Gender Stereotypes on Television Analytical Essay
Television advertisement perpetuates gender stereotypes through their advertising. This is through reinforcing the traditional gender roles assigned by the society. The traditional stereotypes about being a man is being business minded, tough, independent while being a woman means being passive, sensitive, and submissive, having beauty, elegance a good homemaker.
Television commercials are most likely to be run at the time when the advertisers think the target audience is watching television to sell their products. For instance, during daytime advertisers will run commercials about food, beauty products cleaning agents and so on in soap operas or dramas that have more women viewers than men viewers have.
On the other hand, in sports programs commercials for things such as beer, vehicles and property are run because the audience for such programs are mostly men. Gender stereotyping in television commercials is a topic that has generated a huge debate and it is an important topic to explore to find out how gender roles in voice-overs TV commercials and the type of products they are selling to the public are related. From many findings, it is clear that advertisers use gender to sell different products during different times in broadcasting.
Many studies in content analysis have been done on television commercials. The studies have focused on gender stereotyping but many have ignored the economic motivation behind the stereotyping in commercials. Advertisers want to make most of their advertisement and run the ads when the target audience is likely to be watching certain television programs. For example during soap operas advertisers will run ads on things like diapers.
This product is hardly seen during programs watched mostly by men for instance sporting programs. While some advertisers may not consider the age and sex of the audience some do so because it is cost effective as they are able to reach most people in the target group using one commercial (Craig 1).
Gender roles stereotyping comes in when advertisers choose to run ads on products aimed at women during daytime. This is considered the best time to reach this target group, as most women are likely to be at home taking care of their children or just housekeeping. These young women are more likely to buy the products advertised than the older women who are largely ignored by the advertisements, as they are not considered as big buyers.
During prime time, the advertisements changed and target women who usually work. To make the advertisement more economical; advertisers run ads that target a wider audience of both men and women. Thus during this time products that appeal to both gender are more likely to be advertised. During the weekend most television stations run sporting events, they are mainly targeted at men, and thus products aimed at men are advertised during these programs. Products such as cars, beer are advertised (Craig 1).
It is also important to note that television programs are also gendered. There are programs created primarily with a specific gender in mind. During these programs, the advertisers get a good opportunity to sell their products to their target audience. The programs are made in such a way that they help to sell the products being advertised.
This is achieved by portraying the characters in the programs with traits that are desirable to the target audience. This in turn makes the target audience desire those traits and thus are more likely to buy products advertised during such times (Craig 3).
For example, men are portrayed as dominant, autonomous; in occupations that are prestigious on the other hand, women are shown as caring, compliant or in domestic settings. Therefore, women will be shown in ads about domestic products while men will often advertise outdoor products or business related products (Chandler 1).
In voice-overs, the gender stereotypes are reinforced and maintained. The program or advertisements makers use voice-overs that represent the products they are advertising and that fit the society’s stereotype of gender roles. In voice-overs, regarding authority male voice-overs are used.
The males do voice-overs for products that are masculine in nature. The male voice-overs are also used in various product advertisements unlike their female counterparts who are mostly used in doing voice-overs for domestic products such as food, cleaning agents or female beauty products.
The female voice-overs are often gentle, sensitive, and dependent or even submissive (Chandler 1). If men are used in advertising home products, they are often shown as being unable to handle the task. For example, a man may be unable to operate a washing machine and a woman comes over and shows him how to use it with so much ease.
This advertisement although not breaking from tradition and having a man advertise at the end a woman comes and she is the one who is able to run the washing machine successfully thus reinforcing the traditional gender roles that homes are best run by women as men cannot be good homemakers. On the contrary, advertisements about men have male figures that work very hard. These males are often rewarded with a beer at the end of a day’s hard work.
The stereotype type being propagated in such an ad is that men work very hard outdoors or in businesses and thus need a reward at the end of the day. Some ads may also show a man who is successful as having many women and thus reinforces they notion that a man can have a woman as long as he works hard. This kind of ads objectify women (Limpinnian 1).
We are in the 21st century and even though the role of women has shifted drastically from that of being care givers to professionals the stereotypes still persist in television advertisement. This may be attributed to the patriarchal society in which males dominant every aspect of life.
Interesting enough children tend to learn these stereotypes from the advertisement they see on television. Girls are often used in fewer ads than boys are and in those advertisements that are used to portray the traditional roles of women.
For example, the girls will be used in doll ads or in cooking fat ads to show that their role is in the home. Conversely, boys are portrayed in ads as being care free with toys cars and tough. This means that the boys and girls grow up to fit into gender behaviors shown in the advertisements (Bradway 1).
Finally, the gender roles in voice-overs in television commercials and the type of products advertised by different genders all seem to reinforce the traditional stereotypes. The advertisers do not want to shift from gendered advertising because they would not want to upset the status quo in the society as the products they produce are produced with a target market in mind.
Bradway, Jacquelyn. Stereotypical Gender Roles Portrayed in Children’s Television Commercials. Web.
Chandler, Daniel. Television and Gender Roles. Web.
Craig, Steve. Men’s men and Women’s Women: How TV Commercials Portray Gender to Different Audiences. Web.
Limpinnian, Danielle. The Portrayal of Men and Women in TV Ads. Web.
Gender stereotypes of superheroes Research Paper
Which one is superior: male or female superheroes?
The research on the gender differences between male and female superheroes falls under the gender research from sociological, psychological and political points of view. There are some amounts of research conducted on coloring books, comic books and cartoon characters in order to see the ways by which gender differences are depicted.
Some researchers focus on the issue from a theoretical point of view while some others have focus on the effects of these gender stereotypes depicted in mass media organs. Yet some other works give their primary focus to practical applications of comic books in classrooms to teach various subjects such as race, equality, gender, patriotism and American history among others.
My topic is based on the debate on gender indifference when it comes to portrayal of women in the media. The research will examine a number of comic books and the remarks given by different researchers.
According to many researchers, superheroes are known to influence a child’s development in terms of upholding their moral values hence the fact the most male superheroes are portrayed as having more strength than the female counterparts makes it a major concern for researchers. It is evident that girls are not innately weak beings neither should they be portrayed as sexual icons with very unnatural figures that are not obviously like those of a normal girl.
Against this background, our hypotheses of the research will be: (1) Males will appear more often than females. (2) Both males and females will be depicted in gender-stereotypical roles. (3) Males will be depicted in more active states than females.
Libby and Aries (302) state that “the way in which we perceive the world around us is not merely a neutral registration of some external reality. Instead, perception involves an active construction that incorporates our past memories and expectations as well as the current context”. The stereotypes have turned against women regarding them as weak beings, cowards, and talkative characters who have a much lower status in the society than men.
The most notorious for promoting gender stereotyping are mostly the social institutions. Since the advancement of media technology that has been incorporated as part and parcel of our every day living in regards to how we involve ourselves with socialization. Entertainment programs such as films, cartoons and dramas are always having a common expectation from the members of the society perpetuating these stereotypes.
It is a common thing that children get to start watching cartoon while they are very young and they watch them almost every time given the opportunity. From many researches that have been conducted, the male characters in cartoons are always superior and dominant beings as opposed to the female (McCabe et al197).
A research conducted by Siegfried and Strand (14) affirms that the cartoon world is a man’s world. While another study conducted by Aiken (74), clearly describes the male characters as also the dominant characters as she describes them as being “chase-and-pratfall”.
Eick (3), a researcher and the author of “Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Television Cartoons,” is in support of the fact that male characters were always being the position of power in such character roles as policemen, superheroes and scientists and they were never shown as characters who could perform roles that include cleaning, cooking nor even have instances where they would show emotions through crying. It is noted that in almost all cartoon programs the male characters are portrayed as strong and dominant characters as compared to their female counterparts who are seen as vulnerable, puny and always depending on the male characters.
The creators of the cartoon have their target audience which is mostly around the age of two to possibly eighteen years of age (2-18) an age bracket that considers a child’s growth. Most of the children have no way of differentiating reality from fantasy hence the stereotypes that develops around this age tend to last longer in the children’s minds as they gradually develop and become mature.
Hence, cartoons portray cultural narrations that can be used to enlighten the young ones and show who they are and who they can end up being. The society is responsible for defining the roles for the two genders. From my point of view, superheroes are neither good nor bad; am convinced in this by the views that have been expressed by several scholars from previous researches.
In 2010, Aiken conducted a research on superheroes basing her referencing on comic books. Aiken’s aim of conducting the research was to find how meaningful super- heroes were in terms of teaching children history in the classroom environment. According to Aiken (41), there are many ways through which school curriculums can be incorporated with comics to suite students learning ability.
Aiken found out that comics that are related to superheroes have significant impact in regards to the history of U.S. in the twentieth century. She suggests that the comic characters, such as Captain America, Wonder Woman and Spiderman could be used to show the people that they can improve themselves to be better people in the society “desire for heroes and for somebody to show us that we can be our better selves” (45).
The comic project book founded through the teachers college at the University of Columbia has been helpful for both the students and the teachers. Students are getting involved in comic works especially via the internet through the help of their teachers. The most notable point is that with time, more teachers are embracing comics today and they use these comic books to their advantage and to the advantage of their students in their classrooms.
Baker and Raney (25) conducted a research concentrating on the gender-stereotypical behaviors portrayed by male and female superheroes in cartoons. They conducted an analysis from 160 hours of recorded programming to watch about 70 characters. The main aim of the analysis of the study is to find out how the different gender characters are being portrayed through stereotypic roles (Baker and Raney 33).
