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Women and Media

Autor:   •  September 24, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  695 Words (3 Pages)  •  873 Views

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Throughout the era of booming technology and ever shifting gender roles, the gradual erosion of traditional gender definitions is evident. The timeline showing the chronology of shifts in portrayal of women in media is crucial to demonstrate how traditional gender definitions are slowly deconstructed over time.

Having made her first debut in the early 1960s, Barbie brought the message "Girls can be anything" to the age of a new generation of girls and women (Boomen, 2009). It is important to note that despite claims that she symbolizes the ‘cultural plastic' phenomenon, Barbie has revolutionized girl's doll playing (Boomen, 2009). Before the invention of Barbie, girls were still playing with baby dolls that aimed to foster domestic skills and to prepare them for stereotypical future roles as mothers (Boomen, 2009). Acting as a counter opposite to the former girls play, Barbie is not a doll for girls to simulate and practice motherhood on. In fact, Barbie acts as a platform for girls to freely create and project on her any identity they wish to take on, only to be limited by their creativity. In summary, Barbie is not confined to the traditional social expectations of women. Beneath her seemingly stereotypical idealistic exterior, she is an independent career woman with estimated eighty professions, ranging from a presidential candidate to a nurse (Boomen, 2009). Barbie does not engage in domestic duties and as stated by Lord, motherhood definitely wasn't Barbie's area of interest (Boomen, 2009).

Subsequently in the late 1990s, Lara Croft emerged as the first main female character in video games. Prior to this, women only played supporting roles. As a female warrior, Lara was "eroticized as a woman and masculinized as action heroine" (Smelik, 2009). Lara embodied attributes commonly associated with the male persona: strong, independent, determined and ‘kick-ass attitude'. Analogous to Barbie's, Lara's figure is the idealistic female form, "eroticized on screen" (Smelik, 2009). Despite their sexualized image, the absence of permanent male companions in the lives of both Barbie and Lara emphasizes their narcissistic independence (Smelik, 2009; Boomen, 2009).

In the later years, 2003 and 2004, the female action heroine character took on a whole new form when Beatrix Kiddo from the movie Kill Bill egressed


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