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Female Stereotypes In The Media Essay, Research Paper
In the media the most common female stereotypes, are the housewife and the blonde bimbo.
The Housewife. Chained to the kitchen sink, always cleaning and cooking. An old stereotype.
In the advertisement for Shake `n Vac a woman is doing the vacuuming and dancing around shaking Shake `n Vac on the floor. This is a stereotype for the reason that a man is nowhere to be found. But in advertisements for intelligent matters like finance, it?s always a man.
At first, when I saw the advertisement for Mc Cain?s chips, I thought the woman in it wasn?t stereotypical, as she was not cooking the meal, the man was. But after a while I saw that this was just for a joke, as at the end you saw that the man was only able to cook a tray of oven chips and he doesn?t even know whether they have a chip pan or not, as the dialogue goes, Man: ?I spent ages making these chips, slicing the potatoes, frying them in the chip pan?.? Woman: ?What chip pan??
The Mirror?s cartoon section has had a cartoon that?s been there for years and years called Andy Capp. (See picture A)This cartoon follows the life of a stereotypical northern husband and wife. In the edition I looked at, there?s a picture of Andy?s wife carrying a bucket and a cloth, walking into the kitchen, blanking the husband whose lying on a couch nearby. He asks ?What?s the matter pet? Is it something I did? ? And she shouts back ?How? When?s the last time you did anything?? In all of the cartoons, Andy never did any housework, as far as he was concerned that was women?s work and he always expected his dinner to be on the table when he came home from the pub.
Whenever a woman isn?t portrayed in the media as the usual stereotype it?s only done for comical effect. For instance, I saw an advertisement in which a woman was showing some people round her house. She shows them the rooms and then she says, ?And here?s my garage,? and you see this room with white ceilings, white wallpaper, cupboards and lights and a car. This was meant to be humorous showing that this woman went to the extreme of even tiding up her garage.
The Blonde Bimbo. Long or fluffy hair, revealing clothes. Sometimes dumb, not able to use machines, dependant on her man, not able to do anything, can?t control her emotions over men.
When I watched the TV to find some examples of stereotypes, the first thing I saw was a trailer for a documentary about David Bailey. Included were lots of female models. They were all skinny, they had really thick make-up on and lots of them were blonde. The dialogue included ?The photographer slept with 300 women? and one of his models saying, ?Yeah I?ll get my tits out for him.? The trailer was representing all of the models as sluts.
Changing the channel to Challenge TV some more stereotypes of women appeared. The females on the show were the presenter of the game show, Donna Air, who had long curly blonde hair, and a shirt with half the buttons not done up showing off her bra, and a contestant who also had blonde hair, had big boobs, and was wearing a low cut top and was referred to by the other host as ?Sexy Zo?!? This blonde bimbo image is frequent in the media and has gone back right to the days of Marilyn Monroe.
Bimbo stereotypes aren?t just limited to television. They?re in the newspapers too. In the Daily Mirror, shortly after Geri left the spice girls, they published an article entitled ?Give Geri a job? (See picture C). It had a picture of a woman in a suit holding a briefcase (meant to be Geri but it suspiciously didn?t look like her. I think that it?s either a look-alike or maybe a doctored photograph.) The journalist is trying to make Geri Haliwell look like an unwanted fool. He did this by writing off to companies asking whether they will give Geri a job and publishing all the letters they got back saying ?No?. The picture has been chosen carefully to make Geri look like she?s trying to be a serious business woman now she?s left the spice girls, but she can?t quite make it, with her messed up jacket, with the red lips and the long slit going up her skirt. This is what they think she would look like going to work, not looking smart but like some kind of tart. The audience this article is aimed at is people interested in showbiz gossip.
The Sun?s coverage of Wimbledon this year has had a regular feature each day. It?s the Kourna Corner, when they show the best pictures of Anna with her dress billowing up and her knickers showing (See picture D). The Sun, because Anna Kournikova?s a female they represent her as a sex object to look at while she?s playing tennis. Their attitude to her comes out in the articles as well. The words used to describe her are: Sexy Anna, Annaphwoarnikova and instead of interviews with fans commenting on her playing, they say stuff like, ? She?s out of Wimbledon. What a loss, with her fabulous figure!? No male tennis player or any other sportsman gets on the front cover of the Sun for his looks alone.
In a cartoon strip in the Daily Mail, there are two secretaries in an office and one says ?The photocopier has run out of paper,? and the other one says, ?I?ll call a service engineer.? The point of this cartoon is to laugh at the fact that women can?t do any manual labour and they have to depend on men to do it for them.
The stereotype of a woman shown in Andy Capp has only just been changed recently when a new cartoon strip arrived at the Mirror called Mandy Capp (See picture B). On the edition I looked at of Mandy, what happens is Mandy is at a pub with her boyfriend and the boyfriend says ?Hey Mandy- got a friend for my mate?? and Mandy replies ?if I did, he wouldn?t be a friend for long.? The drawing of her is a big bosomed girl wearing a skimpy top, with blonde hair, and long eyelashes.
The stereotypes of women are seen commonly in the media. They are varied. The blonde bimbo stereotype is very broad and some stereotypical women are bimbos because they are stupid and helpless (like the two secretaries) but some are bimbos because they are showing themselves off to men (like the women on Challenge TV). The uses of stereotypes are varied as well. Sometimes the stereotype is used for a joke. Like in the advertisement for chips that I mentioned, the stereotype of a woman doing all the cooking isn?t used, but is actually reinforced by the fact it?s only omitted for a joke. Sometimes the stereotypes of women are used to sell stuff, like in the advertisement for shake and vac.
The reason why stereotypes exists are usually because when people make up characters (for TV scripts, film scripts, etc.) it?s easier to use the image of a woman that someone is familiar with. Most writers are male. As they don?t know much about them and they can only write about what they know about, they have to use the images they have of women in their heads. It?s the same with other stereotypes, i.e. French people in the media always wear berets and have onions round their necks.
When will our views change completely? I think, although new stereotypes are appearing and old ones are evolving, it will take time. But the women will always be portrayed, because they?re the child bearers, as being chained to the kitchen sink and planning what to have for dinner.
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