Body, Race and Gender

High School ・Sociology ・MLA

Gender roles, racial stereotypes, sense of self and body images are a staple of today's media. The mass media, the internet and other forms of media have gone to great lengths to promote various notions with regards to the depiction of concepts such as sexuality, gender, and race. As a matter of fact, the average American teenager spends more time per week on his/ her gadgets than with physical people. As such, we can already see that these depictions have a major role to play in the shaping of the modern generation (Baehr). The cultural message sends to various gender and racial groups vary widely from movie to movie and internet video or article. A generalization would be inappropriate in this case. However, despite the different messages that are portrayed by different media, the notions of male superiority and female inferiority are often played out, especially in pop culture. Women have often been depicted in the media as beauty icons and as such, real life women have sought incessantly after beauty product so as to be likable. Additionally, these popular culture videos have consistently played a role in the depiction of various cultures. For example, music videos that are shot with black singers tend to be oriented towards hip hop which has been associated with crime culture. The videos often portray black males as sexually obscene and vulgar which has left a bad reputation of the black American people. The women in the videos, on the other hand, are often portrayed as heavily ordained with makeup and scantily dressed which gives the impression that African-American women are all about vulgar language, sexually obscene and sexual beings. This is an example of pop culture but it is replicated across the media including in movies, newspapers, radios and the internet (Delaney).

The messages that are being portrayed about appropriate appearance is that of fashion. The modern media and especially pop culture has placed a lot of emphasis on the value of fashion. Celebrities are often dressed in designer clothing that is often expensive. The female celebrities are usually adorned with lipstick, trendy dresses, and expensive earrings and revealing clothing. Appropriate appearance has been pegged on fashion rather than classic themes if dressing. This has put the young generations on a race to catch up to these trends so that they are not left out (Gunanathan).

The effects of these media portrayals on people’s bodies and self-esteem are significant. The effect is particularly noticeable in the females in the society who can be seen embracing the short dresses and body piercings. However, the effect is felt in both sexes to varying degrees. The youth have gradually learned to use the videos as standards of expression in dressing. It is this rationale that a lot of youth and even adults employ vulgar phrases used in the media. Those in society who find it hard to afford the expensive makeups and clothing often feel low and inferior to those that are dressed in a trending manner. From this perspective, you have engaged on a mission to get these decorations and fashion clothes from parents and guardians (PennState).

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