The way in which men and women are perceived in the societies today is mainly based on media and technology along with its advancement from day to day. Media is the most advanced and prevalent aspect of technology in people’s lives, having insinuations to the messages in their consciousness at every turn they make, especially concerning gender issues. Media is considered the most powerful among all other forms of technology through its ability to communicate by images of different sexes. However, most of the time these images are a perpetuation of unrealistic and stereotypical and perceptions that are limiting in their nature. There is a strong connection between the gender, culture, and media which presents the effect on the people’s points of view in the long run as will be discussed in this paper. The task will be accomplished by sourcing information from different authors including, Nawal El Saadawi with her article “Love and Sex in the Arab Culture”, Aron Dover’s “Becoming members of society”, Denise Bissler with his article “The Harms of Crime Media” and Rosalind Gill’s “Gender and the Media.” The paper intends to critically analyze the effect of media on how the culture perceives gender in the society. Specifically, the paper will establish the way gender norms change as a result of media and technology’s influence the world today.
Media and Technology Overview on Gender
The technology was introduced in people’s lives to improve their way of living as well as reduce the struggle with various processes thereby increasing the speed in which operations are completed. Thus, there are different aspects which technology affects, such as production, communication, and also entertainment. Different cultures in the world today embrace technology differently, mostly depending on their level of education and intelligence, which influence humans’ ability to accept changes in their lives. This has led to incidences of gender influence resulting from the way people use and understand the modern day technology. Gender perception is among the most controlled aspects in the world of technology, raising big questions such as whether media and techniques pose positive or negative effects to people’s lives. According to research, technology is expanding the boundaries of people’s social circles, as the way people perceive and interact with each other, thereby giving the gender perception a big opportunity to present itself to the technology users.
Influence of Media and Technology to Cultural View of Gender
Media and technology, especially in cultures with more access to it, have negatively affected the societies in their opinion of gender. It is very interesting to see how gender is identified among both children and the adults. According to Aaron, in the past, where media and technology were not yet fully integrated into people’s cultures, “the view and identification of gender were very different from the way it is today” (Dovor, 416). He explains that in the past, “children used to identify gender at a very pure innocent approach of clothes and hair to distinguish between female and male.” The adults, however, when growing up, based everything on . “explanations in details for the distinction to be made. Therefore, adults will distinguish male from the female based on the genitalia” (Bisslerand Joan 267). The situation, however, has completely changed in the past few years after the introduction of media and technology in people’s cultures, as it has entirely changed the view of people right from the children to the adults on their view of gender.
The way gender is represented in the media through shows and movies develops the children’s view of gender in an absolutely different way that will affect their future view of gender representation and identification. Shows will depict men dressed like women and the so as to women dressed like men who are an opposite way of viewing gender if the children’s old aspect is to be followed. The same case applies to the hair styles in both genders, appearing to be distorted to children thereby making them grow up without a specific characteristics that they can rely on when identifying it. In cultures where media and technology are at frequent, the view of culture on gender is highly affected because children are brought up alongside media and technology which are becoming the teachers of the children. “As they grow up their view on gender is negatively affected as it gives them the complete aspect than it is supposed to be” (Gill, 110).
According to Saadawi, in cultures where media and technology are highly advanced and easily accessible, their perception of gender is high compared to the cultures where they have limited access to the same. This happens because cultures with more access to media and technology experience more portrays about gender than the cultures with restricted access. From the theme of underrepresentation of women, she adds that media distorts the reality of women being as intelligent and proficient as their male counterparts. For example, in particular shows the media has introduced many men as more powerful than women. In fact, that instills the community and the culture where the media represents women less capable than men. As Saadawi explains, “this gives the culture, a perspective of viewing women as less of than men,” a situation that can last in the beliefs for generations having passed on from one period to another (Saadawi, 124). This gives an actual replication of the same aspect that is practiced in these cultures, “where women will be represented in a fewer number than men since it is a fact that they have lived to know.” In the long run, the culture is made to believe that there are fewer women than males and that men’s dominant position in society is the cultural standard.
