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View Of Men And Women Media Media Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Media
Wordcount: 5459 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Of the many influences on how we view men and women, media are the most pervasive and one of the most powerful. All forms of media communicate images of the sexes. Many of these media perpetuate unrealistic, stereotypical, and limiting perceptions. From a very young age, people are subjected to norms or standards for how each gender should act. Advertising is necessary today. Whether you have a small business or a large one, you must tell groups of people who you are, what you sell, and where you are located. You must tell them when they wish to hear or read about such things.TV advertising affects gender identity by reinforcing stereotypes. Advertisers carefully create their TV advertisements to send a particular message about gender. Television advertising plays an important role on changing consumer behavior and attitudes and gave consumers new patterns about identity. In my research I would like to focus on the fact that the formation of gender identity and the inequality of gender are due to many internal and external factors. I will also try to show that TV is the most common media that represent the difference of gender and influence our view to the state and position of men and women and I will also attempt to specify gender stereotypes, which are used in advertising as a persuasion technique.


Table 1. Table one: Favorite Television Channels of students of the UNIVERSITY OF JENDOUBA Higher Institute Of Human Sciences


Figure1: Chart 1: The impact of TV on the development of gender identity.

Figure 2: Chart 2: Making the appearances to the model presented in TV advertisement


TV: Television

Ads: Advertisements


 The world is moving towards progress in every walk of life. But when we look towards societies, it feels as if something is still missing. Social issues are matters which directly or indirectly affect many or all members of a society and are considered to be problems related to moral values. Social issues include poverty, violence, corruption, bribery, suppression of human rights, discrimination, crime, killing in the name of honor, gender identity and inequality in rights etc. Mass media play a significant role in a modern world, by broadcasting information in fast pace and giving entertainment to vast audiences. Media is a pervasive and profoundly influential socializing force.  It is the most powerful tool of communication. It helps promoting the right things on the right time. It gives a real exposure to the audience about what is right or wrong. Even though, media is linked with spreading news, it helps a lot to inform us about the realities and it has a constructive role to play for the society.

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Media consist of press, television, radio, books and the Internet. The latter is now the most developing medium; however, TV also has a wide field of influence. TV is the most powerful common type of media due to its extensive worldwide spread. It plays a significant role in the development of many social issues. It plays an important role in order to focus on the social issues in almost every era. It is the most commonly media used by people in our daily lives, it insinuates messages into our consciousness at every turn. Today News Channels are spokesperson of some social issues, which helps us to estimate the realities of lives. By creating a certain type of message, TV can manipulate people’s attitude and opinions.  All forms of advertisement in TV communicate images of the sexes, many of which perpetuate unrealistic, stereotypical, and limiting perceptions. Advertising has the power to persuade, the power to influence the mind and shape destiny. It has the power to change markets and improve profit margins. Advertising has short-term power conveying new information, building awareness, enhancing credibility, and long-term power conveying brand image, attaching emotional values to the brand, building positive reputation, etc.

The prevalence or predominance of power of gender and formation of identity, in the media and especially TV, is one of the most important issues now a day. Gender identity develops through a process of differentiation: interactions of biological, social, and cognitive-learning factors that occur over time. Differentiation means that a basically similar structure develops differently depending upon the influence of other factors such as media. In other word various influences increase the difference between the sexes.  At birth, almost all children are socially labeled as either a girl or a boy, based on the appearance of the external genitals. The child begins to develop a body image of the self as a girl or a boy. After the child acquires language, by eighteen months to two years, the child can label the self as girl or boy. This is the early expression of gender identity. Learning of some aspects of gender identity occurs at biologically sensitive periods of time and once it is learned it is difficult to alter.

All societies partition some aspects of human existence into two distinct roles of male and female. The specific content of female and male gender roles varies among different societies. These characteristics may or may not be closely related to the biological functional differences between females and males. The difficulty that children face in the learning process is determining which characteristics are gender-linked and which are not. Children develop gender-identity constancy by five to six years of age. Gender is the idea that if a child is a girl, she will always be female and will grow up to be a woman; if a child is a boy, he will always be male and will grow up to be a man. These continuities are not obvious but must be learned. Gender identity is consolidated through social experiences and gender characteristics, which may include games, changes in the sexual characteristics of the body and media. Usually these changes are consistent with the gender identity and gender role. These physical changes must be incorporated into the gender identity. Standards of feminine or masculine physical attractiveness change from childhood to adulthood, as do other aspects of gender roles. Social pressures intensify for conformity to female or male gender roles. In addition, the sex hormones fuel romantic and sexual interests. Sexual orientation, as heterosexual, bisexual, or homosexual, also becomes part of an adult gender identity and role, although it originates much earlier in development.

