Nowadays, in this world it is hard to escape from the media. Our lives are ruled by television, radio, magazines and newspapers. Each one of these media sources can be accused of being sexist at some point. For example we see women in bikinis and high heels all over the newspapers and made – for – men magazines, not to mention page three girls in some of the tabloid newspapers. The reality is that men are often seen as the bread winners in a ‘typical’ family and women are often seen as the housewives and childminders, and I am aiming to find out why. Why are men and women stereotyped in this way?
And why is it that the media seems to encourage it? I chose to study this project because sexisim is something I feel strongly about, weather it be aimed at men or women. It seems strange to me why, even in the 21st Century, people are still genderising. I also decided to study sexism because I am very interested in what other people have to say, especcially other teenagers like me. Everybody knows that women are under more pressure to be beautiful and perfect so they can please their men but I would like to hear other peoples true opinions on the subject and why they feel the way the way that they feel.
I intend to carry out this investigation through two main methods. Firstly I will interview 20 people using a wide range of ages from 12 to 60, male and female. The advantage of doing interviews as a method of investigation is that I will hopefully get a more personal opinion from each person I talk to. Also, people tend to open up more when they are actually being spoken to by a real person. This is opposed to a questionnaire in which the person would just tick a box. Hopefully, by using this method I will get more detailed opinions from the people who matter, the general public.
Everyone should have an opinion on sexism and I hope I can find some varied answers to my questions. There are of course disadvantages to any method and this one is no exeption. I think that the downside to interviewing people is that I will not get any straight answers unless I specifically request that they give me one. For example, when filling out a questionnaire, there are boxes to tick ie. Multiple Choice. This can be very useful when It comes to collecting data and producing some results.
As the answers to my interviews will be spontanious, I will have to show every single one of my interviews in my project. Another slight problem is the fact that interviews take time to organise because people are not always free to sit down and talk for five minutes, also seeing as I have to be present at every single one, it also takes up alot more of my time. All in all I think that they are small disadvantages which can be easily got over. The second method I will be conducting is observation. During this I will look at two sources of media, Radio and Magazines.
For the Radio, I will sit down with a notebook and listen to a radio station (Radio 1) for 1 hour and note down any genderising comments or sexist jokes I hear. The advantage to this is that it is quite easy and enjoyable to do and not too stressful. Plus I cannot mentally or phsically hurt anyone. A disadvantage is that I have to be carefull not to be to paranoid and pick up on any small comment which was not meant as sexist in any way. I have chosen to listen in the time between 4pm and 5pm in which Chris Moyles will be airing his show.
He is often scrutinised for the content in his show and is known for making sexist comments about women. I think I am still being fair because at 4 o’clock, children are back from school and may be listening and I can find out just how much he dares to say. Also I think the analysis of his show will prove interesting for anyone who has not ever heard of him. For my magazine analysis, I plan to buy a magazine that tends to focus on something that both men and women are interested in, for example, celebrities. There are plenty of magazines which do that, to name a few, Hello! , OK! and Heat.
I have chosen to look at Hello! magazine. When looking at all the magazines available, I had to be careful not to chose a magazine designed for a particular sex. For example, Good Housekeeping is a magazine aimed at women who perhaps have a family as it provides recipies and solutions to health problems. Obviously they are stereotyping vastly here as men are often the cooks in a household and often have to look after small children. An interesting point to make is that in ‘mens magazines’ ie Loaded and What car? I find no recipies for the single parent and no tips on how to beat a winter cold.
All I find are fast, expensive motor cars and scantily clad women draped all over them. And of course the odd page devoted to football / Rugby. At least in Hello! I can be sure that the target audience involves both men and women. The advantage to this method is that it is interesting and sexist remarks are often easy to come by when a magazine is full of celebrities because the main focus on a famous person is usually what they look like. Finally, I think both of my methods will prove to be wise choices and will provide me with some very interesting results.