|Type of paper:||Research paper|
|Categories:||Gender Media Child development Stereotypes Social issue|
Today media is taking a central part in the lives of people all over the world where people from all walks of life tend to watch, listening, and browsing through various media platforms. A variety of information is conveyed from one person to another, where some of the info aired in the media may contain influential aspects as per societies, and gender, among other aspects of life. Children as well have access to these media platforms, and they get such information that might be influential and may impact their lives in a way or another. Some of the issues that the media may air include specific stereotypes based on gender and other aspects. Some of these stereotypes are about various roles that have an attribution to distinct genders, such as mathematics, as a subject taught in schools is for boys. Such stereotypes may make girls hate mathematics and avoid it as they would grow up believing that the item belongs to boys and that girls cannot perform in mathematics. Such a belief may negatively affect girls' performance in that particular subject. Therefore, gender stereotypes in various media platforms have adverse effects on young kids.
Several pieces of research have been done on the issue and the grounds of expectancy-value theory and the threat of stereotype. They indicate that these programs instill certain beliefs in the people of different genders where young children grow, knowing that people of the opposite gender best do some activities and other responsibilities (Carli 726). For instance, common stereotypes that have been in existence for several years that sciences are subjects for boys and that girls cannot perform well in these subjects. As a result, girls tend to fear that they cannot be good at the sciences, and they can only perform well in languages (Cvencek, Dario, Meltzoff, and Greenwald 766). It has, therefore, for long influenced the performance of girls in the sciences and mathematics, which is a perfect indicator of how stereotypes can do to a human being.
According to Wonder Woman by Gloria Steinem (1934), she mentioned the kind of disrespect that women face from their male counterparts as well as from fellow women on the specific issue based on doing certain activities (Haussegger 25). For instance, a majority of the people do not entrust the role of leading to women, and this is from the stereotype that has been in existence for many years that men can make better leaders than women and that women cannot lead men. With such a stereotype, children who grow in a society that subscribes to such a belief, they would grow up disrespecting women and would never entrust women with leadership positions in any capacity. Gloria Steinem is among the world's renowned champions and an activist of women's rights whose main agenda is to respect women and to alleviate any type of stereotypes that degrade and underestimate women (Haussegger 25).
From her work, Wonder Woman, Gloria Steinem mentions that Wonder Woman, who she describes as a woman with extra-human abilities, was a hero to her. She describes the wonder woman as a woman with magical powers and that she was the one who motivated her and fueled up her self-esteem during her tender year (Haussegger 25). It, therefore, implies that her self-esteem as a girl was hurt by what she had heard about the females through stereotypes. She mentions that only the Wonder Woman who is published as a super-hero, and she continues to say that all the other super-heroes who are feted are males. The stereotypes from the books she read without having a super-hero as a woman made her self-esteem to decrease (Haussegger 27).
Additionally, gender stereotypes that children are getting due to exposure to media may lead to negative impacts in their lives as they may lead to gender discrimination (Carli 726). Gender discrimination is a critical matter in the world, where the majority of those that suffer from these are women. There are gender stereotypes that may be brought out through the media that make children believe that a specific gender is superior to the other. In such an instance, the male gender is stereotyped as the superior gender. In other programs from the televisions and other print media, issues may arise on how a young boy child is received in a community and how a girl child is welcomed. Such disparities make the children reading or watching such programs to believe that boy child is received in a better way that the girl child, which these children may interpret as superiority (Puchner, Markowitz, and Mark Hedley 25). In the future, upon growing up, the boy child will treat a girl like an inferior being due to what they read or watched. Among the various discriminations that women are subject to may have been as a result of stereotypes of genders in given communities which make the men and the larger society to mistreat the women.
Gender stereotypes also demotivate a child from reaching their desired goals as individual goals have an attribution to a particular gender according to the stereotypes that exist in such a community. For instance, in elementary or secondary schools, a girl may be willing to become a class leader but due to a stereotype that exists about the roles of boys and girls. Boys are seen as the most appropriate in leadership positions, and this would weigh down the girls who would have wanted to take up the leadership. Such girls would feel demotivated to seek leadership positions later in life and other capacities. Therefore, this would be an adverse effect of gender stereotypes on careers and other activities, which results in a lack of motivation toward achieving the role.
