Popular Media and Culture

Popular media are some of the most powerful sources of cultural
representations in modern society. In today’s society, culture is
learnt through popular media as a main source of information. However,
popular media do not always teach the right things in society. They
sometimes contribute to structural oppression especially of women by
portraying women as weak and as lacking intelligence. This reinforces
gender stereotypes that women are incapable of performing some tasks or
that some tasks belong to men only. Thus, as much as popular media is
important in modern society, it sometimes does more harm than good by
perpetuating cultural stereotypes.
A good example is the series “Suits,” where the role of secretary
for the best lawyer in the firm was a woman named Dana. Dana was a
beautiful woman who did everything to make her boss comfortable,
including handling his personal life. Dana was portrayed as lacking
intelligence, and her biggest qualification for the job was her beauty.
The best lawyers in the firm were men and most of the big positions in
the firm were held by men. This perpetuates the cultural stereotype that
the roles of secretaries belong to beautiful women who are considered
unintelligent. Men, on the other hand, are the intelligent people in
society who are capable of handling hard tasks and performing duties
that require intelligence (Thistle, 58). Thus, women play supportive
roles for men in order for men to be successful. This has contributed to
the culture of women being secretaries and men being the bosses even in
modern society.
Rachael was also a paralegal in the law firm. She had worked in the
firm for a long time but had never become an associate because she
failed her SATs to join Harvard. Mike, however, became an associate in
the firm despite the fact that he had never been to law school because
he was intelligent. This shows that women lack the intelligence capacity
to succeed in life and that men are naturally intelligent (Thistle, 92).
Thus, though popular media plays a big role in highlighting cultural
issues that need to be changed, it also plays a role in propagating
cultural stereotypes and structural oppression of women. This has
contributed to women playing subordinate roles to men even in modern
society.
Works Cited
Thistle, Susan. From Marriage to the Market. California: University of
California Press, 2006. Print.
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