Although gender identity as man or woman is stable, some of the content of an individual’s gender role may change over a lifetime because of changing social norms, a move to another society or over the impact of media.

The conceptualization of the self as male or female is a basic part of human identity in all societies. A distinctive gender identity may be linked to sexual behavior and cross-gender social presentation in different parts of the world. This gender identity includes individuals who do not fit into the society’s traditional masculine or feminine sex roles.

With great satisfaction we were then able to assert that sex is a biological designation, and gender is a set of socially constructed expectations for women and men. That distinction permitted us to make claims about material conditions, historical moments, and cultural pressures. In short, the separation of sex and gender allowed us to point to social constructions, not biological. Also gender is called a gender because it was originally called a sex but “sex” was too inappropriate for kids so they came up with a new word for the same meaning.

To sum up things, Gender Identity refers to a person’s private sense of, and subjective experience of, their own gender. This is generally described as one’s private sense of being a man or a woman, consisting primarily of the acceptance of membership into a category of people: male or female. All societies have a set of gender categories that can serve as the basis of the formation of a social identity in relation to other members of society. Basic gender identity is usually formed by age three and is extremely difficult to change after that. Although the formation of gender identity is not completely understood, many factors have been suggested as influencing its development. Biological factors that may influence gender identity include pre- and post-natal hormone levels and genetic makeup.  Social factors which may influence gender identity include ideas regarding gender roles conveyed by family, authority figures, mass media, and other influential people in a child’s life. Child are often shaped and molded by the people surrounding them by trying to imitate and follow. One’s gender identity is also influenced by the social learning theory, which assumes that children develop their gender identity through observing and imitating gender-linked behaviors, and then being rewarded or punished for behaving that way. In some cases, a person’s gender identity may be inconsistent with their biological sex characteristics, resulting in individuals dressing and behaving in a way which is perceived by others as being outside cultural gender norms.

 In short Gender is one of the most studied social paradigms as it is the main paradigm that people use in determining how to act and interact with others. For this reason, it is important to look at the ways in which individuals receive messages about gender norms from media and especially TV because television advertisements is the most common and used medium that transmit cultural ideas about gender, help to socially construct gender and affect the way that people think about their own gender, and contribute to the ongoing social stratification of genders in society.

Literature Review

Television’s effect on viewers is a subject that has been extensively studied in the last twenty years and whose impact extends farther than most people realize. Many studies have focused on how television advertisement affects the formation of gender identity.

Gender Identity Formation and Gender Role

Sociologists are particularly interested in gender identity and how it determines gender roles. Genetics, hormones, differences in the brain, and socialization all interact to mold a person’s gender identity. In order to understand gender identity development and related issues, definitions must be emphasized for clarity. Gender identity refers to the feeling that you are male, female or transgender. In other word, according to WIKIPIDIA “Gender identity refers to a person’s private sense of, and subjective experience of their own gender. This is generally described as one’s private sense of being a man or a woman, consisting primarily of the acceptance of membership into a category of people: male or female. All societies have a set of gender categories that can serve as the basis of the formation of a social identity in relation to other members of society. Many things contribute to the formation of gender identity, including cultural differences society, family and factors that are in place before birth.

In one hand, Cross cultural findings show that variations in gender role between different cultures are consistent with the idea that gender role behavior is learned. The study of Hofstede identified five distinct cultural dimensions that served to distinguish one culture from another. Masculinity (MAS) is one of these five dimensions it refers to how much a society sticks with, and values, traditional male and female roles. High MAS scores are found in countries where men are expected to be tough, to be the provider, to be assertive and to be strong. If women work outside the home, they have separate professions from men. Low MAS scores do not reverse the gender roles. In a low MAS society, the roles are simply blurred. You see women and men working together equally across many professions. Men are allowed to be sensitive and women can work hard for professional success.

For example, and of course according to the study of Hofstede, Japan is highly masculine with a score of 95 whereas Sweden has the lowest measured value. In addition (according to Hofstadter’s analysis), if you were to open an office in Japan, you might have greater success if you appointed a male employee to lead the team and had a strong male contingent on the team. In Sweden, on the other hand, you would aim for a team that was balanced in terms of skill rather than gender.

On the other hand, Socialization, or the process by which a child learns the norms and roles that society has created for his or her gender, plays a significant role in the establishment of her or his sense of femaleness or maleness. If a child learns she is a female and is raised as a female, the child believes she is female; if told he is a male and raised as a male, the child believes he is male.

