How does traditional gender roles in movies shape social norms
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How Do Traditional Gender Roles in Movies Shape Social Norms?
Today media occupies an influential position in shaping ideas and social norms of almost all individuals irrespective of age. There are many types of media like movies, television, newspapers, radio, advertisements and Internet that are all intended for selling some kind of idea and information. Society today depends mostly on the information thus obtained. Hence, they influence the lives and even change the way of thinking of many. Movies, however, have had the largest impact in shaping social norms from a very long time.
TRADITIONAL GENDER ROLES
Regarding traditional gender roles, it has been found that they all vary in different countries. With passing years, traditions and ways of thinking have changed. Traditionally, men were at the head of the family with all powers of taking decisions and ruling the family and women were the nurtures. They were supposed to look after children and the household, and the men had to earn to maintain the family. The biological difference between men and women has often been portrayed in the movies and so women were pampered for being weak both physically and mentally who used to faint at the slightest of sounds and assisted wherever they went by an attendant especially the affluent class. (Connell 7)
CHANGED PICTURE OF THE SOCIETY
Times have changed and with it the scenario of the society too. Modern movies now portray women as successful and daunting. They are working out the entire day and occupying high positions in the most prestigious jobs like CBI etc. At the same time, they are taking care of the household and thus their versatility is being shown in all spheres of life.
Media is a very powerful source that affects and gives shape to social norms quite easily. When the movies were male-centered, and all the powers were vested in their hands, society reacted that way. Women stayed at home and never tried to step beyond their limits to discuss anything pertaining to the family or went to schools and colleges. Literate families arranged for various classes at home for their daughters but not outside the premises. But as soon as film-makers visualized women in a new role and brought out the strength of women and their capabilities through their movies, social norms too changed. (Wood 37)
WHAT RESEARCHERS TELL US ABOUT GENDER ROLES
Researchers are of the opinion that earlier women were extremely underrepresented in movies and other forms of media (Collins 295). They were portrayed in negative roles as subordinates, victims of torture or unsuccessful identities. Age was also a factor where gender roles were unevenly presented in movies. Most of the films show women who are between the ages of 20 and 30 years are successful while men are more successful after 30 years. Here the appealing features of women are pointed out as reasons for success (Lauzen & Dozier 440). Later trends in movies represented men and women at par with each other, working together in all spheres of life.
Such depiction of gender roles in movies has changed social life and attitudes of people to a large extent. Men are no longer the ruling class nor are women the suppressed class. Equality being the themes of most movies, the general public who is extremely influenced by role models and favorite stars, has changed the ways of thinking and behaving. Everyone is trying to live a successful life.
Collins, Rebecca L. Content Analysis of Gender Roles in Media: Where Are We Now and Where Should We Go? Sex Roles. (2011): 295-296. Print.
Connell, Raewyn. Men, Masculinities and Feminism. Social Alternatives. (1997): 7-10. Print.
Lauzen, Martha M. & Dozier, David M. Maintaining the Double Standard: Portrayals of Age and Gender in Popular Film. Sex Roles. (2005): 440-442. Print.
Wood, J. Gendered lives: Communication, gender and culture. Cengage Learning. (2010): 37. Print.
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