Gender and Media Representations Assignment

Gender and Media Representations Assignment

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Final Project Milestone 2: Historical Context

Gender inequality is a persistent and deeply rooted social issue affecting women and LGBTQIA+ individuals. This issue has been recognized by organizations like Oxfam International, highlighting the biased treatment and discrimination these groups face in various aspects of life (Oxfam International, 2023). My interest in exploring gender as a social issue, stems from the need to understand the historical context and how it has been depicted in popular culture. To understand the impact of popular culture on social issues, it is crucial to examine the evolution of audience and social values over time. The past 50 years have witnessed significant changes in societal attitudes toward gender, with increasing recognition of the importance of equality and representation. Popular cultural artifacts, such as movies and music, have reflected and influenced these changes. Gender and Media Representations Assignment


Evolution of Gender Representation in Movies:

The movie industry has undergone significant transformations in its portrayal of gender roles and stereotypes. The quote, “Put some balls on that woman,” from Cannizzo and Strong (2020), reflects the gendered repertoires of inequality in screen composers’ careers. This quote suggests the persistence of gender bias in the film industry, where women may be expected to adopt traditionally masculine attributes to succeed. Over the years, movies have transitioned from reinforcing stereotypical gender norms to challenging and subverting them. Earlier films often perpetuated traditional gender roles, portraying women as damsels in distress or reinforcing the idea that men should be dominant. However, contemporary cinema has shifted toward more empowering gender portrayals. Female characters are increasingly depicted as strong, independent, and capable, challenging societal expectations (Santoniccolo et al., 2023). Films like “Wonder Woman” and “Mad Max: Fury Road” have challenged stereotypes, featuring strong and empowered female characters. This shift reflects a growing demand for authentic representation and narratives that break free from conventional gender norms. Gender and Media Representations Assignment

Evolution of Gender Representation in Music

Music has also played a crucial role in shaping and reflecting societal attitudes towards gender. The quote, “If we are habits, nothing but habits, is music a feminist failure?” from Macarthur (2022), questions the impact of music on feminist ideals. This quote prompts an exploration of whether music has contributed to or hindered the progress of gender equality. Historically, music has been criticized for perpetuating gender stereotypes, with lyrics often reinforcing traditional gender roles and objectifying women. However, as societal values have evolved, so has the music industry. Contemporary music reflects diverse voices, addressing gender equality, empowerment, and LGBTQIA+ rights. From the feminist anthems of the 1970s to contemporary artists challenging societal expectations, the music landscape has become a platform for expressing diverse perspectives on gender and identity. Artists like Beyoncé and Taylor Swift use their influence to advocate for gender equality, fostering conversations that resonate with evolving social values. Gender and Media Representations Assignment


The analysis of movies and music over the past 50 years reveals a dynamic relationship between popular culture and evolving social values. While both categories have historically perpetuated gender stereotypes, contemporary expressions within these artifacts reflect a growing awareness and commitment to challenging traditional norms. As society progresses, popular culture continues to serve as a mirror, reflecting and influencing the ongoing conversation surrounding gender inequality. Gender and Media Representations Assignment



Cannizzo, F., & Strong, C. (2020). “Put some balls on that woman”: Gendered repertoires of inequality in screen composers’ careers. Gender, Work & Organization.

Macarthur, S. A. (2021). If we are habits, nothing but habits, is music a feminist failure? Journal of Music Research Online, p. 12.

Oxfam International. (2023, November 21). Gender justice and women’s rights. Oxfam International.

Santoniccolo, F., Trombetta, T., Paradiso, M. N., & Rollè, L. (2023). Gender and media representations: A review of the literature on gender stereotypes, objectification, and sexualization. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(10). Gender and Media Representations Assignment

Final Project Milestone 3: Access and Community

The distribution mechanism of popular culture artifacts heavily influences the issues addressed within their content. In the case of movies and music, controlling distribution channels impacts the accessibility and visibility of diverse perspectives on gender, which consequently shapes the shared experiences of audiences and communities. They serve as a gateway through which dominant ideologies are reinforced, marginalized voices are amplified or silenced, and societal discourses are perpetuated or challenged.

