The Media THe Social Construction Of Gendered — страница 2

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dad” was a noticeable contributor to their images of the current perception of fathers. One student said that mothers were better parents because “Fathers abandon their children”. Another said that she admired mothers so much because they are always there when “the father runs out on the child”. These are clear images of the media’s profound affect on us when it comes to our gendered beliefs. The further solidification of this assertion is that neither student had a parent that left them nor did either report to favor one of their parents over the other. If their beliefs do not come from personal experience, then where do they come from? In the same survey, when asked for a television show, movie, or advertising campaign that demonstrated, for them, the perfect

family, twenty-five percent of the respondents said that Leave It to Beaver was their choice. One student even partially acknowledged the roots of his reply; “I guess because the media always says they’re the picture perfect family and it seems to be implanted in our heads.” Responses are both shocking and disturbing. They hint at a lack of acknowledgement for changing social norms. Another student noticed the fault in this antiquated image; “The media is caught up in the past, a world of unequal social ‘rules’; its time to move on.” It was refreshing to read one male student’s response regarding the “perfect family”, he said, “These days there is no such thing as a perfect family because there are so many types of families.” With this statement, he

solidified the argument for a progression away from the gender governed days of the fifties into a more modern and equitable family situation. One example of this was many of the respondent’s belief that The Cosby Show was their definition of the perfect family because everyone was valued and shared both love and responsibilities with their children. Stereotypes sell at the box office too. Movies such as Liar Liar, The Santa Clause, and Donnie Brasco all did extremely well while all three had main characters that were horrible fathers to their children. The fathers in these movies each forgot an important day for their children (birthday, Christmas and Holy Communion) while the mothers were there to comfort the children about their father’s absence. Why in the entertainment

media are fathers always seen as irresponsible and ignorant while the mothers remain a pillar of stability and support? We, as consumers of this bunk, fall into the belief, through our constant exposure to this image, that this is obviously the case. We receive the same barrage from all facets of our media exposure, including the news, the Internet, radio and most affectivity, through product advertising. Discrimination pays in the consumer market when it comes to children’s commodities. All products seem to jump on the “anti-father” bandwagon. Cereals such as Kix have found it useful to show their preference for mothers with their slogan, “Kid tested, mother approved”. What does this imply to the consumer? That buying this product is okay because mothers say that it is

good? Jiff Peanut Butter believes that “choosy moms choose Jiff”. What do choosy fathers choose? Pull-ups Diapers tells its customers that when their toddlers use their product, they will say, “Mommy wow, I’m a big kid now”. If this phrase were to be taken literally, this would imply that only mothers are proud of their children’s accomplishments. All of these slogans should lead the consumer to ask the question, where are the fathers? The reason why these types of ad campaigns are so successful is that, in large part, the fathers are in the isles buying these products along side mothers and are blind to the severity with which they are being shafted. There has never been a time in history more deserving of equality amongst parents than in our present era. With both

children in daycare and women in the work force increasing (21.1% in 1960 to 58.2% in 1990), there is no better time for fathers to rise and take their position as respected and loving parents (www.xenocide.nando.net). According to the same source, children in daycare is also on the rise; this can only beg for greater time for fathers to spend more time with their children and demonstrate all that they have to offer. The only reason these one sided images are prevalent in the media is because we allow them to be. As one respondent in a survey of Boston College students shared, unknowing of the full implications of his response, “Media = reality.” Believing this, it is all too easy to fall in line of culture. It is too often held as fact that mothers are the better-equipped