How are women viewed by society is now largely a function of how they are projected in media and movies (which largely are the carriers of stereotypes and other cultural narratives) superimposed on their traditional role definitions.
In other words in societies where media has a great outreach they drive the stereotypes, where they don’t perceptions are driven by traditional cultural and historical definitions.
Whichever way the stereotypes gets framed there are two very distinct women stereotypes that have held sway over centuries. Both of them are so robust that they have stayed put across any patriarchal social structure across the world.
First stereotype is her role of a mother/chief nurturer and home maker and second is of her being a sexual being. So we either represent them in male supportive roles or as male fantasy clichés. Also their sexuality is objectified and the violence against them fetishised. These stereotypes are around the earliest roles women played in Paleolithic era and they have been so abiding that they have not been updated or rounded off since then.
There are various plays possible on these two paleo stereotypes which have also been explored once the advertising industry got into action.
How are these two types showcased and what is the result of their perpetuation is the subject of the infographic which details that once you create a gender stereotype (or a very impoverished representation of what an actual women is capable of) it leads to a false consciousness in both males and females.
With women it leads to a false beauty myth wherein they are bombarded relentlessly with images of unattainable beauty thus leading them to feel inadequate and deficient. They are being systematically programmed away from feeling their innate beauty and are being asked to conform to digitally altered standards of beauty. Here is a proof of how women are being conditioned by altered images of beauty fuelling their “beauty sickness”
For a more detailed perspective on how advertisers present the women’s body and its various modes of sexualization here is a detailed Ted talk from women activist Jean Kilbourne :
With men, it gives them a consciousness of a voyeur who looks at his victim with a single perspective.
The result of this false consciousness in both the genders is that it leads to loss of self esteem and anxiety in women and their structured oppression by men who view them from a narrow lens.
To highlight this lopsided presentation even more here is a look at a scenario where men are presented in the way, women are typically presented in advertisements:
and in movies:
So in a nutshell, women get stereotyped ( by traditional narratives and media) which leads to creation of false perceptions about them which in turn leads to the psychological as well as social oppression symptoms that we encounter all around us.
Having spent so much space, in defining the gender problem from a women’s perspective and its genesis, lets now turn to its possible solutions.