Media And The Crisis Of Femininity And Masculinity

If you want to know what is really going on in society look at the stories portrayed in media.

No matter where you are: in bed, in the shower, at school, in the office, in your car, having fun, this universe of commercial media, social networks and the internet follow us. We are in constant interaction with this technological reality. Family time and alone time now include a phone,the TV, a tablet or a gaming console. Even in the said “privacy” of a restroom it has become a common thing to twitter or SMS.

Children are being bullied through social networks in their homes. Teens are being bombarded with information that takes advantage of their insecurities. Peer pressure and social pressure has escalated. Unregulated child marketing has turned infants into one of the most profitable consumer demographics in the world. We are constantly fed a nauseous brew of sensationalism, dos and don’ts , gender behavior models voiced by the “modern gurus” found in hip hop lyrics, video games, Facebook statuses or news broadcasts.

We are fed what we crave and we have become addicted.

Don’t get me wrong.There are plenty of things that are pretty great about media, communication technology, access to information, internet as an equalizer, internet breaching distances to create o­­­­ne globalized humanity but frankly there are others that suck!

Let’s just take one of these issues : Masculinity and femininity .

Society has an ongoing crisis in masculinity and femininity.  For males growing up there is this tough guy social construction and pop-cultural imagery that has influenced us all.

The lone cowboy — the cultural icon of masculinity in America — suggests that “real men” should be emotionally stoic and independent; they should not need or rely on others; and they should, under no circumstances, cry. We repeat these expectations in our advertisements, books, movies and television shows. Ask any teenage boy, as I have over the past 20 years as a developmental psychologist, and they will tell you the same thing. To be a man is to be “emotionless,” independent and tough.Yet these teenage boys will also tell you something else …their desire for emotional expression, for intimate friendships and for the importance of such expression for their mental health… Sociologist Kirsten Springer studied 1,000 middle-aged men, and found that those who most rigidly adhered to ideals of masculinity (such as emotional stoicism and toughness) reported the worst physical health over a 40-year period. Psychologists Joseph Pleck and James Mahalikalso found that adhering to norms of masculinity such as emotional stoicism for boys and men is significantly associated with poor mental and physical health and with high rates of risky behavior and violence.”

Niobe Way Ph.D.Professor of Applied Psychology, NYU; author, ‘Deep Secrets: Boys’ Friendships and the Crisis of Connection’

I invite you to watch  these two videos Tough Guise and Miss Representation  and decide for yourself how you can be informed and take action.

Tough Guise
Violence, Media & the Crisis in Masculinity

Acclaimed anti-violence educator Jackson Katz

As women, we just need to look around to find our self-esteem  being  sabotaged. My daughter bought some clothes online  and suddenly  we start getting a magazine that we never subscribed to reknown for its  “glamorous” sexy articles, make up ads, star gossip and other “fast food” reading with titles such as: “What You Need To Know About Him”,”  “..woman’s name …Stole My Husband” “Pretty And Popular …female dog…”.

“Media is the most persuasive force shaping cultural norms, the collective message that our young women and men overwhelmingly receive is that a woman’s value and power lie in her youth, beauty, and sexuality, and not in her capacity as a leader.”                      

Jennifer Siebel Newsom … Miss

Miss Representation


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