The Media THe Social Construction Of Gendered — страница 3

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parents of the children. This concept holds its strength in its longevity. The media needs to recognize that fathers are taking a larger role now, than ever before, in the upbringing of their children. The movie Mrs. Doubtfire is one example of how the media can portray fathers in a more positive light and still be well The survey also indicated that respondents with mothers who worked and fathers who stayed home with the children had completely different responses. They had the same general perceptions of society’s view that mothers are better parents, but had different personal beliefs. Unlike nearly all of the other respondents, they equated nurturing, loving and supporting to their fathers and strength, rationality, and toughness to their mothers. This hints at a

correlation between the family’s division of responsibilities and the respondent’s perceptions of which parents occupy which characteristics and speaks of a connection between. Another evidence that these beliefs are cultural and not natural. received. More films, television shows and advertising campaigns need to open their minds to the realities of fatherly roles. In order for fathers to successfully continue to increase their role in the upbringing of their children, they need equal treatment with mothers. We no longer live in the 1950s and the media needs to recognize this in its portrayal of fathers. How easy would it be to give father characters in the movies and television shows a more updated societal definition and, in advertising, say “parent”, instead of

“mother”? The answer to this question is sadly not at all easy. This is the case because the viewers have such strongly engrained images that fathers will not soon be accepted in the public eye. Fathers don’t sell in the media-how can we expect them to appear when we, the public don’t want to see them. We have to ask ourselves why we so often believe, as one of the survey respondents replied that, “mothers are more caring and loving than fathers.” This “fact” is all too often cited and supported by phrases such as, “mother knows best”, “a face only a mother could love”, and the sacred “maternal instinct.” Not only do these phrases speak to mothers’ abilities, but they also, by lack of opposite gendered accompaniment, imply that fathers do not bear

the same characteristics. Is there no paternal instinct? no father’s love for ugly children? These beliefs use the “natural” argument in their own support, that females are born to be better parents that men, are preposterous. As the well respected sociologist Anderson questions: “we have to wonder why biological differences are so often claimed as explaining inequality between the sexes.” (Anderson 28) The problem with such questioning such a societal “given”, is that its tendrils lay in every facet of our lives. If we were to look at the television, down the street, or into any part of our lives, we wold see nothing other than the furtherance of these images. It is only when we see the networks of tradition holding up these beliefs and shadowing the true equality

between the sexes, that we will be able to agree with the sociologists who believe that sex and gender roles, “[are] a cultural and not a biological phenomenon.” (Anderson 31) The belief that mothers are more innately able to parent than fathers is far from truth. This belief which rests so firmly at the heart of our core beliefs is all too often taken as fact. The derivations of such beliefs are curious yet obvious. These hegemonic ideas are proliferated in the name of culture and are accepted because, “that’s the way it has always been and always will be.” Why is this the case? This is true because we have grown immune to the stinging effects of culture. We see our cultural lives with rigid boundaries when in fact, they are an ever-changing region of social

acceptance. Where once homosexuals and minorities were viewed as obviously lesser people, the boundaries have shifted to, at least in name, include them in the dominant beliefs of society. Who knows how long it will take for fathers to receive their recognition, but one can only hope that this change will occur sooner than later. In order for such social inequalities to be remedied, social recognition and acknowledgement must take place. It is only when we challenge our definitions of “obvious” and “natural” that fathers will receive their just recognition. But with bias cultural margin setters such the media in the way of this shift in acceptance, it can only be hoped that individuals will take notice to the inequalities surrounding parenting roles. It is only when we