Gender stereotypes in media may affect the behaviors of young children adversely after growing up in several ways, which may influence them into activities such as sex, among other immoral activities. Several media such as books and televisions may conventionally create a picture of sexuality (Puchner et al. 27). Some of these media would paint a specific gender as a tool for sex that is supposed to make another gender happy with their bodies. Due to the media influence, young children are engaging in sexual activities due to the stereotypes that exist about genders and sexualities where women are seen as objects that men use for their sexual satisfaction. It is portrayed in the literary work by Christine Seifert, Bite Me: Twilight as Abstinence Porn. Edwards falls in love with Bella for sexual reasons, where Edward wants Bella as her person who would satisfy his sexual wants (Seifert 28). The story also mentions that children engage in sexual activities even though there are calls from various people asking them to abstain and to maintain their virginity as a sign of purity. From this, we can also find an instance of a stereotype where the girls are expected to remain virgins, and no one cares about the boy and whether they engage in sex or not. Purity in girls is measured in terms of virginity (Seifert 28).
Stereotypes may also affect young children adversely when they are used to reading them and watching them from various media platforms as these stereotypes may make the children violent after growing up (Puchner et al. 27). For instance, if a particular gender is stereotyped with something that they feel is abusive or disrespectful if a time comes, where a person mentions such a stereotype. Such a group may feel offended and may attempt justifying of defend itself, which may happen as a form of violence. Others may feel wronged due to mistreatment that they might have gone through as a result of a stereotype, which makes them violent as they would term it as an act of injustice in the future.
Stereotypes along gender lines among young children may lead to adverse effects on emotional response among males and females. Generally, women are considered sensitive as compared to men. It is, therefore, expected that men do not readily show emotions such as sadness or crying (Kite, Deaux, and Haines 206). Ladies, on the other side, are expected to cry easily and to be compassionate. A man who grows believing in such stereotypes after reading from the written media such as books and from electronic media such as watching on television may learn how to hide their emotions to satisfy the stereotype, which might be harmful to their wellness. Psychologists mention this as an act that may have an impact on the psychological welfare of such a man who does not express their emotions, which may adversely affect their psychology (Kite et al. 207).
Overall, gender stereotypes in the media may adversely influence the lives of the children who have exposure to these sources. Children may grow up disrespecting either gender based on what they learned, heard, or watched from the media. They may also despair and fail to acquire their goals following stereotypes that tend to stratify gender roles, which may shun goals and dreams of individual children. It is, therefore, advisable that parents and other stakeholders take part in clearing the stereotypes. Additionally, the media houses and book authors must be vigilant not to bring up the issue about stereotypes as it may lead to the above effects to the children and might adversely influence their lives after growing. The already existing stereotypes that have been tailored in the communities and which people from such society subscribe must be taught to the children to explain their meanings and why they were formed to help reduce or prevent thoughts that may affect them adversely in the future.
Carli, Linda L. "Gender and social influence." Journal of Social Issues 57.4 (2001): 725-741.
Cvencek, Dario, Andrew N. Meltzoff, and Anthony G. Greenwald. "Math-gender stereotypes in elementary school children." Child development 82.3 (2011): 766-779.
Haussegger, Virginia. Wonder Woman. Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 2005.
Kite, Mary E., Kay Deaux, and Elizabeth L. Haines. "Gender stereotypes." Psychology of women: A handbook of issues and theories 2 (2008): 205-236.
Puchner, Laurel, Linda Markowitz, and Mark Hedley. "Critical media literacy and gender: Teaching middle school students about gender stereotypes and occupations." Journal of Media Literacy Education 7.2 (2015): 23-34.
Seifert, Christine. "Bite me!(or don't)": Stephenie Meyer's vampire-infested Twilight series has created a new YA genre: Abstinence porn." Bitch: A Feminist Response to Popular Culture (2008).
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