self-defense and become fugitives from the law. The film has been interpreted as a feminist statement, and was popular with women at the time of its release.
Thelma and Louise have been described as “strong female characters”, and their relationship has been interpreted as a lesbian one. The film has been praised for its representation of women, but has also been criticized for its violence and for the way it portrays men.
This essay will begin by focusing on the film The Ugly Truth (Luketic, 2009), which deals with gender issues. To support this argument, the films The Princess Diaries (Marshall, 2001) and Legally Blond (Luketic, 2001) will be discussed. The essay will use a Gender perspective and attempt to answer such questions as what it means to be a woman and what it means to be a man.
In the beginning it is important to say what Gender is. Gender is “the set of characteristics that distinguish between male and female” (Devor, 1989:4). Gender is not about biological sex because even if we have different genitalia, “men” and “women” are social categories. And these categories are not universal, they vary from cultures to cultures. In this essay I will focus on Western culture where “man” is supposed to be strong, rational, logical while “woman” is weak, emotional and irrational.
The first film that will be analyzed is The Ugly Truth (Luketic, 2009). It is a romantic comedy in which the leading roles are played by Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler. The plot is quite simple: Abby (Katherine Heigl) is a producer of a morning television show. She is successful in her job, but when it comes to her personal life she is a complete failure. In order to improve her love life she hires Mike Chadway (Gerard Butler), a man who gives dating advice on a local radio show, and who is supposed to help her change from being “a hopeless romantic” into “a realist”.
One of the scenes that I want to analyze is the scene in which Mike teaches Abby how to act around men. He tells her that she should not talk about her feelings or what she thinks, because men do not care about that. Instead, she should focus on what men want to hear, which is “sex, sports and cars”. This scene shows how one-dimensional men are supposed to be in our society. They are not supposed to be interested in anything else but sex, sports and cars. And even though this might not be true for every man, it is still a stereotype that is deeply rooted in our culture.
The second film that I want to analyze is The Princess Diaries (Marshall, 2001). It is a romantic comedy in which the leading role is played by Anne Hathaway. The plot is about Mia Thermopolis (Anne Hathaway), a high school student who discovers that she is the heir to the throne of Genovia. She then has to leave her normal life behind and learn how to be a Princess.
One of the scenes that I want to analyze is the scene in which Mia’s grandmother, Queen Clarisse Renaldi (Julie Andrews), tells her that she has to start acting like a Princess. She says that Mia has to learn how to walk, talk and dress like a Princess. This scene shows how even though Mia is very successful in her normal life, she is not considered to be good enough because she does not act like a Princess. In our society, women are still judged by their looks and not by their accomplishments.
The third film that I want to analyze is Legally Blond (Luketic, 2001). It is a romantic comedy in which the leading role is played by Reese Witherspoon. The plot is about Elle Woods (Reese Witherspoon), a sorority girl who decides to go to law school in order to win back her ex-boyfriend.
One of the scenes that I want to analyze is the scene in which Elle is in court and she has to prove that her client, Brooke Windham (Ali Larter), is innocent. Even though Elle is very successful in her job, she still needs the help of a man, Warner Huntington III (Matthew Davis), in order to win the case. This scene shows how even though women can be successful in their careers, they still need the help of men in order to be truly successful.
The fourth and final film that I want to analyze is The Devil Wears Prada (Frankel, 2006). It is a drama in which the leading role is played by Meryl Streep. The plot is about Andy Sachs (Anne Hathaway), a college graduate who gets a job as the second assistant to Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), the editor-in-chief of Runway magazine.
One of the scenes that I want to analyze is the scene in which Andy is at a fashion show and she is sitting in the front row. Even though she is sitting in the front row, she is not paying attention to the show because she is reading a book. This scene shows how even though Andy is working in the fashion industry, she is not interested in fashion. In our society, women are still expected to be interested in fashion and to care about their appearance.
These are just a few examples of the many Gender stereotypes that are present in our society. These stereotypes are deeply rooted in our culture and they can be seen in almost every aspect of our lives. Gender stereotypes are one of the main reasons why there is gender inequality in our society. If we want to achieve gender equality, we need to break these stereotypes and start seeing men and women as equals.