After the analysis which involved the analyzing of the characters manifestation individuality, different traits personal behavior and the super heroic functions of the characters, the result confirmed that there is indeed a great difference between female characters and male characters in regards to how they depict their emotional feelings, how tough they are, their strategy in solving problems and coming up with solutions.
From the research, the female characters are depicted as more emotional and attractive characters while the male characters are depicted as tough and superior characters.
According to Fitzpatrick & McPherson (129), male characters in coloring books are depicted as more active, presenting some gender neutral behaviors and as superheroes, adults and animals. Female characters, on the other hand, are portrayed as children and human beings. They collected 56 coloring books, in which 38% of the books were directed to females, 34% of them were directed to males and 29% of them are appropriate for both genders (131).
While men are portrayed as strong and mature, the female gender is seen as more submissive, vane and composed. Mostly women are seen doing roles such as cooking, cleaning, being concerned with makeup activities, sitting and always looking outside the window as boys play.
A study by Siegfried and Strand (250) shows how today’s culture is setting the views of the youth concerning gender stereotyping in our communities. In their study, they were able to gather about 56 coloring books. In their conclusion, the male gender appears more often than the female gender. In almost all books, both males and females will be represented in gender-stereotypical positions. Most obviously the males will be represented in more active states than their female counterparts.
Another survey conducted by Eick (2) analyzing four popular TV cartoon characters portraying their sex stereotype to prove which of the genders was more superior to the other.
The analysis is based on the number of male versus female characters, the physical characteristic of each individual character, the ability to solve a problem individually as either male or female and both males and females will be represented in gender-stereotypical positions. The outcome showed a remarkable account of indifferences between the portrayal of both the female and male cartoon characters.
Most notably is that the male characters were many in numbers than the female counterparts and all the time they had the same job character in bodily aspects and were recognized as the usual stereotypes. The female gender was not under any circumstance the main people who solved the problems or were be referred to as heroes. Instead they were portrayed and drawn with tiny waists and short skirts while the men looked and played their part more confidently and even the way they dressed showed that they had confidence.
The study is meant to show how women and men are portrayed individually and what effects each character role has on the comic reading audience. The goal of the study is to find out which comics if any had stereotypic influence on either the male or the female character. This research being a scientific research with a defined problem needed accurate data.
The research will be conducted using both secondary data from various well known scholars and websites and primary data that will be obtained from the immediate people and sources. I will identify different remarks from authors who have researched upon this matter and clearly defined them.
The research above is an exploratory type of research whereby the researcher conducts research with the aim of shedding light on a problem/issue which has not yet been well defined. When a researcher embarks on this type of research, the researcher can therefore make accurate and more justified conclusions.
This type of research will use secondary sources of data and qualitative approaches to describe data. The advantage of using qualitative analysis techniques is that the data can give an indication as to why, how and when certain phenomenon occurs.
The research design will act as the glue that will hold the study together and give credence to the research. The research design employed in this research would be a randomized experiment /true experiment design. This is the most preferable design to utilize as the interest of the research is to establish a cause-effect relationship between careers and self image.
Based on this design, it will be structured to show how women and men are portrayed individually and what effects each character role has on the comic reading audience. It will be able to show how all major parts, sample populations, and research methods work in tandem to address the central question.
The media has the ability to influence the public’s thinking capacity especially for the children learning process. The media is responsible for making people have a certain perception about something and this account for the reason as to why we view men in a certain way and women in a totally different way.
We can conclude that the media stereotypes leave tracks of associated characteristics in human perceptions. As noted above almost all cartoon programs and comic book characters show the male characters as strong and dominant characters compared to female characters who are seen as vulnerable, puny and always depending on the male characters.
The reason why the media should change the stereotypes in it is perhaps the misjudgments that have taken place in the past because of stereotypes that withhold senseless judgment. The mass media plays a major role in an individual in making his or her judgment especially during a child growth stage and teenage years.
Teenagers are always influenced with what they see on television and what they hear or learn from the mass media. Previous studies have confirmed that a higher percentage of children and teenagers would do things simply because they saw it on television or heard it on the radio. Noting that even the advertising industry always use gender stereotypes in their advertisements in one way or another as they try to convince their target market to buy their product.
Aiken, Katherine “Superhero History: Using Comic Books to Teach U.S. History.” OAH Magazine of History 24(2) (2010): 41-47. Print.
Baker, Kaysee & Raney, Arthur. “Equally Super? Gender-Role Stereotyping of Superheroes in Children’s Animated Programs.” Mass Communication & Society 10(1) (2007): 25-41. Print.
Eick, Kelly. “Gender Stereotypes in Children’s Television Cartoons.” California Polytechnic College of Liberal Arts (May 1998): 1-3. Print.
Fitzpatrick, Maureen and McPherson, Barbara. “Coloring within the Lines: Gender Stereotypes in Contemporary Coloring Books.” Sex Roles 62.1/2 (2010): 127-137. Print.
Libby, Marion N. and Aries, Elisabeth. “Gender differences in preschool children’s narrative fantasy.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 13 (1989): 293-306. Print.
McCabe, Janice, Fairchild Emily, Grauerholz Liz, Pescosolido Bernice and Tope Daniel. “Gender in Twentieth-Century Children’s Books: Patterns of Disparity in Titles and Central Characters.” Gender & Society 25,2 (2010): 197-226. Print.
Siegfried, John and Strand Stephen. “Sex and the Economics Student.” Review of Economics and Statistics 59 (May 1977): 247-249. Print.
Gender Studies: Gender Stereotypes Qualitative Research Essay
Gender roles are likely to make people develop various stereotypes. For example, there are roles that are uniquely and separately designated for males and females. On the same note, masculinity refers to physical characteristics of a man, and therefore, if a female has masculine features, she may be perceived indifferently in society. This explains why the media has a tendency of branding people with masculine features to be gays or homosexuals. In most cases, the print media and radios do not have capacities to stereotype people.
However, televisions and movies have highly been used to categorize people as gay, feminine or muscular in a negative manner.
The media has for a long time been associated with creation of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) themes. Meem, Mitchell and Jonathan (2010) observe that the study of LGBT is important because it enlightens people on how society has become dynamic.
The media has also been perceived as the center where negative perceptions about this group of people are created. As a result, there are numerous stereotypes associated with this category of people in the modern society. Out of the many categories of media broadcasts, television and movies are widely known to reinforce negative perceptions on people who belong to LGBT category.
Stereotyping people can be harmful because it can transform slight assumptions on people to perceived realities (Meem, Mitchell & Jonathan, 2010).
Such stereotypes are capable of perpetuating inequality and social prejudice in society. However, it is imperative to note that stereotyping through the media is sometimes inevitable. In the case of television, stereotyping occurs through advertisements, news bulletins and entertainment. For films, stereotyping has been used as a form of marketing. The stereotypical codes give TV and film audiences a common and quick way of understanding a particular person.
In most cases, stereotypical codes focus on ethnicity, social role, sexual orientation, occupation, race and gender. Most often, the groups that are being stereotyped may not defend themselves. They are usually the minority and raising their voices may make little impact. However, there are some measures which have been instituted to help reduce stereotyping.
There are those who have a common tendency of thinking that the way people think and cat can be uniform across the globe (Carroll, 2009). This is not true because people are diverse and their mindsets also vary. This is mostly applicable in homosexuality whereby gays and lesbians are viewed to be outside the mainstream or dominant culture.
The dominant culture in this case refers to marriage and love relationships between people of different gender. With the emergence of gothic culture, it is probable to categorize them as being weird or abnormal. Same sex marriages and behavioral patterns are prevalent in virtually all cultures. As Carroll (2009) documents, “same sex behavior is found in every culture, and its prevalence remains about the same” (p.290).
Media is a viable source of information in society such that televisions and films are very influential due to both sound and visual effect. These two mediums of communication are crucial in symbolic annihilations of lesbians and gays.
According to Vollmer (2003), films and TVs tend to avoid integrating gays and lesbians in their programs for fear of offending advertisers, target audiences as well as investors. This kind of portrayal is not desirable because it denies them their human rights. The fact that they belong to a new generation culture does not mean that they should not enjoy their rights.
With their visual effects, the two mediums of communication cultivate a perception that homosexuals are bad elements in society. They should not be given a chance to be heard if they have views to rise. Due to fear of loosing audience and revenues, these two mediums of communication edit their programs to extent that audiences place homosexuals under the category of abhorred people.
The issue of sexual orientation has been used as an indicator of villainy and deviance in children’s movies (Vollmer, 2003). If children are to be shown movies that portray homosexuals as bad characters in society, then, they would grow up hating them. A negative perception is cultivated in such children.
Such kind of stereotypes can instigate violence in society. For example, a gay male may not be welcomed in a party. It is only a question of ethics. Homosexuals are also put as either victims or villains in movies. They are depicted as belonging to a weird or foreign culture that cannot be tolerated. It is rare to have a movie that has the main character being gay or lesbian.
If a girl begins to demonstrate some signs of male characteristics, she is referred to as a ‘tom-boy’. It is like a taboo to show such kinds of signs in a girl. On the other hand, if a male does not have masculine features, he is seen as an outcast. All of these perceptions are obtained from the media, and especially televisions and movies.
