Women Portrayal in the Media – From Sex Roles to Social Construction and Beyond
Posted: 7 Jan 2014
Date Written: January 6, 2014
Assuming that globalisation is marketisation in the world, media is the vehicle of its propagation. If globalisation is consumer’s new sovereignty and empowerment, then it is not too much to expect respect and empowerment for the women too. In this context, media has an important role to play – to create awakening in women to achieve their potential as the prime movers of change in society. In today’s world, print and electronic media play a vital role in effectively conveying message that needs to be conveyed. By and large the media scene in India is that media does not address serious issues about exploitation and unequal treatment to women in different spheres but is keen in reporting sex related incidents by way of sensationalizing news of atrocities on women. Sex, sexual behavior and sex diversity are fast becoming avenues of discrimination and marginalization. Whether in news reporting or in brand endorsing or in entertainment through films and TV channels, women seem to be subjected to various forms of subordination and suffering – sex symbols, items, cases, scandals etc, rather than as an intelligent and powerful section of the society. While a section of the urban elitist media spends less time in any other approach than condemning atrocities perpetrated on women even that is nullified by parallel bullying. There is gross misrepresentation/underrepresentation of women. Hence the perpetuation of an iniquitous social order poses challenge to democracy as well as the media.
This paper – based on secondary data – makes an attempt to explore the development of social construction theory studying sexuality moving from ‘essentiality’ to ‘expression’, and ‘exhibition’ apart from categories, identities and ideologies, with the objective of countering the negative effects of the media representations of sexuality. The study suggests examining factors beyond the biological. It calls upon the researchers to incorporate feminist theory, notion of gender equity, intersectionality and empowered sexuality into research practice for a deeper understanding of the interplay of different variables and to revamp the way sexuality is framed in modern media discourse.
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