Essay: Race Gender and Class

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Race, Gender, And Class

The work of Coy (2009) reports that popular culture is characterized by the contemporary "sexualization of culture" which provides a description for the "current saturation of erotic imagery, particularly of women, in popular culture" and the example cited is that of "advertising and music videos." (Coy, 2009) Several themes are described in the work of Gill (2007) stated to be defined as "prevailing in contemporary mass media" and to include: (1) women can use their bodies for profit as a means to power; (2) the importance of individual choice and makeovers as a reinventions of the self; and (3) a focus on the biological differences between women and men. (Coy, 2009) All are reported as being stratified by "social factors such as race, class, and age." (Coy, 2009) as well, all of these are "fundamentally reinforce heterosexual norms." (Coy, 2009) the sexualization of culture is stated to be identified "…as a context that reinforces gender inequality by designating women as sexually available and objectified": and this is reported as such that serves to perpetuate "associations of masculinity and predatory sexual prowess" as well as giving justification to "sexual violence." (Coy, 2009) in addition as noted in the work of Coy (2009) media that is sexualized relates messages concerning girlhood and womanhood that serve to "constrain the range of opportunities is open to girls and young women." Coy relates additionally that critiques of modern media state that media has served to replace "families and professionals as educators, assuming an authority of cool that renders it a 'super peer', thereby amplifying absorption by children and young people." (Coy, 2009) the problem presented by media advertising sexualizing the female gender is that children are not developmentally "equipped to recognize sexual meanings." (Coy, 2009) the biggest issue with the way that women are portrayed in media and advertising is the sexualization of women or the making women as purely sexual objects rather than portraying the range of talent and accomplishments realized by women in the worlds of business, finance, science, engineering, construction, agriculture and the many areas that women intelligently and effectively participate in and bring their influence and knowledge to everyday in the world. Women as marginalized as beings that exist for purely sexual reasons and this portrayal not only hurts the cause for women in their own eyes but it also hurts them in the eyes of the male gender as the male gender is not taught to treat women as intelligently equal and functionally competent beings capable of achieving just as much as is achieved and recognized by those of the male gender. This marginalization becomes inherent in the society where media and advertising effectively sexualize women and the role that they play in the world society. According to an article in Psych Central there is a "provocative new study" that appears to confirm that the portrayal of women in the popular media over the last twenty to thirty years "has become increasingly sexualized, even pornified." (Naubert, 2011) in fact, researchers at the University of Buffalo report that research has stated findings that "sexualized images of women tend to have far-reaching negative consequences for both men and women." (Naubert, 2011) the American Psychological Association Task Force reports that it was "tasked with examining the psychological theory, research, and clinical experience addressing the sexualization of girls via media and race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status." (2013 it is additionally reported by the American Psychological Association that research has shown that even teachers may hold the belief that girls of color are "hypersexual and thus unlikely to achieve academic success." (2010) Research findings additionally shown that sexualization of younger adolescents may result in a stronger impact since they are still developing their sense of self. Self-objectification has an impact on the female cognitively since it has been demonstrated to "detract from the Ability to concentrate and focus one's attention, thus leading to impaired performance on the mental activities such as mathematical computations or logical reasoning." (APA, 2010)

Question 2: One method that could be used in fixing the issue of how women are portrayed by local media, or that of a generalized sexualized portrayal, is to portray women more often as smart, capable and adept participants in the world society and in terms of the various occupations that are historically and traditionally male oriented work roles and demonstration of how capable women really are in these professions. As well, it is important that the accomplishments of women in traditionally male oriented roles is given sufficient media focus to ensure that a message of capable potential for the achievement of women is clearly emphasized. Girls should be encouraged to develop themselves academically and intellectually and the physical appearance should be de-emphasized not only in the home, but in the schools, and in society-at-large. The work of Coy notes how "how sexualization limits girls' space for action -- at the same time as it seems to offer opportunities for material gain, personal achievement and sociocultural acceptance, and thus widen girls' choices, it fixes sexualization as such a normal route that there is little space outside of it." (2009) Coy reports that an UK online survey of approximately 1000 girls between the ages of 15 and 19 years of age states findings including that "63 per cent considered 'glamour model' and 25 per cent 'lap dancer' their ideal profession from a list of choices including teacher, doctor." (2009) Coy reports that the five outcomes of the ECM Agenda are: (1) be healthy; (2) stay safe; (3) enjoy and achieve; (4) make a positive contribution; and (5) economic well being, all "have a number of indicators under which the sexualization of girls can be addressed. (APA, 2010) According to the American Psychological Association there are a range of strategies that can be used to address the sexualization of girls: (1) media literacy programs in schools to assist children to critically analyze media messages; (2) increasing access to sport and other activities; (3) more holistic sex education; and (3) campaigns to enable parents and carers to address the impact of sexualization. According to the American Psychological Association, one way to combat sexualization of women is for girls "to work together in groups, publicly and visibly, to protest sexualization, and to develop critical perspectives on how girls and women are sexualized." (2010)

The American Psychological Association additionally stated that there are political and activist movements and groups that provide support to young women and enable their expression of their feelings on these issues and as they "develop critical perspectives, and participate in activities in the public sphere that lead to social change." (2010) it is stated that many of these movements are local movements such as: (1) Hardy Girls Healthy Women; and (2) Mainely Girls in Maine, as well as those operating under the leadership of girls who are older and the leadership of young women including the Center for Young Women's Development in San Francisco.

The American Psychological Association report states "In addition to their work with local girls, many programs also make available (primarily through Web sites) descriptions of activities that other groups could implement (e.g., writing and staging plays, holding fairs, and developing innovative formats for girls and women to work together to implement specific social and political changes).The goals of these programs are typically to oppose objectification and sexualization, as well as to help girls identify and strengthen those characteristics that will result in less personal objectification and sexualization." (2010)

Question 3: According to the American Psychological Association "44% to 81% of music videos contain sexual imagery." (2010) it is reported that in videos "women, more frequently than men are presented in provocative and revealing clothing, are objectified, and typically serve as decorated objects that dance and pose and do not play any instruments." (APA, 2010) in the media industry, the five biggest challenges facing women are those listed as ECM goals, specifically the ability to: (1) be healthy; (2) stay safe; (3) enjoy and achieve; (4) make a positive contribution; and (5) have economic well being. Because of the sexualization of women, it will be extremely difficult for women in professional sports, the music industry, and fantasy and film animation to realize the five ECM goals of being healthy staying safe, enjoying and achieving, making a positive contribution and achieving economic well-being due to the sexualization of those with of the female gender. The reason that this is held as true is because women who are employed in professional sports, such as for example, Danica Patrick, all too often find themselves giving in and even fully participating in their own sexualization. For example, Patrick, a racecar driver is becoming well-known for her racy ads, scantily clad physical appearance, and overall sexualization of herself in media advertising. For women in the music industry and fantasy animation business this is much the same, as to participate in the music industry makes a requirement of sexualization of self for commercial and profiting purposes. Moreover, women… [END OF PREVIEW]

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