According to Mehta and Hay (2005), media houses have for a long time helped to construct and reinforce stereotypical ideas about masculinity and men. From what is portrayed in the media, it is possible for people to dismiss others on the basis of whether they have masculinity or are feminine (Ferrey, 2008).
Televisions and movies through their visual effects help define ‘a real man’. During advertisements, there are some particular aspects of man that are portrayed. A man who fails to have certain forms of male features may not be shown on TV or may not be considered for a film (Cohen & Hall, 2009).
Moreover, the marketing companies have started to object men in the same manner women have been objected them for long. The fitness of a man, his muscles and general outlook count a lot in determining whether he is to feature in a program or not.
A research study titled, Attitudes toward stereotypical versus counter-stereotypical gay men and lesbians indicates that 662 confessed gays, lesbians and bisexuals had contended with victimization in the society (Cohen & Hall, 2009). 20% of those reported having faced criminals because of their sexual orientation.
In the year 2005, Federal Bureau had reported 1,171 hate crime offenses of people perceived to be of homosexual orientation. This is the kind of segregation that has existed in the society. The major problem is because media and mostly electronic media show homosexuals as people who have undertaken ‘abnormal’ directions of life. They are not part of the mainstream culture.
The only solution to this is for governments to put up institutions that can help people understand that everybody ought to enjoy unlimited human rights. Forums can also help eradicated the notions cultivated by media about gay and lesbians and institute in the minds of people a culture of tolerance.
To recap it all, it is imperative to note that gender stereotypes are discouraging the minorities to invest in businesses (Ferrey, 2008). No particular person should be segregated on the basis of masculinity. However, the contemporary society seems not to be careful on categorizing people on gender and most importantly on femininity and masculinity. The best solution out of this tricky situation is to invest in education of young generation on how to accept all categories of people in society.
Carroll, J. L. (2009). Sexuality now: embracing diversity. Belmont: CengageBrain Learning.
Cohen, T. R. & Hall, D. L. (2009), Attitudes toward stereotypical versus counter-stereotypical gay men and lesbians. Web.
Ferrey, P.A. (2008). Gender Stereotypes persist. Retrieved from https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/inc_com/inc1211198677212.html
Meem, D. T., Michelle A. G., & Jonathan A. (2010). Finding Out: An Introduction to LGBT Studies. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Mehta, V. P. & Hay, K. (2005). A superhero for gays? Gay masculinity and green lantern. The Journal of American Culture, 28(4), 390-404.
Vollmer, M. L. (2003). Gender transgression and villainy in animated film. Taylor & Francis Journal, 1(2), 89-109.
How contemporary toys enforce gender stereotypes in the UK Research Paper
The research topic is “How contemporary toys enforce gender stereotypes in the UK.” The key research question is: Do toys reflect old stereotypes in gender?. The minor research questions include: How do toys represent their subjects in terms of gender?, In what ways are these representations symptomatic of real life?, Do those representations lead to stereotypes in adult life?.
Statement of methods
The research methodology implies the use of quantitative methods, particularly cross-sections surveys. For the survey four toys have been chosen – two for boys and two for girls. The surveys contain questions about these toys, their appearances, as well as gender-related questions.
The study premises on the answers of fifteen girls at age 8-11 and fifteen boys at similar age category. The survey is based on questionnaires that were specifically developed for this research. The questionnaires contained predominantly multiple-choice questions, several open-ended questions, and some general questions. The toys represented various functions that are traditionally assigned to women and men in society.
Children’s parents also took in survey to define the degree of gender representation in the toys chosen for the experiment. The toys should be scaled as female oriented (scale from 1-4), gender neutral (5 points), and male oriented (from 6 to 9 points). In this study, 18 couples (9 fathers and 9 mothers) agreed to participate in the research analysis of their choices in buying toys for their children. Children also had to go through interviews were recorded by the research participants. The interviews were conducted in the presence of their parents.
Data collection will involve a three step process in which four toys from Tesco will be selected. Two must account for either of the genders. Thereafter, the researcher will analyze the items on the basis of dominant signs or representations. Certain patterns on gender will be identified from the signs and these will be structured in accordance with semiotic ideas. Finally, the patterns will be related to the research questions and similarities found.
The research topic is “How contemporary toys enforce gender stereotypes in the UK.” Scholars have argued that a semiotic relationship exists in toys and this perpetuates gender stereotypes. Girls and boys learn about society’s expectations about their gender from what they interact with, and toys are one such example. Therefore, the key research question is: Do toys reflect old stereotypes in gender? The minor research questions include: How do toys represent their subjects in terms of gender?, In what ways are these representations symptomatic of real life?, Do those representations lead to stereotypes?. The research will employ semiotic content analysis to answer the research questions.
Toys are an important semiotic resource in that they illustrate social identities and social roles. Therefore, an analysis of their representation is critical in determining social relationships. This research is particularly interested in gender representations. Leeuwe explains that dolls create certain roles among their users.
They are interactive in nature; consequently, their kinesthetic designs will determine the role that a child will take on when playing with them. For instance, a teddy bear has lots of fur in order to encourage the child to cuddle it. Alternatively, a spider man toy may have provisions for sticking on walls. Therefore, the kinesthetic design of a doll will determine how a child will interact with it. With time, children will learn about societal rules and what they can or cannot do with their toys.
A toy has an identity depending on its physical features. The color of the toy, its anatomical features, the build, its skin color, hair length and other features all form part of a toy’s identity. These features are unique markers of the child’s or manufacturer’s culture. For instance, many dolls in western culture have females with blond hair as a measure of what western culture considers conventional.
Finally, toys carry meaning in their design and representation. The traits in a toy will provide clues about what they symbolize. For instance, some toys may possess huge muscles or large breasts depending on the meaning they want to convey. Sometimes, their physical features may have a comic effect or they may represent society’s expectations about the toy. Toys are, therefore, useful in engaging in a discourse analysis about their social worlds. Their roles, identities and meanings answer pertinent questions concerning society.
The study was premised on the results from the surveys designed for children and parents. To begin with, parents should label the selected toys in relation to gender functions they performed.
The scale that was designed for this study ranged from1 to 9 points, where female-related roles were highlighted by points from 1 to 4, gender-neutral toys were labeled as 5 and male-related toys were evaluated from 5 to 9 points. The proposed scales helped to classify the toys in accordance with gender stereotypes and parents’ attitude to them.
The parents sample included 18 couples with 9 fathers and 9 mothers, who were gathered through mass-mailing and phone calls. The information about electronic mail address and phone numbers were taken from the database from the school in which their children studied.
The average age of parents was about 37.3 years. The scale developed for estimating gender appropriateness sought to define how parents understood the functions that the toys could perform in children’s games (See Appendix 2). The toys were designed for children under the age from 8 to 11.
There were 30 children (15 boys and 15 girls) who also participated in the study who should define the roles and function that each toy could perform during the play. The cross-sectional survey implied interviewing each child individually to achieve the accuracy and objectivity of results.
Both parents and children were presented to four toys. Two toys – Baby Annabel Function Doll and Barbie Doggie Water Park – were designed for girls whereas Bob The Builder Construction Tower and Transformers 3 Ultimate Optimus Prime were selected for boys.
Apart from the gender stereotype scale, parents will be presented with the appropriateness scale that can allow them to determine whether these toys are relevant for children to play. This survey relied on the study Campenni who applied to several characteristics, including appropriateness of toys for girls and for boys in terms of the roles and functions they perform.
Before parents and children were chosen for survey analysis, parents were informed about the purpose and scope of research and were proposed to participate in the research studies. The explanation was also provided to parent’s children who were interviewed in the presence of their parents.
The questionnaire developed for children aims to learn the way they perceived and understood gender roles and functions each toy performs. The questions were composed of open-ended and general type, which contributed to the credibility and validity of the study. The results of the study were processed to define the main attributes that children assigned to these toys.
The study utilized semiotic principles in order to identify connotations of gender in four types of toys. The researcher selected the toys on the basis of their popularity in Tesco retail chains. For girls’ toys, the two items were “Baby Annabel Function Doll” and “Barbie Doggie Water Park”. For boys the two items were “Bob The Builder Construction Tower” and “Transformers 3 Ultimate Optimus Prime”. Both genders had a singular toy and a set.
Children defined some of the physical attributes of the toys. “Baby Annabell Function Doll” is a likeness of a baby in that it that it has the size and physical features of a baby. The doll’s mouth allows one to insert a pacifier or a feeding bottle. Additionally, the doll is battery-powered, so it makes noises similar to that of a real baby when it wakes up.
This works whenever the doll opens its eyes after closing them. Some parts of the doll are made of soft material especially on the torso while the hands, and head are plastic. The doll wears colorful material and clothes that are similar to those of a real child. The colors of choice are white and pink.
Conversely, “Barbie Doggie Water Park” is a collection of a Barbie doll walking her dog at a park. The set has three puppies, a picnic basket and blanket, bones, a dog, a handbag for Barbie a well as some scenes from the park. Barbie looks straight at the buyer and firmly holds the dog’s string as she moves along.
She is wearing a colorful pink and purple blouse and a short orange skirt. The doll also has roller skates and knee pads to protect her in case she falls. Barbie also has long blond hair, and blue eyes. Children can comb her hair with a comb from her bag.
Bob the Builder Construction Tower is a series of parts that allow children to create a water tower. The parts consist of a series of staircases, walls, pulleys, wheelbarrows and floors. The child is supposed to use a pictorial depiction of the completed tower to create the whole item. It is made up of bold colors like yellow and red.
