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  • Maria Ciechan

Media Representation: Shaping Narratives for Gender Inclusivity

Gender isn't just a concept; and its perception starts shaping up as early as infancy. By age three, stereotypes start cementing, influenced by various factors, an important one being media consumption. Individuals learn a great deal from the ways in which men and women and boys and girls are depicted in the media. 







The news media and audiovisual industries are recognized as influential in shaping beliefs, values, and perceptions, offering opportunities for transformative thinking and challenging stereotypes. Research consistently shows how media impacts our beliefs and attitudes towards gender. From reinforcing stereotypes to shaping societal norms, the influence is profound and enduring. Sadly, data shows that women only make up 24% of the persons heard, read about or seen in newspaper, television and radio news and are frequently portrayed in stereotypical and hyper-sexualised roles in advertising and the film industry.


Thus, media isn’t just harmless entertainment, as it contributes to real-world issues like sexism, discrimination, and harassment. There is particular concern regarding stereotypical, objectifying, and sexualized representations in media, which can reinforce restrictive gender norms and societal pressures to conform to traditional roles and body ideals. 46% of news stories reinforce gender stereotypes and only 4% of stories clearly challenge gender stereotypes.


Additionally, in today's world, where gender equality movements are at the forefront, the demand for gender equality in media representation is louder than ever. Yet, there's still a gap, especially in leadership roles and opportunities for women, as 73% of the management jobs in media are occupied by men compared to 27% occupied by women.



What's the solution? It starts with policy changes and an intersectional approach. By prioritizing inclusivity and diverse narratives, we can challenge stereotypes and empower marginalized communities. What can be done to have more inclusive gender representation in media:


1️. Inclusive Storytelling: Present diverse female characters with depth and agency. Positive representations challenge stereotypes and foster inclusivity.


2. Addressing Beauty Standards: Media shapes beauty ideals. By promoting diverse representations, we celebrate authenticity and empower women of all backgrounds.


3. Increasing Female Representation: More women in leadership roles mean more inclusive narratives. They champion diversity and create spaces for underrepresented voices.




In conclusion, the power of media in shaping societal perceptions of gender cannot be underestimated. From infancy through adulthood, individuals are influenced by the portrayals they see in news media, advertising, and entertainment. However, with this influence comes the responsibility to challenge stereotypes and promote inclusivity. By prioritizing inclusive storytelling, addressing beauty standards, and increasing female representation both on-screen and behind the scenes, we can pave the way for a more equitable and empowering media landscape. Through policy changes and an intersectional approach, we have the opportunity to reshape narratives, amplify diverse voices, and ultimately contribute to a more just and inclusive society.

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