Thread: Gender Roles
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Old 2012-05-31, 16:50   Link #57
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Vereinigte Staaten
Age: 26
Originally Posted by Haladflire65 View Post
But where those ideas of masculinity and femininity come from in the first place is what I've been starting to wonder. I don't think they're completely "natural" notions. It's not the same everywhere around the world. For instance, I notice that Japan seems to have very different expectations for men than in North America - there're very few ripped men, it's okay for them to be sensitive in places like public TV... Korea on the other hand likes built men more I think, even if Asian men are naturally smaller. Female celebs there are also taller, more plastic-surgeried, and generally closer to Caucasian females that would be considered "attractive". A theory I have is that it's because Korea has been much more receptive to Western pop culture, while Japan is much more protective of their own. Korea has pretty much succumbed to the Western notion of masculinity and femininity, in my opinion. I still do think a lot of the cause is media.
yes, that's all true. But what I meant regarding notions of masculinity or femininity is that despite there being different ways in which they manifest themselves, the fact that they exist at all is a natural phenomenon. I may not have the same taste in women that my friend does, but we still have our idea of what qualities we'd like a woman to have. That ideal is thus what one would call "femininity", and unlike the way the mass media portrays it, it goes far beyond looks or acting like you're in heat.

People might have different ideas of attractiveness or masculinity and femininity but they'd still be greatly pressured by media whether they agree with it or not. I for one have stranger tastes when it comes to men - I don't really like those supposedly attractive young models, so my friends already think I'm strange. I'm still affected by media portrayals of men and women even if I don't necessarily believe in them.
I agree. I can't stand to look at the covers of many magazines with grossly exaggerated photos of half-naked oversexed women on them; sure I'll admit it can be stimulating* but I'd hate to have a girlfriend like that.

*=Baiscally, the point is to get you to look at it and then think with your balls and not your brain, and then you might spend some money.

Thinking about it again, I do definitely agree that the media responds to the masses, but it works just as strongly the other way around. I also agree with your statement that the media magnifies those stereotypical notions regarding both genders. I'm just not sure about preconceptions regarding gender being "natural".
Again, it's not that the preconceptions themselves are natural (since they can be changed), but that preconceptions of some sort regarding gender will inevitably manifest as long as humans stay biologically similar to what they have been for the last 10,000 years. Trying to stop men, for example, from having a conception of an ideal woman, as opposed to viewing them the same way as men, is like telling children that it's not natural to find sugar (or sweet things in general) tasty, even though some children might not care for it. This is what I mean by "natural".

Now there does seem to be a base-superstructure relationship between the media and the masses. In the past, the fashion and etiquette was determined by the upper classes and their artists, and then it became the proper mode for that culture. A lot of what those people liked was probably based on their personal tastes and musings, and not so much with the idea of influencing people around them. Now, in the age of industrialized capitalism, there are all kinds of superhuman entities all competing in the markets to make money. And with that the sexualization of genders began to escalate exponentially.

A few decades ago, most people buying stuff were men, and so the advertising appealed to men. So increasingly sexualized, objectified women were used to entice the buyers. It is a kind of sexism but ultimately the objective is to make money. Now, with females making up a big consumer population, objectified male images are also appearing. It's an ironic equality, in which men and women simultaneously objectify each other.

I'll make an analogy. In the USA, massive, intensely sweet cakes are very popular, probably more popular than more subtle varieties. Similarly, voluptuous bikini-clad women probably attract more men than conservatively-dressed or not-so-curvy ones. Now even if those more popular options were not available, children would still like sweet cakes as opposed to plain bread and men would still like good-looking women as opposed to ugly ones. The problem is not that the gendered ideal exists but that it has been broken down into a moneymaking tool without regard for the finer effects on male-female relations.

Thank you I'm enjoying this discussion; I haven't participated in ones like it in AS ever, I don't think!
Haha, you're welcome. Just don't spend too much time at it.
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