Transformers 3 Ultimate Optimus Prime is a black and red robot from the Transformers series. ‘Transformers’ is a successful film trilogy that many boys love and enjoy. Children have the option of reassembling the robot into a vehicle so they can decide how to play with it. The toy makes missile and battle sounds. It also has flowing weapons that are intended on scaring away enemies. The transformer looks like an alien owing to its weird antennas, wing-like creatures and its numerous extensions.
Baby Annabel Function Doll represents women as nurturers. A baby naturally requires nurturing; therefore, if a manufacturer is selling such a toy, then he or she intends on perpetuating that stereotype. Considerable interactions with such types of dolls will prepare children for their future roles as mothers.
Unlike Transformer 3, Baby Annabel cannot be deconstructed. The child playing with this doll cannot exercise her duty as a creator. Instead, she must accept that she is a consumer.
Annabel’s set comes with a series of pacifiers, baby bottles and other items. Such a depiction has an adverse implication on what society expects from women as adults. Most manufacturers make their products for women. Cosmetics, household items, and clothes are largely intended for the female consumer. Therefore, this doll is preparing the girl for her role as a consumer in adult life.
Conversely, Transformers 3 is a stand-alone toy. It does not come with several other items like pacifiers. Instead, the toy repeats certain noises that mirror the battlefield. Nothing about the toy signifies care; the boy who plays can take on the role of an action figure in a battle. He has the capacity to defeat his enemies and become a winner.
The toy reflects an outgoing person who does not have to confine himself to domestic situations. This is reflective of what society expects from boys as they grow older. Additionally, the movements of the toys indicate that the child can explore and learn about new things.
Bob the Builder Construction Tower allows the child to pretend to be an engineer or architect. The fact that it is called ‘Bob’ indicates that it is meant for boys. Clearly, the construction site is a very versatile place for the boy to aspire. The toy proves that manufacturers are offering boys more options than girls. They can think about their future professions and relate to them. Bob the Builder is conditioning boys to become direct participants in the economy when they become older.
On the flipside, Barbie Doggie Water Park has no such professional roles. Barbie is walking her dog on roller skates. Her physical attributes accentuate her femininity; such as a curvy body and long legs. One cannot help but notice her physical attractiveness.
The fact that the manufacturers placed a comb in her bag indicates that Barbie must be preoccupied with her appearance. Such a factor will condition Barbie to become conscious about her looks. In the future, it is likely that she will seek approval from others because of this preoccupation with physical attributes.
Boys have more options than girls in the world of toys. This conditions them for their future adult roles in which the same distinctions exist. The kinesthetic design of the toys is a sign that signifies power relations among the gender. Annabel the doll is seated while Transformer 3 is standing with its legs part. Additionally Barbie is preoccupied with her appearance while Bob the Builder is not even on the set. These positions indicate that girls must care about appeasing others. The stand-alone nature of Transformer 3 shows that boys should be independent. It is standing with its legs apart to demonstrate confidence. These are all qualities that society expects from men in adulthood. Additionally, the baby who is seating down has less control than the Transformer 3 who is ready for attack. Power relations of control in the male gender are evident through this kinesthetic design. Boys can change the transformer into a car or they can construct “Bob the Builder’ into something tangible. A lot of rigidity is present in girl’s toys as they can barely move their toys. Girls thus learn that exploration is not a welcome trait. In adult life, it is not surprising that many of them will seek assistance when performing physical tasks like changing tires. Such toys stifle their creative tendencies.
The identity of the toys also has a lot to show about what society expects from women. The aesthetics of the toys are symptomatic of gender stereotypes. Baby Annabel is dressed in pink and white. It has big eyes and chubby cheeks designed to elicit nurturing and caring reactions. Conversely, Transformers 3 or Bob the builder have daring and bold colors designed to encourage the child to do something with it. Girls toys tend to cause them to become more relational while boys toys emphasize practical aspects of things or aggression.
The four research items have proved that contemporary toys still enforce gender stereotypes. Girls’ toys teach them how to become consumers, submissive nurturers and affirmation seekers. On the other hand, boys’ toys condition them for independence, assertiveness, confidence and production in their adult life.
Blakemore, Judith & Renee Centers. “Characteristics of boys’ and girls’ toys.” Sex Roles Journal 53, no. 9(2005): 619-634.
Bell, Susan. “How to use semiotics in qualitative research.” Susan Bell Research. Web.
Campenni, C. Estelle. 1999. “Gender Stereotyping of Children’s Toys: A Comparison of Parents and Nonparents.” Sex Roles 40, no. 1/2: 121-138.
Chandler, Daniel. Semiotics: The Basics. London: Routledge, 2002.
Cherney, Ian, Linda Kelly-Vance & Kate Glover. “The effects of stereotyped toys and gender on play assessment in children aged 18–47 months.” Educational Psychology no. 23(2003), 95–105.
Keramyda, Maria. “Social and ideological Stereotypes in Children’s toy advertisements in Greek Television.” Applied Semiotics no. 22(2009): 203-225.
Squidoo. “Tesco Top 10 Toys for Christmas 2012.” Squidoo. Web.
Stengling, Maya. “Binding: a resource for exploring interpersonal meaning in 3D space.” Social Semiotics 18, no. 4(2008): 425-447.
Van Leeuwen, Theo. “The world according to Playmobil.” Semiotica Journal 173, no. 1(2009): 299-315
Van Leeuwen, Theo & C. Caldas-Coulthard. The semiotics of kinetic design. Wales: Cardiff University Press, 2002.
Wood, Wendy & A. Eagly. “A cross-cultural analysis of the behavior of women and men: Implications for the origins of sex differences.” Psychological Bulletin no. 128 (2002), 699–727.
- Which roles do you assign to the proposed toys:
- Female-related roles;
- Gender roles;
- Which factors influence your decision to buy a toy?
- To entertain a child;
- To develop his mental and physical skills;
- Do you buy toys to develop gender roles among your children?
- Why do you prefer buying role-related toys?
- For developing gender roles;
- For engaging them into a game;
Appendix 3: Survey Results
Figure 1: Gender Appropriateness
|Parents||Labeling Numbers from 1 to 9. 1st column – 1-4 – female-related roles; 2nd column – 5 – gender-neutral roles; 3rd column 6-9 male-related roles (number of responses)|
|Barbie||Baby Annabel||Bob the Builder||Transformers|
Appendix 4: Survey Questions (for children)
- How do you describe your toy?
- Which of the toys do you like most?
- Do you like your toy?
- What games can you play using this toy?
- Assigning various roles to toys;
- Entertaining each other;
- What role do you perform in game with this toy?
- Active player;
- Passive player;
- Do you want to play with children with the same toy or you prefer playing alone?
- Play with children;
- Playing alone;
- Theo Van Leeuwen, “The world according to Playmobil,” Semiotica Journal 173, no. 1(2009): 299-315
- Maria Keramyda, “Social and ideological Stereoptypes in Children’s toy advertisements in Greek Television,” Applied Semiotics no. 22(2009): 203-225.
- Estelle C. Campenni,. “Gender Stereotyping of Children’s Toys: A Comparison of Parents and Nonparents.” Sex Roles 40, no. 1, (1999): 133.
- Squidoo, “Tesco Top 10 Toys for Christmas 2012,” Squidoo, Last modified January 2013.
- Wendy Wood & A Eagly, “A cross-cultural analysis of the behavior of women and men: Implications for the origins of sex differences,” Psychological Bulletin no. 128 (2002), 699–727.
- Judith Blakemore, & Renee Centers, “Characteristics of boys’ and girls’ toys,” Sex Roles Journal 53, no. 9(2005): 619-634
- Ian Cherney, Linda Kelly-Vance & Kate Glover, “The effects of stereotyped toys and gender on play assessment in children aged 18–47 months,” Educational Psychology no. 23(2003), 95–105.
- Maya Stengling, “Binding: a resource for exploring interpersonal meaning in 3D space,” Social Semiotics 18, no. 4(2008): 425-447.
- Theo Van Leeuwen & C Caldas-Coulthard, The semiotics of kinetic design (Wales: Cardiff University Press, 2002), 41-53.
Towards Evaluating the Relationship between Gender Stereotypes & Culture Research Paper
Modernization and science has freed people’s perception and consciousness from many retrogressive traditions, having exposed them to be socially illusionary, economically unproductive, and politically partisan.
For example, no one in the 21st century would now challenge the fact that no race, creed, or nationality is superior to another. However, several stereotypes to date remain untouched. And one, in particular, is the notion that gender intrinsically determines an individual’s psyche, occupation, and social standing in society (Kluchko, 2010).
This notion has heralded a multiplicity of other incomplete and inaccurate beliefs, fueled by our varying cultural dispositions, and encoded in our linguistic expressions as well as in normative discourses. It is therefore the object of this paper to examine the relationship between gender stereotypes and culture with a view to elucidating how gender stereotypes, reinforced by our diverse cultural beliefs, continue to allocate roles along the tenets of gender.
Gender stereotypes has been defined by Kluchko (2010) as the “…totality of fixed ideas about the natural determination of male and female social characteristics” (p. 75).
