Stereotypes of women are widespread in media and society

By on February 16, 2005

In society today certain images and stereotypes are reflected on women everywhere. Women are pressured to have hard bodies and silky hair, along with sparkling white teeth and abs of steel, but where do these stereotypes come from? Is it from the books they read or the schools they go to? Or maybe it’s from two of the most popular forms of media today; movies and television.

Millions of women are gathering around the television set to soak in negative images of themselves and others. Females are subjected to millions of half-naked women with perfect bodies, sparkling personalities, and flawless faces. Younger females feel inadequate, and older females fear aging. This image of the “perfect” person is not only very desirable, but also extremely unattainable.

The television industry has successfully convinced American women everywhere that there is something wrong with all of them. Either their teeth aren’t white enough, or their hair isn’t shiny enough. The major television corporations sell their products by convincing consumers they have imperfections which can be easily fixed by buying something; preferably something that they are selling. For example, if you are slightly overweight you buy weight loss pills or shakes, and if you have wrinkles on your face you buy anti-wrinkle cream.

In the television industry women are portrayed as dependent and venerable sex symbols, and men are portrayed as strong and aggressive protectors. The popular characters of Jessica Simpson from the hit reality series “Newlyweds” and Pamela Andersen Lee from “Baywatch” are two examples of the television industry telling women what they are supposed to look like, and telling men what they women to look like.

The media also frowns on women growing older, which by the way is the inevitable, no many how many pills they pop or creams they lather on their faces. Meanwhile older men are capable of holding their sexy status as they age. Women actresses begin to lose jobs as they progress in age; they are no longer cast in roles acting as sexy females, while men actors never experience any problem of that sort.

For example, in the early stages of Susan Sarandon’s career, she was very young and attractive. She didn’t have any problems landing roles of flirty, sexy women, particularly her role of Thelma in the 1991 production of “Thelma and Louise.” As she began to progress in age she was seen in films playing the characters of older, less desirable women. In the box office hits “Little Women” and “Dead Man Walking” she filled the roles of an older mother and a nun.

On the contrary, Sean Connery started out his career as a huge sex symbol for millions of women. As he aged he continued to hold his sexy status. In 1964 Connery was cast as the infamous James Bond in the production of “Gold Finger,” acting alongside Honor Blackman, otherwise know as “Pussy Galore,” and women everywhere swooned. Then in 1999, about thirty-five years later, Connery is seen onscreen again in “Entrapment” having a romance with Catherine Zeta Jones, who is half his age.

Television is a popular form of entertainment for millions of Americans, but it is doing more harm than good. I think every American should ask themselves what is more important, having a healthy self-image or getting in an extra hour of reality television. I am not saying that Americans everywhere should cut watching television out of their schedule completely, but they just shouldn’t buy into it as much. I mean seriously why are American women striving to look like these people?

In reality, Pamela Andersen has a plastic surgeon and Jessica Simpson has a personal trainer. These celebrities and all celebrities for that matter are paid to be beautiful; it pushes their career. Millions of women across the globe are working as lawyers, doctors, journalists and teachers. It’s not their job to be perfect; no matter what the media might try to make them believe.


About Maggie Wright