Female Stereotypes in the Media

Luba Pavlenko

Professor Bergland



Female Stereotypes in the Media



The media plays a large role ruling almost everything and everyone and creating social norms in today’s society. Because there are so many various ways to consume media through advertisements, television, and magazines, it’s almost impossible not to think about it. This is the starting line from where stereotypes are perpetuated and presented in the media, sometimes intentionally and sometimes not. Myself, coming from a conservative European background, and being a woman, i’m expected to clean, cook and be a stay at home mother. This by no means is a gender role assigned and portrayed through various forms of influenced media that should not be admired. By closer examining advertisements, movies/films, and articles, I was able to find many different ways women are stereotyped in the media.

Wonder Woman:

Wonder Woman is a revolutionary female superhero film and is a successful victory that deserves to be recognized for having a lead female actress, Gal Gadot, and a female director, Patty Jenkins.The production of this movie is an advancement for women living in this country and even in Hollywood production.The article, Inequality in 700 popular films opened my eyes to realize how poorly underrepresented groups/genders are portrayed in films and the immensity of the inequalities that are distributed within the making of the films. In the article, statistics show that across the 100 top films of 2014, only 15.8% of content creators working as directors, writers, and producers were women.Although it was directed by a woman and was classified to be a feminist empowerment movie, there’s a controversial side as well, coming from a sexual objectification standpoint. Women are already underrepresented in films, and when there are films such as Wonder Women, with a strong female character rold , the film industries still feel the need to objectify women, and make them feel weak as if they must be saved or liberated by man. Not to mention, Chris Pine’s role as the protagonist for the most part of the movie, while Diana just took demands from him. The only ultimate heroic act she displays is at the end when she has her final battles, whereas for the other part of the movie she’s just biding to him. Also the fact that her beauty is showcased and acknowledged throughout the movie undermines the purpose of her heroic traits. Not that there is something wrong with showcasing beauty on screen, but that takes away the moral of the the films dialogue regarding the heroine part of it. Instead of upholding the truths of her cultural past and Godly power inheritance, it takes away the empowerment part of the films agenda.

Killing Us Softly:

Killing Us Softly 4 Advertising’s Image of Women is the newest update of Jean Kilbourne’s examination of the way female bodies are scrutinized, objectified and derided in advertisements. Kilbourne portrays countless images she’s collected over the years. Though the ads seen in this film offer a wide variety of products, they share an unsettling common ground in the way they use a narrow, unattainable standard of female beauty and sexuality to sell them. The result is damaging to our collective psyches as far as the way we view real women and ourselves.

From this film, I can relate to the messages that it sends because, advertisements influence the clothes I wear and things that I like. This film also relates to my topic of how women are stereotyped and portrayed, even in the media. We get caught up to aspire the looks we see on television and in advertisements.

Gender Stereotype Susceptibility:

Gender Stereotype Susceptibility is a research article about stereotypes on males and females and how females are more influenced and affected by stereotypes. The article says that gender affects the performance on a variety of cognitive tasks and how they impact many cultural factors all because of our gender. The results are that there is a more pronounced impact on females, and that the valence of stereotype messages affect performances and negative influences are much stronger than those of the positive ones. The article deeper explores how gender relates to fluctuations in both cognition and behavior.

The way I can relate to this article is that since i’m a female and identify as one I am also influenced by stereotypes. It makes sense that females are impacted much more when it comes to the stereotype messages than men, and that’s also because we are known to be ‘weaker’. That again is another stereotype, that men are stronger and tougher, and women are weak.

Learning Moment:

A learning moment that came to me was during week 5 when we talked about Reflections in Hollywood films. There was an article that showed statistic on how underrepresented groups are protonated in Hollywood films. It was interesting to read about the Race and Ethnicity of characters coded in the top 100 films in 2014. Of all characters, 73.1% were white, whereas the rest were split between underrepresented racial/ ethnic groups. The statistics show that just over a quarter of characters in action and adventure films are from underrepresented groups, and this represents no change from 2007-2014. In comparison to the the top animated films of 2007, there has been an increase of underrepresented characters of 25.4%. Also in 2014 there were 17 films that did not feature on single black or African American character, and to compare that to directors, only 4.7% of directors were black across the top 100 films. These statistics show just how poorly underrepresented groups are portrayed in films, and shows an immense of inequalities within films. The statistics from this article helped to make some ties with how females are represented throughout films and associated with my research.