Current literature as revealed by Cuddy et al. (2009) and Lenton et al. (2009) demonstrate that culture, which can be simply defined as a people’s way of life, employs powerful and influential representations to vehicle and maintain these stereotypes. Indeed, it is the opinion of many researchers and theorists that there exist distinct division between male and female throughout all cultures, and more so in the division of labor and wealth ownership.
From the list of Occupations and Gender provided, a pattern was formed upon responding to the questions, which saw more complicated roles being allocated to men and less technical jobs being allocated to women.
The list revealed that some complicated roles such as doctor, lawyer, taxi-driver, pilot, mechanic, and architect have more traditional masculine traits, while other less complicated roles such as baby sitter, chef, designer, and make-up artist have more traditional feminine traits.
Such a pattern only serves to perpetuate the conceptual difference between men and women, not mentioning that it reveals the veracity and dynamism of modern-day gender stereotypes and their ability to cut across cultural boundaries (Tripathy, 2010).
Both responses from the list revealed some similarities and differences. Most similarities revolved around the complexity of a particular role and the gender to be allocated such a role. More complex roles, as indicated above, were allocated to men across the two responses, while less complex roles were allocated to women.
For instance, roles of doctor, lawyer, pilot, and architect were all allocated to men, while roles of baby sitter, chef, and make-up artist were allocated to women. Some differences were noted, though, especially in roles that were neither too complex nor too easy. These roles include that of a school-teacher and dancer.
In all dimensions, our cultural backgrounds affected the perceptions that were drawn. Cultural disposition, according to Campbell & Collaer (2009), is a major component and influencer of how society delegates roles according to gender. The observations from the list demonstrate how different cultures across the world employ similar but unrelated normative values and stereotypes to assign roles for men and women in relation to the roles’ complexity (Lenton et al., 2009).
By taking into account culturally learned characteristics, men are viewed as more masculine and therefore able to handle more complex roles, while women are traditionally viewed as more feminine and malleable, thus unfit to be entrusted with complex roles. In short, this is a reflection of gender stereotypes.
Culture, particularly in African and Asian countries, is largely viewed as unchanging and oppressive, to some extent fossilized and frozen in time. When one is born, he is internalized into this unchanging culture along with its rules, normative values, and beliefs (Tripathy, 2010).
In consequence, if one is born into a culture that has biased constructions of femininity and masculinity, chances are that he will remain with the internalized notion of division of labor for a long time, and will also make biased decisions as to what roles fits men and what roles fits women, thus falling into a spin of cultural essentialism (Tripathy, 2010).
Most cultures across the world delegates simple roles to women, while the more professional and financially fulfilling roles are the preserve of men. Kluchko (2010) puts it right by observing that “…for a woman, housewife and mother is considered the most significant social role.
She is assigned to the private sphere of life: home, giving birth to children and responsibility for interrelations in the family is entrusted to her” (p. 75). Such cultural orientations affected the perceptions drawn in the Occupations and Gender list. However, the differences noted in the list demonstrate that gender stereotypes are not natural dispositions, but are founded on gender ideologies and are culturally constructed.
A meta-analytic review on automatic gender stereotypes found that there exist a lot of gender stereotypes in the workplace (Lenton et al., 2009). Indeed, some CEOs are to date unconvinced that a woman is able to handle a managerial position in their organizations.
Indeed, Kluchko (2010) observes that “…according to traditional ideas, it is assumed that women’s work should be in the nature of doing and serving, part of the expressive sphere of activity” (p. 75). But this must not be allowed to continue. Tripathy (2010) argues that women, the main culprits of gender stereotypes, need to be empowered to be creative and endeavor to achieve more.
Lenton et al. (2009) argues that employees should be educated and coached so as not to resist change. Resistance to change has been highlighted by Campbell & Collaer (2009) as one of the contributing factors towards gender stereotypes. Lastly, employees need to avoid experiences or environments that may activate gender stereotyping. All in all, society needs to shed off some of these inaccurate and incomplete beliefs such as gender stereotypes.
Campbell, S.M., & Collaer, M.L. (2009). Stereotype threat and gender differences in performance on a novel visuospatial task. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33(4), 437-444. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier Database
Cuddy, A.J.C., Fiske, S.T., Kwan, V.S.Y., Glick, P., Demoulin, S…Palacios, M. (2009). Stereotype content model across cultures: Towards universal similarities and some differences. British Journal of Social Psychology, 48(1), 1-33. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier Database
Kluchko, O.I. (2010). Gender stereotyping in studying pressing social problems. Anthropology & Archeology of Eurasia, 49(1), 75-91. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier Database
Lenton, A.P., Bruder, M., Sedikides, C. (2009). A meta-analysis on the malleability of automatic gender stereotypes. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 33(2), 183-196. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier Database
Tripathy, J. (2010). How gendered is gender and development? Culture, masculinity, and gender difference. Development in Practice, 20(1), 113-121. Retrieved from Academic Search Premier Database
Influence of activating implicit gender stereotypes in females Report
Gender stereotypes exist across all cultures and all societies. If an individual abides by stereotype threat, they are likely to perform poorly in any subsequently associated challenge. Various studies have been conducted mainly focusing on examining effects of stereotypes activation on performance.
Past studies have revealed that performance can be depressed when individuals feel that the group to which they belong is negatively stereotyped with respect to that area; in our case, women are poor performers in mathematics. This study sought to investigate whether activating implicit gander stereotypes in female can influence performance in mathematics.
As a result, it was hypothesized that increasing the salience of female identity stereotypes decreases performance in mathematics. The study used two groups of 50 randomly selected 2nd year female students each. The participants were subjected to two different prime conditions.
One was a gender based prime where they watched a two minute You tube clip from “Part of Your World” while the other was nature based where the participants watched dolphins playing near the shore from BBC’s Planet Earth. Participants later took a two minutes 10 questions mathematics test.
The results were analyzed using descriptive statistics and particularly the mean. The results revealed that the participants who were subjected to the gender based prime performed relatively poorly compared to their counterparts on the nature prime. This thus indicated that actually activating implicit gender stereotypes in females influences performance in mathematics. The study therefore illustrates the negative impact of gender stereotyping and media representation of females.
Influence of Activating Implicit Gender Stereotypes in Females on Performance in Mathematics
The aspect of sex differences in education is one of the most researched areas concerning gender and education. Particularly, a male-female characteristic versus performance comparison takes centre stage. In their book “The psychology of sex differences,” Maccoby and Jacklin (1974) reviewed 1400 research articles on sex differences.
According to the authors, it is hard to underpin the role of stereotyping on individuals’ development of behavior or cognitive sex differences. Nonetheless, they concluded that some observable patterns of behavior thrive in areas of verbal and mathematical skills where girls are better in the former and boys are good at the latter.
Gender patterns in performance on various subjects vary from country to country. For instance an assessment by the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) in Iceland revealed that , girls have proven to be superior to boys in three major areas namely mathematics, science and reading.
In Ireland however, the Irish PISA revealed that boys outperformed girls in proficiency in mathematics. Similar results were revealed in multiple choices questions and there was reduced anxiety about mathematics among boys as opposed to girls (OECD, 2004).
The International Assessment of Education Progress (IAEP) comparative study in 1991 showed that the differences in male and female socialization patterns in various societies, communities and cultures; as well as variations across time and space are the most significant factors influencing the development of gender differences in capabilities and attainment (Eurydice, 2010).
PISA 2003 pointed out that there were significantly small differences in performance among students in relation to gender. That is to say, males performed slightly better than girls (OECD, 2001) did. Basing on the above literature, the effects of stereotypes on performance and specifically on females clearly exists.
However, studies on priming have revealed that in the view of commencement of stereotypes and their forthcoming self-fulfillment, unconstructive self-related stereotypes are actually hazardous (Wheeler and Petty, 2001). Thus, unexpected fulfillment of the stereotype by the involved subject strengthens it, putting into play a fatal cycle of self-continuation (Ambady, Paik, Steele, Owen-Smith and Mitchell, 2003).
There exists a gap in literature on whether effects of negative stereotyping can be counteracted once introduced to participants. A study by Stangor, Carr and Kiang (1998), reported that after stereotype activation on participants who were made to believe that they were good in word finding puzzle, the participants did not perform significantly better.
Thus, this indicates that stereotype activation may not have necessarily influenced their performance. To this effect, a study was carried out to find out if gender stereotype priming could actually influence performance in a mathematics test among female students. To achieve the study objective, the study hypothesized that increasing the salience of female identity stereotypes decreases mathematics performance by females.
The study used a cross sectional survey research design. This design allows researchers to collect data from a large sample, to use hypotheses and to get respondents’ opinions and feelings on issues relevant to the study (Kothari, 2008). More so, this design is cost effective, provides for generalization of the data collected and further allows for hypothesis testing while at the same time allowing the researcher to report respondents’ opinions, feelings, attitudes and propositions.
The population was represented in the study by a randomly selected sample of 100 students whose selection was based on Balian’s (1988) recommendations for determining an appropriate sample size. Mugenda and Mugenda (2003), describe a population as an entire group of individuals, events, or objects having a common observable characteristic. The population of study in this case was second year female students.
Balian recommends a sample size of 60 to 300 or at most an average of 200 respondents in a survey study with an alteration of 10%. To this effect, the researcher decided to use 100 cases for the study. They were split into two groups each containing 50 members. By flipping a coin, all female participants were randomly assigned to specific conditions. The first conditions were the gender prime condition where participants watched a two minutes clip on YouTube of “Part of Your World.”
