What are the causes for the ways in which women are viewed and treated in society?
Social norms and cultural values are among main factors, which determine the interpretations about the definition of a woman. This is evidenced by the presence of new advertisements, which portrays women as social beings that are associable with success of their male counterparts. Sexism in the society has been in existence from the past. This vice has evolved when viewed from different perspectives such as in marketing, social and domestic roles, gender equality and workplace treatment (Kilbourne, 27).
In the modern society women are usually the prime elements used to develop “an effective” marketing or advertising campaign. Additionally, this is because sexual approaches are used to provide successful advertisements. In essence, sex sells; hence, women are misused on advertisements as they are viewed in society as sexual beings that can be desired and utilized for sexual gratification. On the other hand, some are viewed as solid foundations in homes as they are tasked with ensuring care for their families in domestic settings.
Sexism is against women and is actualized in numerous perspectives such as through the social and gender roles. All the changes in terms of interpretations and definition of women roles in the society are mainly due to the aspect of globalization and modernization. Modernization has resulted in the varying definitions of women in society. This is because of the varying treatment of women in the past and the current societies. This is evidenced by the change in gender roles of women from a past view of roles to a modern view of gender roles. Women are able to take positions in corporations, which were predominantly male (Kilbourne, 17).
In the advertising world, sex is considered a strong selling point or making an appealing advertisement to the consumers. Societies vary in terms of their interpretations of sexuality. In some societies, it is considered appropriate to discuss sexual issues whereas, in other societies, sex is considered a private issue. Sexuality over the years has gained prominence in public discourse as well as in the advertising world. This has been aided by the technological advancements which have provided the advertising and marketing world with numerous avenues for selling products from sexual; perspectives (Kilbourne, 19).
Sexuality has changed the definition of women since they are merely viewed as sexual objects, which could be desired. Advertising is considered the main product of mass media. It focuses on sale of all kinds of products and virtues. Essentially advertising has not changed over the years since it focuses on sexuality as the main approach for making sales of products or services. Women have been used as beautiful objects, which should be desired from a sexual perspective. Essentially women accrue success and wealth from using their sexuality as a means for having such achievements; hence, it is easy to assume that the modern definition and interpretation of a woman is consideration as a sexual being.
Socio-cultural settings are also determinants for the view and definition of women in the modern society. Essentially women face different exposures and consideration based on their culture and social settings. In modern societies, women are viewed differently in comparison to women who are considered differently because of the varying social circumstances and settings. Some cultures assume that women fall as insubordinate to men and are inferior in terms of intellectual capacities and physical abilities.
Gender roles in the modern society have been changing due to increased awareness by women in terms of their abilities and roles in society. In the workplace, women are gradually assuming roles of empowering other women as well as ensuring that they pursue their careers and attain respectable positions or roles in society. The increased awareness is also resulting in a presumption that sexuality could be used either positively or negatively to assume vital roles in the corporate world as well as in the society.
Social settings are viewed in terms of development and progress in education and societal issues (Gbowee, 12). In less developed societies, social norms have not evolved as expected since people use cultural norms in terms of treatment of women in society. Cultural perspectives portray women as inferior to men. On the other hand, women have been accustomed to roles of taking care of their families as mandated and provided for social trends and customs. Additionally, social trends in terms of development have resulted in new definitions of gender roles and the term sexuality. Women in majority of the societies around the world have been subjected to discrimination due to the consideration that they belong to an inferior gender.
Objectification of women has been driven by the presence of greed in society with respect to mass media. Mass media assumes this position because of the ability to interpret the women as either real human beings or objects for sexual gratification for men (Kilbourne, 21). Women are viewed as beautiful beings, which arouse sexual desires as portrayed in modern day commercials where sexuality and beauty is the main theme of advertising, and mass media.
Social interactions have resulted in a new breed of individuals which views beauty as the ultimate prize needed to gain attention, fame and individual success in modern societies. Women begin developing self-consciousness because of the information available in the mass media that a real woman submits to the urges of the body as well as needs of the male counterpart. Additionally, mass media contributes to the notion that, without a certain shape, certain beauty and characteristics, individuals would fail to achieve dreams of success and independence. Hence, the modern women are still embedded in shackles of stereotypes of sexualization and objectification of women (Kilbourne, 29).
In conclusion, media have also enabled the fight against inequality, discrimination and objectification of women. However, there are elements which are on the increase such as sexualisation and objectification of women due to need by women to attain growth, prominence and wealth through irrelevant means such as selling their photos for publicity and benefits associated with such exposure.
Gbowee, Leymah. “Liberian peace activist: Anger helped motivate me.” Morning Joe. MSNBC. September 12 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2011.
Kilbourne, Jean. “Women in Media: Killing us softly 3.” YouTube. 7 Sep 2012. Web. 16 Oct. 2012.