The Perfect Mold

Almost every movie, show and music video displays an unrealistic portrayal of a man or a women. The topic of women in the media is widely discussed around the world, but men also have unrealistic portrayals. Neither one is more great an issue than the other, both are huge problems for our society. Women are typically underrepresented or over sexualized. Men are represented as violent and tough or as “the perfect guy.” Without knowing it, these types of stereotypes affect how people see each other. It induces high expectations for both genders to conform to this perfect mold that is displayed in the media. Women walk around searching for a rugged, handsome “perfect guy”, and men go looking for women with large breasts and a blatantly obvious sex appeal. The media has so much power that it can make or break the image of a person.

When the topic of women in the media comes up people often have a lot to say and with good reason. Women in the media have horribly unrealistic representations. The Representation Project, in their YouTube video, shows a woman in an extremely revealing bikini eating a burger. This is a ridiculous advertisement because a bikini is in no way related to burgers. The woman in this ad has no reason to be wearing a bikini except to bring sex appeal. The video also shows a model posing for a picture and how even this beautiful women is digitally altered to conform to something she is not and could never be. These women put unreasonably high expectation other women and even on themselves. The altered bodies and faces are unacheivable to even the women they belong to. And still, this is the type of thing women see everywhere and then they grow to dislike themselves for not being able to obtain the perfect look. The Representation Project phrased it well when they said, “Women and girls deserve better representation.”

This type of representation is not just subjected to women, it also affects men. This is not as much of a widely discussed topic but is a huge issue. Men in the media are shown in a lot of different ways, like tough and rugged, or charming and handsome. This, like with women, gives men an unacheivable view of themselves. Julia Wood talks about men in movies like Lethal Weapon, and Die Hard that “star men who embody the stereotype of extreme masculinity.” This gives men the idea that they also need to be overly masculine and tough. They are shown with aggression, independence, and fearlessness.

Wood also uses reliable sources to relate ways that men are not represented in the media like men “are typically represented as uninterested in and incompetent at homemaking, cooking, and child care.” When men are represented this way it sends the wrong message, it shows men that they should conform to be just like the characters they see on the screen. Wood goes into detail and uses reliable source and examples to show that men are equally misrepresented in the media.  “Television programming for all ages disproportionately depicts men as serious confident, competent, powerful, and in high-status positions.” This is unrealistic and does not fit every man in the world.

Not only do these expectations make men and women unhappy with their bodies but it may also make some men and women feel out of place or strange. There are so many people in the world that it is impossible for them all to fit into one of two gender stereotypes. Sam Killermann explains that there are many different kinds of people in the world, in his Tedx Talk. He talks about how people assume he is gay because he doesn’t conform to the masculine stereotypes portrayed on television. He is more feminine than is expected, but he is not gay.

The media makes it difficult for people see past those stereotypes and accept that there are an undetermined amount of gender identities in the world. The media is working it’s way towards accepting more, however it is a slow crawl to get where it should be. All people are different and the media does not understand that. Instead the media scrutinizes those that express themselves in unusual ways. People in this world are either trying way too hard to fit themselves into the perfect societal mold, or they are pushing themselves to prove they are different either way, the media makes it difficult for people to truly be themselves.