Media is a means of mass communication, which intends to reach a mass
audience through its different platforms such as newspapers, magazines, radio,
television, and the internet. Media plays a vital role in our lives starting
from cartoons in our childhood to reality shows, movies, and news all over the
world in our adulthood.
Media has the power to influence the audience at large into certain beliefs and
manipulate them to act in a certain way that may be detrimental or beneficial to
society. With time there has been a rapid development of media which resulted in
rapid social change, technological innovation, and the decline of some
traditional forms of control and authority. Media through its advanced
features of sound, colors, visuals, and motions makes the most appropriate means
of promotion and persuading others.
Hence, media plays a very important role as an agent of social change but in
this context, one question arises in our mind how media has been playing a role
in bringing gender equality. We have seen women as being projected as an object
of entertainment or as beautiful objects who have to manage the household as
well as work the whole day rising from bed till she drops dead on the bed and
still she has to look beautiful. The kind of images of women presented by media
largely has an impact on societal perspective towards gender.
Therefore, this paper will look into the stronger impact of media on shaping
gender images, a kind of perception of gender stereotypes developed by society,
and try to deliberate some suggestions on the role of media in bringing about
change i.e. just and equal society.
The Image-Making by Media
Media - a powerful weapon and 4th pillar of democracy has also the power to
divert our minds in such a way that we find ourselves becoming a victim of such
influence. In this era of globalization and digitalization, we sit in our homes
and watch new ads, and trends of big brands revolving all around the world and
imitate those believing in what they show or say and even we get ready to tell
our friends about new trends. The power of media is sensational and can shape
our opinions with what they show as being perfect and ideal.
This kind of image presented by media doesn't represent the majority of society
or even a minority of how we should look like. As we sit here watching the
new face wash ads or new trending dress of big brands and start to behave like
the image that has been created by such advertisements then it shapes our
perspective of ourselves. In most cases, often women become a victim.
The media has created plenty of stereotypical gender inequality. In
advertisements, men are portrayed to be more powerful and always accompanied by
women but women are often shown in a sexual or vulnerable position to sell the
product whether it may be an advertisement for alcoholic beverages or shaving
creams. This is not a reasonable representation of women how they act and
behave, but these types of ads can change her perspective of how they should
It is a fact that we can find in our society where women think that they should
have big butts, and big boobs and buy those products to look like them and
ultimately they develop a sense of insecurity and tend to be less satisfied with
their bodies. It may be argued that how one can blame media for the body image
problems of women as women also have their self-consciousness but media is an
important force in shaping one's opinions and as such society develop a gender
stereotypical representations of women and only create more barriers for
It is often shown in movies and ads that women are being tortured and being
helped by men. All this representation makes those age-old gender stereotypes
stronger and creates inequality in society. Women in media are presented as
elegant and glamorous individuals and hence capable of handling everything. The
media creates images of women as good and bad according to their performance in
The media uses women as an object of beauty and finding women behind the camera
is very rare. We do not know about Homai Vyarawalla who was first India's first
female press photographer. On the other hand, Mandira Bedi, though not a cricket
expert became a television anchor for the matches. Similarly, it is not a
rare case where news related to the atrocities of women is highlighted to gain
TRPs. These issues have been ignored and sensationalized from time immemorial.
Failure Of Media As An Agent Of Social Change
Media is the reflection of society and at the same time, it has an important
role in the socialization process. However, it has become more than an agency of
social change; an agent for the transmission of traditional patriarchal societal
rules, regulations, expectations, and gender stereotypes. The growth and
influence of all forms of media, especially those of electronic media on the
younger generation have become a negatively influencing social phenomenon.
The existing gender biases in society have become publicized and the societal
age-old expectation of women to be thin and graceful and men to be muscular and
tall has been portrayed, perpetuated, and over-emphasized in media. We can't
deny its influence on our life. The potential of media for a positive impact on
society has been rather under-utilized, intentionally or unintentionally, in the
modern globalized world.
We can therefore question - Are the women in media liberated? Is it not that the
women are still confined to the private sphere? The boundaries remain the
same and change is only in the color of the boundary. The imagery of a corporate
businesswoman managing the household, and taking care of the children assisted
by the modern gadgets, strengthen the gender division of labor. By and large,
the media is mute on defining women's participation in the public sphere.
Conclusion and Suggestions:
The way women are presented in media is very pathetic and these issues need to
be addressed immediately as soon as possible. Media a powerful agent equipped
with the potential of social change shouldn't be only an agent for just policing
by maintaining the existing order following the desired and approved social
control of the dominating group(men).
There should be necessary structural changes within media to reduce existing
gender bias in society as well as to change the gendered role of men and women
prescribed by society. In one study by Ammu Joseph 2010, it was revealed that
there is a hierarchy of priorities in media settings.
Hence changing the priorities is necessary. It not only became necessary just to
change the present image making of women by media but also the fact that media
plays a significant role in the transformation of society and withdrawing gender
bias stereotypes following from time immemorial.
Not only does the fact role of media need radical changes but also the women's
movement has to take a different stand altogether. Rather than asking for the
right to education, vote, health, etc., it has to look into the nature of these
rights as well. There are many other things for which there should be a struggle
like change in the attitude of women and men, and change in the existing social
system by changing the social structure. We do need to let women determine their
future by undertaking the path of emancipation.
We should empower women but not at the cost of sensitizing the men folks. Media
is also a facilitator of social change but its role in projecting and changing
gender roles is doubtful. Media should create consciousness among people,
especially among the marginalized sections of the society, and help them to
organize into viable groups for promoting their life, lead a life of dignity, to
develop culturally, and progress economically.
Instead of blaming anyone, there is a need to establish a new society where a
spirit of cooperation and supplementary as well as a complementary relation
between two equal individuals with equal opportunities for growth and
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Award Winning Article Is Written By: Mr.Nikchen Tamang
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