"Decode the gender role messages bombarding you every day. Donʼt let the outside world tell you how to think or act. "
TELEVISION & MOVIES
Television and Movies are in every household and people spend many hours watching it in a day.
With every show and movie comes a story that gives us ideas of how to live our life, how to be and how to act as a woman and man. It is important to not lose ourselves in these fantasies and not forget to live our life in the present. Keep in mind that we watch these stories in search of something – distraction, pleasure and so on, so ask yourself what you are looking for and why before you sink into these stories and fantasies.
Advertising is huge and part of our daily diet!! Be aware that mass media is an industry. Its purpose is to turn profits for companies, so there are reasons why the companies choose to market the way they do. When you sit down to read a magazine or watch a show, keep an eye out for the models and messages companies use to promote their products. Think about why they choose to cast those particular individuals in their ads.
The Music Industry has a huge influence on us. Have you ever listened closely to the lyrics of current popular songs? Many artists, both male and female, send messages about gender roles. Some lyrics and music videos portray an image of men that implies that “real men” have multiple sexual partners that “can’t get enough of them.” Images of women in music may often suggest that they are submissive or powerless.
We’re so used to music around us, it’s like a constant companion and for some it’s lonely to be without it. But music is not just sound that keeps you company, music always comes with a message and it puts you in a specific mood. Have you ever noticed how you feel really hyped up after listening to happy songs or your sad and sulky mood you’re in gets highlighted when you listen to slow and emotional songs?
Video Gaming is a huge business too and there are many video games that normalize sexualized violence against women – using them as objects for their pleasure and then getting rid of them, even by killing them and we fob it off as just a game.
However, it is your parallel created reality you live in and it affects you.
Have you ever noticed that video gaming is so addictive because you can have your own reality, planning and constructing a world where you’re in control without any consequences of what happens in there … right? Or could it be that there’s a overwhelm from the real world in which you can’t always feel in control and safe so the only way out is this virtual world.
So, it feels like there’s no other option than to distract yourself, because it’s so exciting and becomes more interesting than real life but in truth it makes it harder and harder to come back and be in real life. Although video gaming may be fun, ask yourself if it supports you in real life and how awesome it would be to be content and fulfilled in real life instead of feeling disassociated from it.
Internet pornography is a massive business and it is estimated that 30% of all data transmitted online today is of pornographic content. Its easily accessible, anonymous and readily available for any age group. Pornhub’s (one of the biggest porn business) advertisement slogan “All you need is hand”, transmits the underlying message that people can find ultimate happiness if they have access to porn.
Today porn is our biggest sex-educating medium, but what do men and boys watching porn learn? That a “real man” doesn’t need to respect a “no”, that violence is how he will fulfil the harmful masculinity norms that porn conveys.
Young girls are conditioned into thinking that sexual violence is what they should expect during sexual encounters. Pornography thereby promotes and perpetuates destructive masculinity norms, racist stereotypes, and sexualized violence.
It fails to teach us a sexuality based on consent, respect and equality—in fact, it teaches us the exact opposite.
So, when being a critical thinker ask yourself three questions:
- What is it that is being communicated to you?
- Why are you engaging with it?
- How is it affecting you and does it truly support you?