In our 11th grade English class, we are learning about the stereotypical roles of males and females in society. The one that has lasted the longest is one where women are weak and not capable of standing up for themselves, and that they let the men run the show. Men are seen as strong and forceful, and take charge over women. These unreasonable gender roles are portrayed in television commercials, movies, and magazines, and much of the population gives in to these stereotypical characteristics of the sexes. The movie “Mean Girls” is a prime example of how the media encourages women to be superficial and an object to look at, instead of a person with a voice.
There are many negative effects of the media stereotyping men and women into these certain characteristics. Some men believe that they have the right to be forceful and domineering, and many women remain silent about their thoughts and concerns, masking them behind a wall of serenity and composure. In the case of teen dating violence, a male may believe that it is okay that he abuses his girlfriend. The girlfriend may not recognize or acknowledge this treatment as abuse. The media teaches women to sit back and appear clueless, and not stand up for themselves. The media’s portrayal of gender roles is completely ridiculous and unreasonable; they cannot force teens to fit into a certain standard. It is dangerous to females’ safety and self-confidence to allow men to push us around, and we must not believe the media’s description of how we should act.
Everyone is different, and we should not be forced to act, and react, in a certain way. We must reject these roles if we want to break free of society’s expectations and live a happier, safer, more independent life.
AWP Teen Volunteer