The second prime condition was a nature prime in which participants watched a narration by David Attenborough, which was a clip of dolphins playing near the shore from the BBC’s Planet Earth. This film does not present any gender stereotyping nor is there any mention of gender aspects.
The respondents were then given ten simple mathematics questions to answer within two minutes. The questions were developed with consultation with peers so as to ensure the validity of the data collection instrument. The data collected was analyzed with the aid of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0 (Eurydice, 2010).
After the data had been collected, it was cleaned up, coded, and then entered into the computer program. Descriptive statistics were used to summarize and present the data in narrative, graphical and tabular form. Using descriptive statistics specifically the mean, frequencies and percentages, the study objectives were summarized, analyzed and reported.
Results and Discussion
The study revealed that on average, mathematics performance was depressed for participants in the gender stereotype prime condition. That is to say that the females who watched disney’s Marmaid were likely to perform poorly in this subject (Refer to figure 1 above).
This could be interpreted to mean that female gender stereotypes may have been made salient and thus might have affected the participants’ self-concept and increased their anxiety. Past research results have revealed that girls more than boys have high anxiety with regard to mathematics. These results supported the observation by OECD, (2004) who noted that girls had higher anxiety regarding mathematics.
Similarly, the results supported the stereotype held about girls that they have low self-concept and self-efficacy. Thus, by priming them with stereotypes regarding them, they got anxious and could not see themselves as capable to deal with simple mathematical problems. Rather, they got anxious and thus could not perform to the expectation.
On the contrary, those that watched the BBC’s nature clip performed averagely well. This can be attributable to the fact that, their self-efficacy was not affected and could handle the problem without any anxieties. OECD (2004) also reported such results that lack anxiety, high self-efficacy, and self-concept in Poland and Italy.
This study results have also differed with that conducted by Ambady et al. (2003). Their study revealed that as soon as it is initiated, the path of maladaptive, stereotype-congruent conduct as a result of stereotyping can be averted. On the contrary, this study has revealed that stereotype primed individuals performed worse off than their nature primed counterparts.
Most possibly, this occurred because the gender stereotype primed individuals were unable to disassociate themselves with the female category and thus there was a possibility of stereotype approval being more intimidating (Balian, 1988).
However, it is expected that the participants would have developed mechanisms to cope with the negative stereotype activation. As past research points out, there is more than one way to do this. This would include the following. First, as suggested by Steele (1997), making the stereotype irrelevant by misidentifying with it can help.
Secondly, indulging other salient identities the can alter the self-importance of a stereotype as well as individual’s response to it as revealed by Stapel, Koomen and Spears, (1999). Thirdly, disregarding group based identity and bearing in mind a more individualistic perspective (Turner and Onorato, 1999).
Considering these researches in mind, if the salience of group identity in this case “females” is substituted with the salience of personal identity, the risks affiliated with negative stereotype priming could be reduced and performance changed to be illustrative of an individual’s capacity and not the group to which they belong.
Thus, this study has demonstrated that such abilities of individuals distancing themselves with stereotypes associated with groups to which they belong are utterly impossible. Furthermore, the media representation of females in a gender stereotype actually affects their performance. This may be because most of the 2nd year females might have grown watching such Disney movies as the little Mermaid.
From the above research findings, it can be concluded that actually activating implicit gender stereotypes in female had a negative effect on their performance in mathematics. Furthermore, the females in this study were unable to employ the mechanisms as have been pointed out by other scholars that can be useful in reducing the negative effects of implicit stereotyping.
This also illustrates that actually media representation of females could have negative effects on their performance. In addition, females primed with gender stereotypes can perform poorly in mathematics.
Ambady, N., Paik, S. K., Steele, J., Owen-Smith, A., & Mitchell, J. (2003). Deflecting negative self-relevant stereotype activation: The effects of individuation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 40 (2004), 401-408.
Balian, E. S. (1988). How to design, analyze, and write doctoral or master’s research. New York: University Press of America.
Kiang, L., Carr, C., & Stangor, C. (1998). Activating Stereotypes undermines task performance expectations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, (1)75, 1191-1197.
Eurydice, K. (2010). Gender difference in educational outcomes: study on the measure taken and the current situation in Europe. Brussels: Education, Audiovisual, and Culture Executive Agency.
Kothari, C. (2008). Research methodology: Methods and techniques. New Delhi: New Age International (P) Limited, Publishers.
Jacklin, C., & Maccoby, E. (1974). The psychology of sex differences. Stanford: Stanford University Press.
Mugenda, A. B. & Mugenda, O. M. (2003). Research Methods. Quantitative And Qualitative Approaches. Nairobi: African Center for Technology Studies (ACTS).
OECD. (2004). Learning for Tomorrow’s World: First Results from PISA 2003. Paris: OECD.
Stapel, D., Koomen, W. & Spears, R. (1999). Framed and Misfortuned: Identity salience and the whiff of scandal. European Journal of Social Psychology, 2(29), 397-402.
Steele, C. M. (1997). A threat in the air: how stereotypes shape intellectual identity and performance. American Psychologist, 1(52), 613-629.
Turner, J., & Onorato, R. S. (1999). Social identity, personality, and self-concept: A self-categorization perspective. (2 ed.). The psychology of social self, 1(9), 11-46.
Wheeler, S. C., & Petty, R. (2001). The effects of stereotype activation on behavior: A review of possible mechanisms. Psychological Bulletin, 127(6), 797-826.
Dr. Stacy Smith’ View on Women Gender Stereotypes Essay
The main point
The article by Dr. Stacy Smith discusses gender stereotyping of women in roles assigned in films and television, with regards to children programs. The author expresses concern on the intentional misrepresentation of women as lesser members of the society who should be given minor roles in films and television.
The author is not happy with the continuous action of the society to paint a picture of women as inferior and mere objects sexual gratification. From the four studies by Dr. Stacy Smith, the author is unfortunate that despite the fact that population of men and women is equal, the womenfolk, the society is not really to accept this equality in assigning roles, even when a female actor is more efficient.
The most surprising thing is that women are portrayed in films that are meant for children as passive objects of hyper sexuality despite taking up the same portion of the population as their male counterparts. From the four studies, the findings reveal that female in the film industry as treated in the same way; lesser beings who are only suitable for smaller or support roles.
Apparently, there is a very open imbalance in the number of single speaking women personalities as compared to the number of males assigned the same role. Apparently, very few female actions have managed to break the glass ceiling phenomenon. The Glass Ceiling Phenomenon refers to the invisible forces that make it very difficult for women to be given leading roles in the films industry in general, despite having outstanding achievements and qualifications.
Regardless of the existence of different channels of countering this misrepresentation, the phenomenon is still operational and continues to bar women from getting the leading actor role in films targeting children. Despite existence of many agencies promoting equality and equity among the male and female actors, the number of women to men occupying the leading role in films is within the ratio of 1:3, despite having similar or even higher qualifications.
Gender imbalance enables the author to articulate her ideas in the article to summarize gender orientation and eliminate the egotistic nature of most human beings. This balanced state of mind is known to warrant that wholesome creativity and facts important for individual functionality.
What is confusing?
The self regulating society offers a facilitated explanation for common support on gender imbalance as a fundamental ruler of perception on doctrines of its members in the films targeting children. The author is intrinsic on the above idea and is consistent in exploring possible reasons behind specific antagonist and protagonist inclination of different characters.
Based on this argument, it is clear that unfulfilled desires stop proactive thought arrangement that is often responsible for aligning beliefs to realities of life, especially when the point of disagreement is of gender nature. Gender understanding of life varies from different backgrounds. Gender disparity between males and females are connected by a delicate balance between societal inclination and nature.
The author is of the opinion that only an androgynous mind could be fully creative in thoughts, as it allows freedom of the mind of any restriction or inhibition that gender stereotypes laid upon the development of a unique personality which could express itself freely. In her view, androgyny is not the absence of gender but rather gender unconsciousness.
Gender Stereotypes in “Million Dollar Baby” Movie Essay
There are always constraints that women have to overcome on the way to the world of traditionally male sports. They should struggle to find recognition and prove they can equally protect their rights to be engaged in different kinds of sport. In order to enter the world of boxing, Maggie, the main heroine of Million Dollars Baby, had to overcome the adversities connected with gender stereotypes. She is tough enough to ignore all mocking on the part of male boxers because the dream is everything she lives for.
Only laborious work, constant training, and persistence helped her attract the attention of Frankie Dunn, a respectful trainer. Being under the pressure of Dunn’s despises and reluctance to train her, she says, “[boxing] is the only thing I ever felt good doing. If I’m too old for this, then I got nothing” (Haggis, n. p.). Having nothing, but boxing is a persuasive reason to cede a place to a woman in the world where males rule.
Throughout the history of sport development, gender differences have always been the major obstacle for women to overcome. Similar problems are brightly illustrated in the movie called Million Dollar Baby, where the main heroine Maggie Fitzgerald is ready to sacrifice everything to become famous. People, irrespective of their gender and racial distinctions, have the right to freedom of choice. This also means that the dream is part of people’s choices. Maggie is destined to be a fighter because all her life, she has been struggling for recognition in this world.
Notwithstanding all possible adversities she faced, including her family disapproval, she was determined in her intentions to become a great fighter and achieve a certain position in this world. Her confidence in her power helped her reach her dream irrespective of all existing stereotypes that had been immediately blurred as soon as the world saw her fights: “It’s the magic of risking everything for a dream that nobody sees but you” (Haggis, n. p.). So, Maggie took a chance and put everything at stake to make her dream come true.