From the birth, most parents treat their children according to the child’s gender as determined by the appearance of their genitals. Parents even handle their baby girls less aggressively than their baby boys. Children quickly develop a clear understanding that they are either female or male, as well as a strong desire to adopt gender-appropriate mannerisms and behaviors. This normally occurs within two years, according to many authorities. In short, biology sets the stage, but children’s interactions with the social environment actually determine the nature of gender identity. However, parents do not directly teach gender role behaviors to their children through selective reinforcement and punishment but that children acquire gender appropriate behaviors nonetheless. It may therefore be that the learning of gender role occurs through processes other than those specified by social learning theory. Social learning theory has difficulty explaining how children’s understanding of gender changes over time. It also cannot easily account for how children’s preparedness to imitate a gender role behavior depends more on whether the behavior is seen as gender appropriate than the sex of the model demonstrating it.

The main way that gender behaviors are learned is through the process of observational learning. Children observe the people around them behaving in various ways, some of which relate to gender. They pay attention to some of these people and encode their behavior. At a later time they may imitate the behavior they have observed. They may do this regardless of whether the behavior is appropriate or not. The child is more likely to attend to and imitate those people it perceives as similar to itself.

Also, the child will also have observed the consequences of her parent’s behavior and will be motivated to imitate the behavior it has seen reinforced and avoid imitating the behavior it has seen punished…

For example, imagine three siblings, Raed (4 years), Aziz (5 years) and Ranim (6 years). Ranim and Aziz plays ‘dressing up’ and both put on dresses. Their dad reinforces Ranim for this, by saying she looks pretty but punishes Aziz by saying he looks silly and boys should not dress that way. In future, Ranim is more likely to wear dresses and Aziz is less likely. Raed, who has been watching all this, is unlikely to imitate the behavior of wearing a dress because he has seen his brother (who he perceives as similar to himself) getting punished for doing it. Children around the age of two years playing at home with their parents, recording the reinforcements and punishments the parents provided. Boys and girls were reinforced and punished for different behaviors’. Boys were reinforced for playing with gender appropriate toys (e.g. bricks) and punished for playing with dolls. Girls were reinforced for staying close to the parent and punished for rough and tumble play. This confirm that boys and girls are reinforced for gender appropriate and punished for gender inappropriate behavior, lending support to the idea that gender role behavior is learned from the child’s environment.

How TV affect the Development of Gender Identity

As well as, just as a mirror reflects the visual image of ourselves, we also rely on an even bigger mirror to reflect back a reality of ourselves in a collective environment: mass media. It is through this mirror that we are able to understand our identity through a social reflection of reality. Mass media, and specifically television, have impacted the amount and context in which images and cultural symbols are exchanged across physical and cultural borders.

According to Clive Barnes (b. 1927) British drama critic, “Television is the first truly democratic culture-the first culture available to everybody and entirely governed by what the people wants. The most terrifying thing is what the people do want.” In addition Anthropological accounts suggest that the growth of TV has had large effects on a wide range of day-to-day lifestyle behaviors, including latrine building and fan usage. Television today is the first and foremost storyteller, unlike olden days when parents, schools and books told most of the stories. TV presents to us stories about what is good and bad, the happy and sad, the success and the failures and it tell us who is on the top and who is at the bottom. 

Furthermore, the influence of TV advertising on gender identity clearly seems to be a daily situation. Actually, TV publicity objective is to directly attack the human personality to develop certain attitudes and postures in relation to certain products, TV programs, goods and services, politic movements and other related organizations and social – economics movements this create serious problems and consequences on personal identity and free personality evolution.

When we see the front of an advertisement in TV we tend not to see the headlights and the grill as a symbolic representation of the human face, because instead, we see the TV as an image in and of itself. Yet the image of the TV itself represents a broader connection to our identity for it contains a taken‐for granted symbolic reflection of our own nature.

In short throughout human collective consciousness, the impact of images and symbols on the construction of identity is integral in our definitions of self.

Whether we like it or not, our world is no longer contained by the constructs of geographic boundaries.

No longer are we limited to our natural born surroundings; due to TV we now have access to information, ideas and culture from any place on the globe. Our generation is now confronted with the complexity of choice to be whoever you want to be. Identity is up for mass media and TV in special which brings exposure of ideas of choice and freedom to all who have access to its message, regardless of their former national or cultural identification. This ‘Information Revolution’ carries its own implicit and explicit agendas across borders and cultures, whether welcomed or not. It has provided modern human beings with new abilities and skills, allowing them to acquire an incredible capacity in the manipulations of culturo‐symbolic elements. This ever‐growing electronic media technique for rapid global and instant transmission around the world of the oral and written words, ideas, beliefs cultural values, voices, images and so on, has already reached a sophisticated and impressive level.