Distribution Mechanisms and Their Control over Issues Addressed in the Artefact’s Content

The distribution mechanism significantly influences the issues addressed in movies and music concerning gender representation by shaping which narratives and perspectives reach a broad audience. Traditionally, major film studios and record labels have controlled distribution channels, often favoring content that adheres to mainstream gender norms and stereotypes to appeal to broad audiences. This control perpetuates the dominance of traditional gender roles in media, where women are frequently depicted in stereotypical roles, and LGBTQIA+ individuals are underrepresented or misrepresented (Santoniccolo et al., 2023). In addition, the gatekeeping power of distribution networks limits the visibility of alternative narratives that challenge existing gender paradigms, hindering the portrayal of diverse experiences and identities. However, the emergence of independent filmmakers, digital platforms, and grassroots music movements has begun to disrupt this hegemony, offering avenues for marginalized voices to share their stories and perspectives. Gender and Media Representations Assignment

Control of Distribution in Music and Movies

The control of distribution in movies and music is often concentrated among a handful of powerful entities, including major film studios, record labels, streaming services, and digital platforms. These stakeholders wield considerable influence over the visibility and accessibility of cultural artifacts, shaping audience perceptions and shared experiences (Morris, 2020). In the movie industry, major studios such as Disney, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures dominate theatrical distribution networks, exerting significant control over the types of films that reach audiences worldwide. Similarly, major record labels like Sony Music, Universal Music Group, and Warner Music Group command extensive distribution networks in the music industry, determining which artists receive mainstream exposure and promotional support.

This control impacts the shared experiences of audiences and communities at local, regional, national, and global levels. In globalized media, popular culture artifacts transcend geographical boundaries, influencing diverse communities’ perceptions of gender and identity. However, the concentration of distribution power in the hands of a few corporate entities can homogenize cultural expressions and limit the representation of marginalized voices (Pizzolitto, 2023). Gender and Media Representations Assignment For example, audiences in regions with limited access to alternative distribution channels may have narrower exposure to diverse gender narratives, reinforcing hegemonic gender norms and perpetuating inequalities. Conversely, communities with access to alternative distribution platforms and grassroots networks may engage with a more diverse array of gender representations, fostering inclusive dialogues and challenging dominant cultural paradigms. Thus, the controller of distribution not only shapes the content available but also mediates the collective experiences and social dynamics within diverse audience communities.


Morris, J. W. (2020). Music platforms and the optimization of culture. Social Media + Society, 6(3), 205630512094069.

Pizzolitto, E. (2023). Music in business and management studies: A systematic literature review and research agenda. Management Review Quarterly. Gender and Media Representations Assignment

Santoniccolo, F., Trombetta, T., Paradiso, M. N., & Rollè, L. (2023). Gender and media representations: A review of the literature on gender stereotypes, objectification, and sexualization. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(10).

Last week you researched the history of your popular culture artifacts. You also examined the audience for your popular culture artifacts and how each affected the other. This week you look at how access to popular culture affects society.


To prepare:

Review your two chosen popular culture artifacts/expressions.
Review your Final Project Worksheet from Week 1 and any feedback received.
Consider the following:
How does the distribution mechanism control the issues addressed in the artifactsâ€/expressions†content?
Determine who controls the distribution of your chosen popular culture artifacts/elements.
In what ways does the controller of distribution affect the shared experience of the audience and community? Keep in mind that a community may be local, regional, national, or global. Be specific in your discussion.

Submit a 400- to 500-word essay that addresses these questions as they relate to your chosen popular culture artifacts/expressions. Be sure to include:

At least three academically relevant sources. Gender and Media Representations Assignment

Provided readings

Holt, D. & Cameron, D. (2012). Fuse Music Television: Challenging incumbents with cultural jujitsu. Download Fuse Music Television: Challenging incumbents with cultural jujitsu. In Cultural strategy: Using innovative ideologies to build breakthrough brands (pp. 245–264). New York: Oxford University Press.

This reading is from a book called Cultural Strategy about innovative and insurgent marketing strategies for popular culture. The book addresses how popular culture finds and develops its audience and at the same time can restrict the development of new popular culture distribution organizations. The book as a whole includes discussions of everything from Nike, to Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, to branding social innovation. The selection above is about how a music video channel, Fuse, took on the giant MTV (Music Television) in an effort to reach the audience MTV originally appealed to: people who want to watch music videos, not reality shows or adult-themed cartoons.

Cultural Strategy: Using Innovative Ideologies to Build Breakthrough Brands, by Holt, D.; Cameron, D. Copyright 2012 by Oxford University Press – Books (US & UK). Reprinted by permission of Oxford University Press – Books (US & UK) via the Copyright Clearance Center. Gender and Media Representations Assignment

Federal Communications Commission Consumer Help Center. (n.d.). Obscene, indecent, and profane broadcasts Links to an external site.. Retrieved from

The following websites may be helpful throughout this course by demonstrating ways of analyzing pop culture texts as artifacts.

Critical Media Project Links to an external site.. (n.d.). Retrieved from
Pop Matters. Links to an external site.(2015). Retrieved from
USC Annenberg. (2014). Media, diversity, & social change initiative Links to an external site.. Retrieved from Gender and Media Representations Assignment



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