There is no compromise in the world of sport, and this fact is unquestionable. Moreover, there is no place for compromise when it comes to male dominating sports. In this respect, Maggie had to forget that about her nature to become equal and considered among males: “Maggie always did like taking ’em out in the first round” (Haggis, n. p.). She is the winner of her nature, and this does not relate to her gender affiliation. She is the fighter in her soul. Hence, women have had to come up with dominating masculinity, risking everything they have to be acknowledged, and, after all, produce masculinity to blur gender distinction and penetrate to the world of males sports.
In conclusion, it should be stressed that all people, irrespective of their gender affiliation, have the right to choose the way of life. However, when it comes to a sports career, a woman has to forget about existing stereotypes and prejudice to become successful in boxing that is traditionally considered a male profession. The heroine of the film has demonstrated that women could surpass all obstacles on the way to their goals. However, they should risk everything to be accepted in the world of sports. All these struggles against nature impose a number of challenges that are still making women’s sports career much more complicated.
Haggis, Paul. Million Dollar Baby. Warner Bros. Pictures. 2004. Film.
Willa Cather and Feminism Analytical Essay
Was Willa Cather a feminist? How does she Portray Women in Her Novel ‘My Antonia’?
Willa Cather is the feminist author
A feminist can be regarded as a person who supports the equality of women. Willa Cather can be classified under the feminist authors through her literature work works. Various analysts of her work bring out the different aspects of feminism that are clear in her works.
For example, critics such as Granville Hicks say, “Cather failed to conform to the contemporary life as it is” (O’Brien 464). This inconformity was mainly attributed to the fact that Cather would always dress in a masculine way. In fact, another analyst named Lewis says that during her life in college, “Cather looked like a young man” (Lewis 38).
This dressing is seen as a purposeful step in challenging the social construct of the masculine gender. In addition, a photograph of Willa Cather in the archives of the University of Nebraska portrays her wearing a shingled hair during a period that women wore their hair fashionably long. The shingled hair is also seen as a masculinity symbol since it was gendered to be for men.
It shows Cather’s fight for equality between men and women during her time. Another factor that brings out the aspect of feminism in Cather is the fact she always surrounds herself with female friends in all her life.
For example, in college, she had female friends such as Louise Pound and Isabelle McClung. It is also interesting that she moved in with these women in Toronto after college. This aspect showed her approval of the relevance of females since she did not live with a man at any one time of her life.
It is also seen as a proof that a woman can live without necessarily depending on her male counterpart. This observation confirms why her sexual identity is still a big question to date. Cather’s life was that of a total nonconformist with the societal standards of gender.
For example, from her masculine tone in various narratives to using male narrators in her writings, Cather indicates has assumption of masculinity as a woman. The fact that she dressed like a man and wore a hair like that of men is also an indication of her struggle against the social construct of masculinity. She used her personal life to illustrate that gender roles were literary assigned by the society and that they could be contravened.
Feminism is also deeply engraved in the masculine tone of Willa Cather’s work. For example, Woodress says, “Cather so completely… embraced masculine values that when she wrote about women writers, she sounded like a patronizing man” (Woodress par.10).
This observation is an indication of the deeper search for a balance of the two genders that the society constructs. Cather was stern on women who viewed men as the norm or standard in the society. Another evidence of Cather’s feminism approach in life is seen in her continued use of the male perspective in her writings. For example, Sara Jewett who was a mentor and friend to Cather advised her at one time to use some females in her narrations.
However, Catha declined the advice. Cather replied that she preferred using male narrators (Woodress par. 11). This situation further indicates that Cather had a deeply seated approval of equality between men and women and that she would have approved the case of females behaving like males in different roles.
In fact, Cather would depict male playing feminist roles in her narrations. As a feminist, Cather used the work of art to illustrate that women could also play the role that men played since it was not ideal but a social construct. As a result, her personal life is packaged in a way that questions the social norms of masculinity and femininity.
Further, in the novel ‘My Antonia’, which will be tackled deeper in the next section, Cather draws a thin line between the main character Antonia Shimerda and her personal real life. In fact, analysts of her work have concluded that it is difficult to know where her fiction characters and their life end and/or where depictions of her personal life begin or ends.
For example in a biography, Cather was a feminist who “turned her own life and experiences into literature to a degree that is uncommon among writers” (Woodress par.6). This confirmation indicates that feminism was inherent in Cather. She even had difficulties in separating her own feminist views and those of the characters that she creates in the novel.
Reality of feminism in her life creeps into her writing that overpowers her created characters. Therefore, she ends up presenting her real life experience as a woman who grew up in a male dominated environment, namely Nebraska. Interestingly, Cather’s interest in feminism is clearly depicted in her words during an interview with Latrobe Caroll (Giglio par. 2).
She says, “I grew up fond of some of these immigrants- particularly the old women who used to tell me their home country…I had an enthusiasm for a kind of country and a kind of people, rather than ambition” (Bohlke par.4). This statement shows that Cather had a clear perception of people and society that she desired. This perception is the feminist society that she draws in her works of art.
Hence, it suffices to declare Cather a feminist playwright. However, it is now crucial to investigate whether there is any link between her feminism and the way she portrays women in her novels such as ‘My Antonia’.
Cather’s Portrayal of Women in ‘My Antonia’
Women as Conquerors and Assertive Beings
In her novel- My Antonia, Willa Cather portrays women in a strong feministic light. Cather takes time to paint an accurate image of success to all her female characters. All women are depicted as ultimately successful at the end of the story. In the novel, Cather builds very physically powerful womanly characters who are feminists in nature.
All the female characters are able to overcome the difficulties they face as they settle down in a new land. This power to overcome is meant to compromise the male dominated world of success (Woodress par. 4). Through the way Cather brings out the characters, the reader is able to identify the feminist ideals of the author.
Cather’s inspiration to present the significant roles that were played by women during settlement of westerners in America is visible in this novel based on her approval of women equality with men in terms of role-play. For example, the abilities that men have in overcoming difficulties of settling their families in new areas are equal to those of women in the novel.
In fact, she presents female characters that played equal or more important roles than those of men. For example, in the novel, Antonia Shimerda actively compromises gender norms to show that such norms can be changed. Antonia assertively takes over the duties of her late father immediately he dies. For example, Antonia begins undertaking roles that were traditionally assigned for men.
The plan is to compromise those outdated norms. In fact, she says, “I don’t care that your grandmother says it makes me like a man” (Cather 801). This assertion shows her tough belief in gender parity. Cather’s feminism approach in writing is also brought out by the way she questions the andocentric system where the male gender is believed to be the standard.
Through Antonia Shimerda who is one of her strongly depicted feminist characters in the novel, Cather questions the male norm construct in the society. For example, Antonia says, “I like to be like a man” (Cather 801). This remark, especially by a main character, indicates the author’s approach of the masculine societal construct that a woman can play the role of a man with comfort.
It also shows the thirst for equality in women. Women desire to be like men and/or to be equal to them. Therefore, Cather questions the notion that men are the standard in the society. Cather continues to present Antonia as able and active woman who achieves all she desires in life. Despite the death of her father, this woman assumes all the manly duties and succeeds amidst dissenting voices that claim that she acted like a man.
At the end of it all, she is able to bring up her family in a better way than men do. For example, Jim, a character in the novel remarks, “it was no wonder that her sons stood tall and straight” (Cather 926). In this statement, Cather wants to disapprove the traditional societal construct that boys learn to be assertive from their fathers or other males.
She portrays Antonia as a woman who brings up well-cultured and upright men as evidenced by Jim’s words. In fact, Cather wants to show that despite a woman having a husband and children to cater for, she can still be successful as men are.
Feminists also advocate for abolition of the inequality construct that exists between males and females. Cather uses female characters that are determined, opinionated, and self-directing to bring about the aspect of females being equal to males. She presents some gendered roles that are typically believed to characterize males through women characters.
To deliver this point, she makes all female characters successful. From the novel, Lena Lingard moves to the city as a stranger and succeeds in business as seen in, “she had come to Lincoln, a country girl, with no introductions except to some cousins…and she was already making clothes for the women of the young married set” (Cather 885).
Cather depicts women as hard workers and breadwinners in their families, a construct that the society rejects. For example, she writes about Lena as a role model whom other people have emulated based on her devotion to work (Cather 885). Cather also presents Tiny Soderball as a woman who has strong business acumen.
Tiny is drawn as an adventurous woman who travels to different parts of the world searching trade goods of high value such as gold. In fact, she says, “She was satisfied with her success, but not elated” (Cather 897). Cather uses this statement to portray women as self-determined and successful, just like their male counterparts.
Women as Strong-willed Beings
In the novel, women are depicted as uncompromising creatures. A strong-willed person is one who shows the character of determination, fortitude, and resilience. Cather draws a picture of women who are determined to achieve, despite the challenges they come across in a male-dominated society.
For example, the novel presents a woman Antonia Shimerda who is eager to learn a new language at a young age. In fact, her determination is clearly brought out when her father eventually dies. She fills the gap by playing his roles as seen in her words, “I like to be like a man” (Cather 801).