These mediaized cultural symbols heavily influence the interaction, analysis and constructions of collective identity, manipulating our perception of who we are both as an individual and as part of a specific cultural group.

Television rely on cultural symbols, which are instrumental to our basis of cultural identity and knowledge, thus it can be inferred that television as a visual medium is the most influential mouthpiece of group identity. With satellite television, more accessible and affordable than change our perspectives of ever before, it is not hard to imagine that television is the most direct and influential way to spread information, ideas or symbols.

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According to Marie Winn and her essay «The Plug-In Drug, » television has various negative effects on our society today. In her essay Winn explores the ways in which television has harmfully caused disruptions with the quality of family life, rituals, and values. She recognizes there is a problem with society and the way in which it is consistently influenced by television. I am able to agree with Winn on this point, but I do not feel that the totality of the influence is negative. Television today has a lot of positive effects and influences on our society and our Tunisian culture; it gives us helpful information, various forms of education, and entertainment

Throughout the years, the Tunisian people have come to rely on the television and all it has to offer. The television with its multi-purposes has positively affected our society through its means of information, education, and entertainment. We as Tunisian people have become a part of a society which is greatly influenced by the television. Furthermore, this influence has been proven to affect the quality of family life, as Winn mentions in her article «The Plug-In Drug. » The positive effect of television on our society as a whole, and the knowledge it provides is far greater than this quality of life that she mentions. I must admit that there are both positive and negative aspects that come out of our televisions today, but I feel that the positive effects definitely outweigh the negatives when it comes to the importance of information, education, and entertainment for our society.

The Impact Of TV Advertisement On Gender Identity

Gender representation, on the smallest scale, has, always, been important for one to understand what it means to be male or female. So to look at it in terms of advertising and specially advertisement presented in TV, which is considered the most powerful and influential medium in the society, is to look at it with a more serious eye.

From the images inflicted upon us in TV we see man and woman different. For a man that means being tough, intelligent, serious, competitive and business minded while for a woman, that means having beauty, elegance, passivity and good domestic ability. According to the article of Jessica Furgerson, “The Influence of TV Advertising on Gender Identity”, a “Research conducted in 1998 notes that TV commercials show boys as active and dominate, yet shows girls as giggly and shy. TV commercials also demonstrate what type of behavior is appropriate for boys and girls by dictating which toys are for girls and which toys are for boys. The representation of how boys and girls should act and what they should play with sends a message to the viewer of what is appropriate, thus shaping the gender identity of the viewer.

The impact of TV advertisement on male’s identity

Positive impacts

TV advertisement presented men as rational, ambitious, smart, stable, competitive, powerful, independent, and tolerant. He is also Strength, performance, and skillful. In addition he is the Cultural standard may be because in society and especially our Arab societies Men have considerably more economic and political power than women, According to the article of Jessica Furgerson “The Influence of TV Advertising on Gender Identity” Television advertisers place men in two distinct roles: the bread winner and the heterosexual male. Initially, TV advertisements commonly depict men as knowledgeable, hard working, powerful and successful; this depiction tells men that to be a man you must take care of your wife and kids and possess these qualities.

Negative impacts

According to the document “Gender issues in the Media “, masculinity is often associated with machismo, independence, competition, emotional detachment, aggression and violence. Despite the fact that men have considerably more economic and political power in society than women, these trends – although different from those which affect women and girls – are very damaging to boys”.

This means that Men are associated with emotional detachment, aggression and violence. For example most of the toys presented in TV for young boys are all toys of war like pistol, tank and sword. This teach young boys how to be violent and make him aggressive, hard and sometimes without feelings. Children learn from these advertisements that the suitable character for him is to be violent and aggressive. That is TV advertisement affect negatively the gender identity of men.

The impact of TV advertisement on female’s identity

Positive impacts

In TV women are attractive, sensitive, romantic, warm, peaceful, fair, submissive, timid and desirable.

In addition, Women are patient, happy and sociable as it is said in the Essay (the influence of TV on gender identity) which was wrote by “anaconda, University, Bachelor’s, A+, May 2005” “Housewives are seen as happy to serve others and to relinquish their spare time and personal needs; all in an effort to insure that their families fell loved and cared for.” She is presented in advertisements as the good wife and the strong and patient women who spend the spare time in looking after children and doing the best to make all members of society happy.

b. Negative impacts

According to the article of Jessica Furgerson “The Influence of TV Advertising on Gender Identity” TV advertisements cast the female character in one of two ways: the home maker or the sex object. Initially, women are consistently shown in the home, supermarket or shopping in order to reinforce the role of the woman in the domestic sphere. On the other hand, “women are also portrayed as sex objects, almost always shown in provocative clothing delivering a clearly sexual message”. By continually telling women that they should be doing these things, viewers see such behavior as the norm and frame their gender identity around it.

