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Sociology Of Gender Essay

1422 words - 6 pages

Sociology of Gender


Gender is defined as the social distinctions between masculinity and femininity. People often use the terms gender and sex interchangeably. The former is defined above, whereas the latter is defined as a determination of male or female on the basis of a set of socially agreed-upon biological criteria. Music Videos such as Stupid Girls and If I Were A Boy by singers Pink and Beyonce respectively demonstrate clearly the assumptions or categorizations we evoke simply by using the terms girl or boy. Although the topic of gender in sociology is vast, this paper focuses on how gender is reproduced and how the gendered body is ...view middle of the document...

This is all part of the “hidden” curriculum in which boys are affiliated with heterosexual masculinity leading to independence whereas girls are not.

The media plays a huge role in gender divisions and gender stereotyping. Men in leading roles films often portray hegemonic masculinity, the normative ideal of dominant masculinity that men are supposed to strive to achieve. An example of this is James Bond, whose character is associated with aggressiveness, physical competence, drive and ambition. Emphasized femininity based on women’s compliance with their subordination to men and is oriented to obliging men’s interests and desires (Connell, 1987). Time and time again, both hegemonic masculinity and emphasized femininity have been portrayed in many films where the leading male actor is aggressive, physically competent, and where as the female is portrayed as ravishing, meek and caring. With time, women are being portrayed in leading roles in television; although, female characters most of the time manipulate other people by using helplessness and seduction to get their way. For example in the show Desperate Housewives, white women (with the exception of one recently joined African American actor, who play leading characters are all beautiful, heterosexual and manipulative. Other examples include Grey’s Anatomy, Weeds etc. The intersection of race and gender in media depictions of men and women show almost all white men to be portrayed as heroes and black men as rather scary characters. Similarly white women are beautiful docile caregivers whereas black women portrayed as aggressive welfare queens. Reality television shows such as America’s Next Top Model, The Biggest Loser and others have played an influential role in gender stereotyping by successfully deceiving the audiences into thinking that the shows they watch are unedited, unfiltered and real, whereas they are significantly edited (Waddle, 2006). These shows laud the cutthroat competitive behavior showering us with images of masculinity and femininity, which are considered to be normal. Masculinity and Femininity are also reproduced by television commercials. For example, most beer commercials (shown in class) make men look like single, sexually unsatisfied, losers who, after drinking beer have a boost in self esteem and therefore, get the women (unattainable without drinking the particular beer) they most desire. The message: drinking beer makes men sexy. Gender in music has been increasingly noteworthy over the years, especially in hip-hop music. Women have become an integral part of hip-hop music and images (e.g. In Da Club by 50 Cent). They are often the subject and source of provocative rap lyrics and in some videos the female models far outnumber the male artists themselves. Women in rap/hip hop music videos are often labeled the term “Walking Bling”.

Despite some progress in terms of portraying heroes as men who are weak (Homer Simpson) and heroines as strong and confident...

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