She cannot heed to criticizing voices and outcry by some individuals who say that she is playing a man’s role. For example, she tells Jim Burden, “I not care that your grandmother says it makes me like a man” (Cather 80). Her strong will presents women as a tough gender that is able to defy discouragements and achieve amidst obstacles.
After the death of her father, people expected that Antonia would either take to the streets or move to her relatives to beg for food. However, she is determined to work towards her success. In fact, she stops spending her time playing with other young people such as Jim so that she can begin to work. Consequently, Antonia is portrayed as a very successful woman at the end of the story (O’brien 462).
This depiction shows how determined women end up succeeding in life. With reference to her success, the author says, “She was like a rich mine of life, like the founders of early races” (Cather 926). Another woman who is painted as strong willed is Frances Harling.
This woman represents the young and upcoming woman. Cather draws this character working in a white-collar job as a chief clerk. Frances is also depicted as the person who manages her father’s office when he is absent. This responsibility shows how a determined woman can be trusted to perform duties that men perform.
Ability to work and/or supervise oneself as a woman is also quietly depicted through the girl who is able to work in the absence of her father. Her strong will is also depicted by the way Cather portrays her success in business. In fact, Frances proceeds to be the manager of her father’s offices when he eventually retires.
Perseverance in learning the art of business and succeeding is another aspect of a woman that is clearly brought out through her. It is through strong will that women in the novel are seen as successful.
Women as Independent Elements
An independent person is one who is self-sufficient. He or she has the ability to make decisions without the influence of others. Cather portrays women as independent beings who have the capacity to produce excellent results based on their independent decisions. One of such women is Lena Lingard.
This woman is able to assert her independent desire in life, despite criticisms from her people. For example, the people of Black Hawk believe that a woman should not leave home to work in town. However, Lena defies all these unfounded notions and moves to the city where she becomes a successful businessperson.
“She had come to Lincoln, a country girl with no introductions…and she was already making clothes for the women” (Cather 885). Lina’s drive for self-reliance is also evident in the way she moves to the city without depending on anyone to show her the way or to introduce her to the city dwellers (Cather 885). Her determination to provide for herself is portrayed through her hard work too as seen in, “She evidently had a great natural aptitude for work” (Cather 885).
Lena even refuses to marry in a bid to maintain her independence. In fact, when she involves herself with Jim, the relationship does not erode her independence. Woodress’s biography presents her as influentially reminiscent and not noticeable through zeal (par. 3).
At this point, Lena is both financially and emotionally independent. Hence, she cannot be manipulated. This point portrays women as independent and hardworking people.
Women as Powerful and Opinionated Characters
Another woman who is painted as powerful is Tiny Soderball. Cather portrays her as a successful businessperson. The autonomy of Tiny is brought out through her numerous travels that she makes in search of gold. She moves from Seattle, to Alaska, and then to San Francisco.
Only independent women can make numerous long distance travels without being questioned or denied permission (Palleau-Papin 542). Cather portrays women as having the ability to move from one city to another in a free way without help from their male counterparts as depicted in the words of Cather, “She was satisfied with her success” (Cather 897).
These words show how women’s power resulted in self-satisfaction, as opposed to dependency that is witnessed in defenseless women who have to rely on their male counterparts. Cather also uses Frances Harling to portray women as powerful. She depicts her as a working person who is able to stand in for her father in his office work.
In fact, she is drawn as the chief clerk who is in charge of others. The writer goes ahead to show her as the manager of her father’s offices in Black Hawk town after he eventually retires (Cather 894). This depicts women as bosses who are reliable and dependable by others.
Another character that is used to portray women as powerful is Genevieve Whitney. Cather paints her as a sophisticated, intelligent, and an educated woman. Such a woman is less dependent on the help of other people since she can independently work for her wealth.
The author refers to her as having, “her own fortune and her own life” (Cather 712). It is important to note the use of the possessive term with reference to Whitney livelihood. The implication is that she is independent of factors that control a person’s life. Women are therefore painted as well armed to face and conquer the challenges of life without being dependants.
An opinionated person is one who is able to bring forth his or her ideas without fear. Cather depicts most of the women in her novel as opinionated. She portrays women as having the ability to decide on their own and/or take action without influence of others.
One character that is depicted as opinionated is Antonia Shimerda. Antonia is depicted as asserting her opinion to take a man’s job after the death of her father, despite objections, for example by Jim’s grandmother (Cather 801). She goes ahead to implement her decision by avoiding playing with Jim. Instead, she devotedly works in the farm. The author finally portrays Antonia as a very successful woman.
From the above discussion, it is clear that the literature work by Willa Cather depicts her as a strong feminist as she confirms in an interview with Latrobe Caroll where she narrates the path that her life has taken since her childhood. The paper has revealed her as a powerful character who had to beat all odds to attain a feminist title that acted as an awakening call to all other women who had been used only as vessels or machines of producing children.
They had no other role to play. Cather passes the message that such women need to break these chains loose, come up with a plan for their life, and rise up to execute it, despite the challenges that might come their way from men who will pronounce them as betrayers of societal norms.
The paper has found that such norms are unfounded and that they only tie women to the extent that they cannot exercise their full potential of taking leadership positions, being breadwinners, and/or deciding on behalf of their male counterparts.
Cather’s belief in equality between men and women has also been clearly brought out by the way she paints all her female characters as independent, strong willed, opinionated powerful, and successful in roles that were typically preserved for men. Any fanatic of Cather’s work will declare it an informative masterpiece whose message will continue making sense to the world.
Bohlke, Brent. From Willa Cather in Person: Interviews, Speeches, and Letters, 1986. Web.
Cather, Willa. My Antonia in Early Novels and Stories. New York, NY: Literary Classics of the United States, 1982. Print.
Giglio, Elizabeth. Feminism in My Antonia, n.d. PDF file. Web.
Lewis, Edith (2000). Willa Cather Living: A Personal Record. Lincoln: University of Nabraska Press. Print.
O’brien, Sharon. “Possession And Publication: Willa Cather’s Struggle To Save My Antonia.” Studies in the Novel 45.3(2013): 460-475. Print.
Palleau-Papin, Francoise. “Slowly but Surely: Willa Cather’s Reception in France.” Studies in the Novel 45.3(2013): 538-558. Print.
Woodress, James. Willa Cather: A Literary Life, 1987. Web.
The Issues of Sexuality and Femininity in Carson McCullers’ “A Member of the Wedding” Critical Essay
Feminism as the theory is based on the discussion of many points among which it is possible to determine the issues of sexuality and femininity. These concepts are closely associated with the gender questions.
The sexual expression is traditionally discussed as the male prerogative, and femininity is considered as an absolute quality which should be characteristic for each woman. The theory of feminism rejects the mentioned ideas, and there are a lot of examples that these statements are not reasonable.
In her novel A Member of the Wedding, Carson McCullers discusses many points connected with the woman’s development, including the issues of sexuality and femininity.
McCullers’ approaches to presenting the aspects of the main character Frankie’s development and awareness of herself as a woman depend on rejecting the traditional vision of the problem, and they can be discussed as rather feministic and provocative in their nature.
Young Frankie can be characterized as a tomboyish girl who begins to discover her femininity and sexuality. Frankie begins to pay attention to “a feeling that she had never heard named before” (McCullers 98).
It is possible to speak about Frankie’s inner conflict when she discovers her feelings for her cousin and his bride, and when she struggles with her femininity as well with her tomboyishness. On the one hand, Frankie should act according to the social visions of the gender roles.
On the other hand, the girl experiences some unfamiliar and strange feelings. Free states that young Frankie’s “lack of knowledge about the existence of homosexuality contributes to her confusion, isolation, and perception of herself as grotesque-ironic” (Free 438).
That is why, Frankie’s feelings are the real challenge, and they cannot be explained with references to the traditional social visions of the fact.
Frankie feels confused when it is necessary to speak about her emotions because they can be discussed as opposite to the appropriate views on the woman’s sexuality. Thus, Frankie is confused when Berenice pays attention to her jealousy which can be seen “from the color in [her] eye” (McCullers 4).
Furthermore, Frankie does not like strange and “queer” conversations about love or about “a thing known and not spoken” (McCullers 100). The problem is in the fact women cannot experience some specific feelings in relation to the definite stereotypes developed in the society.
These feelings are often hidden and not named that is why Frankie even thinks about herself as being a freak who has some wild and forbidden feelings.
The main character of the novel tries to find some features in her inner world which can connect her with the other people. This search is caused by Frankie’s feelings that the world is “somehow separate from herself” (McCullers 24).
According to Free, “the universalized loneliness” which is experienced by Frankie can be combined with the issues of “homosexuality or androgyny” which are rather challengeable for the young girl (Free 428).
If the traditional public’s views on the problem can be different and often negative, the theory of feminism concentrates on these issues as the significant ones for understanding the women’s identity and their role in the society.
The story of Frankie depicted in A Member of the Wedding can be discussed as the female author’s provocative vision of such typical problems as the adolescent’s development which is based on the development of the girl’s sexuality.
Such notions as homosexuality, androgyny, femininity, and masculinity are also connected with the issue, and their indirect discussion with the help of depicting Frankie’s personality accentuates the feministic approach to the problem’s presentation.
Free, Melissa. “Relegation and Rebellion: The Queer, the Grotesque, and the Silent in the Fiction of Carson McCullers”. Studies in the Novel 40.4 (2009): 426-446. Print.
McCullers, Carson. A Member of the Wedding. USA: Mariner Books, 2004. Print.