Boys To Men: Media Messages About Masculinity

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Although the words are often used interchangeably, sex and gender do not share the same meaning. While sex pertains to the biological aspects that make a person either male or female, gender is socially assigned. Society constructs certain characteristics that apply to each sex, and members are expected to behave and appear in a way that is acceptable based on their biological traits. Because gender is socially constructed, the way people view men and women can easily be manipulated, thus creating stereotypes. The manipulation of gender roles can largely be blamed on media, which often serves to enforce stereotypes based on sex. There are three main classifications of men portrayed in media: professionals, singles, and fathers. Professional…show more content…
Professional men are often presented in television shows as highly successful and driven, promoting the stereotype that a true man must be powerful and wealthy. Successful male characters are ambitious and often desired by women, placing them in an influential role for young male viewers. The Children Now report “Boys to Men: Media Messages About Masculinity” by Joan Lapp, uses the term “big shot” to describe this common stereotype presented in media. Lapp states, “[The big shot] is the epitome of success, embodying the characteristics and acquiring the possessions that society deems valuable” (Page 13). The “big shot” is defined by his successful career and wealth in materialistic possessions and experiences. This stereotype is harmful toward the way society views males because it suggests that a man must be economically and socially strong in order to be deemed truly masculine. An example of the “big shot” stereotype can be seen in the Dos Equis advertisements of The Most Interesting Man in the…show more content…
An example of this type of situation can be found in the show Workaholics. Workaholics is about a group of male college dropouts who continue to live the “college life” well into adulthood, such as playing chess with alcohol instead of the actual pieces and spending their nights partying and doing drugs. In one scene, one of the main characters, Blake Henderson tells his friends he is taking a pole dancing class in order to meet women. He then proceeds to do a “striptease” in front of his friends, an act you would not expect from a grown man. From this scene, one can infer that Blake Henderson is highly immature and unintelligent, shown through his tendency to engage in nonsensical activities. This type of portrayal of single men is not limited to Workaholics. Many television shows and movies depict men in the same way, presenting them as highly inappropriate through their words and actions in an attempt to be comical. Unfortunately, the negative depiction can significantly alter the way in which society views men. Men begin to be thought of as immature, and society believes that any attempts to make them “grow up” are futile, because they will always remain in a Peter-pan complex no matter how old they get. Ironically, men are often the creators of these types of shows and depictions; therefore they may not be as harmful due to the fact that men themselves control the way they are presented in media. Regardless, media has a profound impact on the way

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