LAN001 Cover Sheet (2017/2018)
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Module Code LAN001
Assignment Title Discuss the effects of mass media on female and related solutions
Submission Deadline 5:00pm, Friday, December 15, 2017
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Female states a minor position of the social group all the time. However, in these days, increasing attention on women puts feminism and a wide range of issues concerned in the spotlight, which raises the social status of women to a certain degree and motivates more women devote themseleves to the feminist movement (Richardson and Wearing, 2014). Meanwhile, harms also happen frequently. Female image becomes distorted due to the stereotype from the public. The main reason of above phenomena is the manipulation from mass media. In order to specify the relationship between mass media and female, the essay will explain the problem, including the positive effects, negative effects and its corresponding solutions.
There is a positive consequence of media on female that mediums provide a broad stage for the development of feminism to ensure women’s rights and eliminate gender discrimination. For instance, the second-wave feminism is also considered to have the most significant contribution to the gender awareness in academia among the three waves of feminism because feminists have been part of traditional communication and utilized the media to spread the feminism and participate in the affirmative war (Krijnen and Bauwel, 2015). In 1968, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission passed an amendment to stop sexual discrimination in the workplace in Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Patterson, 1996). By 1982, 300 shelters and 48 state coalitions had been established to aid women suffering abuse (Rosen, 2000). After that, media can be used gradually as the channels to decrease the public’s prejudice about feminism and feminists. In 2014, after the video of speech which Emma Watson gave at a special event for the HeForShe campaign in UN spread rapidly through influential internet mediums, more male and female remove the wrong recognition and re-definite feminism that gender equality is also men’s issue (Gender equality is a men’s issue too, 2014). Therefore, both traditional and new media facilitate the growth of feminism greatly.
Nevertheless, the negative effects cannot be ignored. One of the most serious impacts is that media shape women as the conservative, submissive and fragile representation. In those days, female was not valued in the wake of complex historical factors all the time. As society progresses and gender consciousness awakens, women have more opportunities to show their bravery and perseverance. However, the female stereotypical images caused by visual media representation destroy all efforts. According to Ali (2014), in the news report of Pakistan floods in 2010, although most of the women offered their help to helpless children and evacuated from the disaster areas independently after disaster attacked their habitats, they still were portrayed as vulnerable victims who followed males submissively. Mediums promote the female visual representation during the disasters as a marketing strategy to evoke public sympathy, which forces them to overly simplify or distort the female reactions to disasters (Boykoff and Boykoff, 2004). Another harmful consequence is that advertisers manipulate advertising to fake a beauty myth to promote their products, such as cosmetics, weight-loss products and fashion (Wolf, 2002). Although the beauty myth do not exist at all, constant bombardment from mass mediums forces amount of women to believe the embodiment. Jalees and Majid (2009, para. 37) hypothesize that “females that have high level of body dissatisfaction may respond positively to products featuring female endorser models as compared to those who have low level of body dissatisfaction”. The female models also increase female inferiority feelings with their bodies, so they refuse to consume food. Sommers (1994) claimed that between 100 and 400 women died of anorexia each year in the United States. Overall, media can cause high level of body dissatisfaction and social bias to female image.
Generally, the negative effects of mass media on female outweigh the benefits. To tackle the two problems, relevant solutions are provided as follows. The basic solution that target at female body dissatisfaction is public health prevention, which incorporates the formulating and modifying national public policy. One of the reasons that the mass media influence female bodies is that it offers many superior but harmful comparisons such as supermodels in Victoria’s secret Fashion Show. Therefore, the governments can regulate it by formulating the relevant laws and regulations of the media. The Spanish government has introduced a new rule to limit underweight female models on the stage. All models at the Madrid fashion week must be measured a BMI of more than 18. The British and Milan governments later announced that they would adopt the same ban on London and Milan fashion week and suggested the designers to choose healthy and energetic models rather than skinny. The second solution aimed at the stereotypical female image in mass media is that modern mediums should have a female perspective when expressing and recreating women. Female perspective do not means that all women become center of events, but media should emphasize the group of women and truly reflect various roles and contributions of women in social development and social life. The increasing American TV series, such as Big Little Lies, Orange Is the New Black and The Good Fight, focus on female subjects, which shape the real and full female image and enrich the connotation of female characters. They are no longer vassals of male characters.
In conclusion, mass media have positive effects negative influences. On the one hand, mass mediums can facilitate the progress of feminism and decrease gender discrimination. One the other hand, due to political and financial factors, media create a stereotypical female image and exaggerate the importance of outside beauty, which causes a severe social atmosphere for women in physical and mental. In addition, two countermeasures are proposed, including that nation should modify national policy and mass media should develop a female perspective consciously. In the future, mass media will be supposed to spread vigorous and multiple female figures and encourage women to face up to and improve themselves participate in social competition actively.
Ali, Z. S. (2014) Visual representation of gender in flood coverage of Pakistani print media. ScienceDirection Online. Available from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S221209471400022X (Accessed: 1 December 2017)
Boykoff, M.T. & Boykoff, J.M. (2004) Balance as bias: global warming and the US prestige press
ScienceDirection Online. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2003.10.001 (Accessed: 1 December 2017)
Jalees, T. & Majid, H. (2009) Impact of ‘Ideal Models’ Being Portrayed by Media on Young Females. Freepatents Online. Available from: http://www.freepatentsonline.com/article/Paradigm/200779932.html (Accessed: 7 December 2017)
Krijnen, T. & Bauwel, S. V. (2015) Gender and media: representing, producing, consuming. London: New York: Routledge.
Patterson, J. T. (1996) Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974. New York: Oxford University Press.
Richardson, N. & Wearing, S. (2014) Gender in the media. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Rosen, R. (2000) The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America. New York: The Penguin Group.
Sommers, C. H. (1994) Who Stole Feminism? How Women Have Betrayed Women. New York: Simon ; Schuster.
Watson, E., Gender equality is a men’s issue too (2014), the guardian, Semptember. 2014, Video Online. Available from: https://www.theguardian.com/film/video/2014/sep/22/emma-watson-gender-sexism-heforshe-un-speech-video (Accessed: 9 December 2017)
Wolf, N. (2002) The Beauty Myth: How Images of Beauty Are Used Against Women. 2 ed. New York: HarperPerennial.