In addition TV emphasizes traditional roles and normalizes violence against women. Women are usually in the home, performing domestic chores such as laundry or cooking; as sex objects that exist primarily to service men; as victims who can’t protect themselves and are the natural recipients of beatings, harassment, sexual assault and murder. Furthermore and according to an Essay (the influence of TV on gender identity) which was wrote by “anaconda, University, Bachelor’s, A+, May 2005″ ” Day time advertisement on television tend to portray men in stereotypical roles of authority and dominance, while women are associated with traditional roles of housewife. She also said that “Females are shown maintaining the perfect household, with their primary goal being to take care of the house their husband and or family. The reason for this could be the fact that men dominate the workplace. According to an article of Dow (1995:200, cited in Holtzman 2000:80) 3% of directors in general are women. The advertising industry itself has a particularly high man to female ratio and based on statistics produced, it was revealed that only 17 out of 244 advertising directors were women and in an industry so greatly dominated by men is it not likely that consciously or subconsciously the adverts produced will be biased. This means that Women are unimportant or invisible and play a second role in society and less likely to be shown in TV.

Even with the bigger freedom of choice given to women nowadays we are still to a certain extent living in a society which looks through the male’s gaze where women are still being portrayed as being dependent on men.

Evaluating TV Advertisements

As we have mentioned above TV advertisement impact negatively the consumer and especially their gender identity. Evaluating TV advertisement is better both for the advertisers and for the consumers. On the one hand the type advertisers use to keep store’s name and merchandise before the public. With advertisements you remind people week after week about your regular merchandise or services or tell them about new or special services or policies. In addition advertising should create in the minds of customers the attitude you want them to have about your store, its merchandise, its services, and its policies. To some degree, all advertising should be evaluated because it is your reputation builder. Evaluating advertising requires tracking and analyzing message. Therefore, both marketing professionals and advertisers employ a variety of techniques to evaluate the success of TV advertisements. In addition to that and essentially, measuring results means comparing sales with advertising. In order to do it you have to start early in the process before you even make the advertisement. Also you must listen to what people say about your advertisements and of course take it into consideration.

In doing so, advertisers must discover their mental framework within which any comment about their advertisement was made and find points which reinforce believability and a feeling that your product fulfills some wish or need.

However, you should not be misled by what people say and you must see that their advertising does the job they want it to.

On the other hand TV advertisement must be evaluated for the benefit of consumer and to protect him from any types of delude. Furthermore, it is important to assess the impact of TV on consumer and especially its impact on the creation of gender identity and gender role representation. The consumer protection organization should be present in doing this and I think that the creation of a new brand under this organization which main role is an protecting gender identity from stereotypes in media in general and in TV advertisement in specific in now a day a need. In addition Parents and teachers can have a much greater impact on a child’s development than the media to which the child is exposed. They must teach and explain to children to understand that media do not reflect reality; that they communicate implicit and explicit values; and that they can influence the way we feel and think about ourselves and the world, are vitally important lessons towards achieving a society in which women and girls are seen and treated as equal to men and boys.


The main aim of this chapter is to present the survey methods used to conduct this research. Therefore interview and questionnaire were included in this research process as method or instrument of data collection.

Primary source: interview and Questionnaire


Interviews: are questionnaires administered in person. I rely on the use of it because it is most personal and produce better rates. In fact, direct contacts were made with a group of students of the UNIVERSITY OF JENDOUBA Higher Institute Of Human Sciences (Each student was asked alone). The interview will deal with how people identify themselves and what their lifestyles are.


The questionnaire will give us information about how TV affects the development of gender. It is designed the same students who respond to the interview.

First I use the questionnaire because it is Practical and it can bring a Large amounts of information can be collected from a large number of people in a short period of time and in a relatively cost effective way. It can be carried out by the researcher or by any number of people with limited affect to its validity and reliability. The results of the questionnaires can usually be quickly and easily quantified by either a researcher or through the use of a software package. It can be analyzed more ‘scientifically’ and objectively than other forms of research. When data has been quantified, it can be used to compare and contrast other research and may be used to measure change.

Secondary source: advertisement presented in TV

In my research I relay on the advertisements presented on vario


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