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Media and Gender Stereotyping: The need for Media Literacy

Author Affiliations

  • 1 Department of Mass Communication, Sikkim Central University, Sikkim, India

Int. Res. J. Social Sci., Volume 3, Issue (8), Pages 43-49, August,14 (2014)


Media’s role in a democracy is to bring mass awareness on political, social and economic issues. However, media channels tend to give preference to political and economic news items over social issues, especially the issue of women. This has lead to the issues on women take a backseat Media can play a significant role in sensitizing the society about gender issues. But, before that, the media itself needs to be sensitized in covering women issues. The distribution of power between the two sexes – both physical and economic- is unequal, leading to discrimination against women. Media exerts immense influential power on the masses; this cannot be undermined. Portrayal of women as equal has not been given the priority it deserves by the media. Women issues should be dealt in a sensitive, responsible way by the media. Declining sex ratio, rape, workplace sexual harassment, dowry-related crimes domestic violence molestation, eve-teasing and honour killings are some of the issues that the media needs to sensitize the society about. Total women empowerment can come about only if it includes political, social, cultural and other dimensions of human life. This happens only if development includes women participation and control over resources of power. The electronic media and particularly TV has become the most influential medium of mass communication. It is a disturbing trend when media negatively portrays women as “the weaker sex” who should remain subservient. Most disturbing, however, is the disproportionate coverage of sensationalized violence. Sexual brutalization of women has remained a highly marketable commodity. “Commodification” of women as “sexual objects” in advertisements should be stopped. Media can either be an accomplice to gender based discrimination or it can challenge the gender bias by providing balanced coverage.


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