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Binary Opposition – Gender

First thought of during the 1950’s, binary opposition is a relation between two things as a pair of distinctive items but yet one is absent the other. In this case its gender and how males and females are different.

Males and females are represented as different from each other and not of their biological differences. Males and females both have their ideologies and represented as masculine and feminine for the most part by culture. The rise of feminism has tried to close the gaps on the differences but traditionalist views help retain stereotypes.

  • Women seen as desirable – In traditional Hollywood films as soon as a woman comes onto screen, the direction is completely different to that of when a man walks onto screen. They show the woman to be idolised and awed over for her beauty and nothing else. Her role in the films is just to give the male audiences something pretty to look at as she generally have no primary part in the film. By choosing certain women by their looks it sends out the view that all women should be like this and how other women not in the media should also be.
  • Major Roles – Traditional Hollywood films were produced by men and therefore wanted men  as the lead role since it being a sign of power also the audience is also seen as completely male and having a woman in a major role would be perceived as too feminine and men wouldn’t want to watch it as men grew up believing they were the stronger sex. Women and power never really went hand in hand as history tended to suggest. You could argue with the exceptions of a few monarchs but then how are the next monarchs decided? Even the roles of women in Shakespeare’s plays were played by men as actresses were seen as whores and derogatory. It took until the 1970’s with Alien that a women was majorly seen as the leading role in the film doing as men have done previously.
  • Toys – Children are given certain toys depending on their gender. A girl a Barbie and a boy an Action Man. Straight away children are set into cultural ideologies and grow up with it becoming second nature. Even as a child I was given DIY tools to play with as males are associated with DIY and has become a masculine thing. Even the builder’s bum has become a masculine thing and is just generally accepted. My sister on the other hand had a dolls house and a little play kitchen. Traditional women’s roles again are driven into our mind early in our lives and follow all the way through to adulthood where these ideologies continue.
  • Intelligence – Women are perceived to be less intelligent than men. The ideology is that men rule the world so therefore must be more intelligent than women. Media again helps reinforce these ideologies. Boys and girls used to to do different subjects in school, girls didn’t do geography and maths because society didn’t think they would need those skills. The media also perceive this to be true and exploit it to a male audience in order to make themselves feel better and more important.

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