  1. Bastien, A. J. (2017, June 02). Wonder Woman Movie Review & Film Summary (2017) | Roger Ebert. Retrieved November 28, 2017, from
  2. Jhally, S. (Director). (2010). Killing Us Softly 4: Advertising’s Image of Women [Film]. Cambridge Documentary films Inc.
  3. Pavlova, M., Weber, S., Simoes, E., & Sokolov, A. (2014). Gender Stereotype Susceptibility. PLoS ONE, 9(12), PLoS ONE, Dec 17, 2014, Vol.9(12).
  4. Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative. (n.d.). Retrieved November 28, 2017.

8 thoughts on “Female Stereotypes in the Media

  1. It is interesting that you decided to write about this topic because it is such a prominent influence in our society today. I decided to tackle female athletes in our media, and I also addressed the sexualization that they face as well. As you know, many females who are involved in sports such as volleyball, gymnastics, cheer-leading, and even soccer–are wearing pretty revealing clothing when playing. I found an interesting article where female volleyball players were saying they feel more obligated to shave their legs to make themselves appealing to the audience. To have this mindset is honestly because of how us women are portrayed day to day in our main stream medias. Many female superheros are shown as sexual characters–a great example being Black Widow. I am fairly positive that I have not seen one shot of her on a movie cover poster where she isn’t popping her butt out for the audience. I think to fix this we really need to have strong female characters in movies and television shows that don’t come off as overly sexualized beings and can instead be fully recognized for other attributes.

    I loved your blog! Great job.


    • Hello Gabby,
      Im glad you loved my blog, thank you for leaving me feedback. Im glad we were able to address similar situations on how females are portrayed in the media, regardless if they are athletes, models, or superheroes. T

  2. I enjoyed your blog post. The imagery you inserted, especially the one with the lady and the sandwich, just validates how women are objectified in all aspects of life. This class was educational to me and week five also stuck out into my mind with females on the big screen. I like how you tied that all into your big picture. Great post-GOOD JOB. m

  3. I had fun reading your post! I wrote my blog on the representation of female college students in the media, and you addressed some of the issues that I mentioned. Oftentimes, women are shown as sexual objects in the media and it greatly influences the self esteem of growing young women around the nation. The pictures that the media is putting out oftentimes pressures young women as well to look and act a certain way. Good job!

  4. I couldn’t agree with you more Luba. When you look in the media all you see is “the perfect woman” consisting of being thin, and having long beautiful hair, a nice rack, perky bubble butt, and the perfect tan. All the Instagram pages I follow, more for their funny memes, have pictures of almost completely naked women and sexualizing them. This is what irritates me about the media is that this is what has to be the “beautiful, sexy” standard in America. Seeing ads for cheeseburgers from Burger King or Carl’s Jr. is more about the hot chick eating the burger than the actual burger itself. Why does this have to be how women are seen though? Just to get higher ratings or because they don’t actually know how to sell their burger? Even in Wonder Woman they still tried to sexualize her character. To me it’s sad to see things the way they are because it teaches the younger generations to be a certain way even if that’s not what they truly want for themselves. Overall though, I loved your blog!

  5. Very insightful! I think we have all been introduced to these concepts in one way or another, but every time I feel just as surprised and shocked when considering the tactics the media used to skew our expectations, and the repercussions of them. I also really appreciated how you broke things up and kept everything organized.

  6. Hi,
    I was interested in your topic because oversexualization and manipulation of women in media is something I am really against and disgusted with. I feel like society is getting a little better with the way it represents women, and there are companies, such as Reese Witherspoon’s company that purposefully only create and produce films about women and with women directors. Although our society is starting to take steps forward, I am still angry with the world I grew up in. I remember being uncomfortable with my body and the way I looked from as early as 2nd grade. A 2nd grader should not be thinking about the way they look! I hate the way the media and society makes girls and women feel about themselves, because men don’t typically have the same issues as we do. I hope that when the day comes where I bring a child into this world, she will be in 2nd grade thinking about friends and her school work, not how she looks.

  7. Hi luba,
    I was able to look at your rough draft and now seeing the final product really surprises me you did an awesome job completing the assignment with full requirement. Awesome job. Now about your topic as I stated before I love how you’re bring to the light issue that not many people are aware about. Since it has been done so much people don’t see it as a stereotype or as a bad thing. You were very insightful with this issue and bring out the emotion that you also felt about the subject it self. Again you did a great job luba!

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