Creation of Stereotypes in Portrayal of Men and Women through Media and Technology
“Media and technology continue to present women and men in stereotyped ways, the fact that limits people’s perception in our cultures to the possibilities and abilities of human” (Bissler, Denise and Joan, 415). It is evident in the media these days how men are portrayed as active, powerful, adventurous, and highly uninvolved in human relationships. Women, on the other side, are depicted mostly as sex objects, beautiful, young, thin, dependent, and most of the time incompetent and dumb. Female are usually described and shown to be fully responsible for improving their appearances and taking care of homes and the people in them while waiting for the men to provide for them. Due to the high influence of media and technology on people’s lives, the misrepresentation of gender by the press distorts the primary way of how people saw them earlier. Also, it has changed what has been desirable for men and women in the earlier days before the introduction of media and technology in their lives (Bisslerand Joan 268).
According to Nawal, in the Arab culture “men are stereotyped as aggressive, dominant, and mostly engaged in interesting activities after which they receive accreditation from others resulting from their masculine achievements.” Media and television at this age present men as independent, persistent, and full of responsibilities individuals, unlike the past shows where people were seen as serious, confident, and with high status. Also, it is interesting how often they are not presented in certain aspects by the media. Boys and men in the Arab culture are rarely seen or portrayed as the type to care for others. It changes the way the culture perceives the male gender, as children are raised knowing that it is not the responsibility of the male to care and love others. It is also very rare to find the male individuals doing housework (Saadawi, 124). The media only portrays the females to do all the housework for themselves even in the presence of the male individuals, which undoubtedly can be interpreted as the culture with high access to media and technology, changing views and aspects concerning gender roles.
“Media and technology reflects the women’s images of cultural stereotypes deviating from the reality in a major way.” As we have already seen from Nawal’s explanation, women and girls are underrepresented in a more dramatic way (Saadawi, 125). In most of the shows, almost two-thirds of the people speaking and being shown are the males, while women are portrayed as passive dependent on men, always involved in relationships and house works. In the few cases where females are represented, like in the news broadcasts, they are usually required to be pretty and thin. Also, women are always seen to be discouraged of math and sciences studies, which is a common conception in various shows. “In the early 1990s, Matted introduced a new talking doll which said that math class is tough” (Saadawi, 125). This message reinforces the stereotype that women cannot do math and science at it is tough and meant for men who are profecient and competent at precise sciences. Cultures with high access to media and technology experience the high effect of the creation of gender stereotypes, resulting from the shows and media influence.
Personal Expression of One’s Gender Not Following the Rigid Rules
Media and technology at this age is widely associated in depicting both genders in ways that do not follow the rigid rules as it is supposed to be. There are shows that most of the time depict women dressed as men going against the general code of dressing for their gender. The same case has been observed in the male dressing as well, a fact that creates a massive distortion in understanding the male and female dressing codes. In cultures where media and technology are highly accessible, people experience this type of distortion frequently and that affects the way they view gender. According to Dovor, this type of distortion is highly responsible for changing the gender norms in various cultures. “Due to the influence of the media, the day to day norms mostly in the social life are highly affected at a high rate”(Dovor, 416). This changes the way the society is set in its behaviors while adapting to the ways of living and manners that are merely unreal depictions.
Due to the stereotype cases, as explained earlier, both male and female genders tend to express themselves in ways that do not follow the rigid rules. Nawal asserts that “situations in the Arab culture have become super complicated since most of the gender parties will not involve themselves in various activities resulting from the influences of the media.” The male counterparts, for example, will not associate themselves with house activities whatsoever, “a fact that presents them to be lazy and inexperienced in various fields” (Saadawi, 127). The same case is applicable to the females, Therefore, if critically observed, it is all against the rigid rules since human beings abilities have no limits and whatever male gender is capable of, the female gender is able do it as well.
The perception of men and women in the world today is highly based on media and technology as a result of their influence on our cultures. From the research, it is evident that the impacts of media on people’s gender differentiation have resulted in a complete change of the cultural norms and in a fast way of the advancement of media and technology. Cultures with more access to media and technology are negatively influenced in the aspect of perceiving genders. The study has also found out that the media plays significant role in creation of stereotypes in these cultures, as people tend to express themselves against their gender rigid rules.