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Representation Of Women In News And

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Although half of the U.S. population and labor force is female, women aren't represented in news and photos at the frequency of men. One theory behind this statement is that reporters are preserving hegemonic cultural norms. Malhorta Rogers defined cultural hegemony as "the phenomenon of a dominant and oppressive cultural order being adopted by a majority of people because of the ubiquitous nature of the mass media and advanced capitalism". If women are underrepresented in newspapers, then newspapers unwittingly contribute to public consent of masculine cultural hegemony.

Hegemony is sustained through socialization and societal structures, which both work to preserve the class or group in power. Power relations are integral components of gender stereotypes and gender stereotypes can be used to keep women in subordinate roles. It is well known that women are perceived as more caring and sensitive and that men are viewed as more aggressive and dominant. Masculinity is associated with high status and femininity with low status. Feminists view gender as a contrast of the intellectual-rational and the physical-emotional. Because the intellectual-rational represents man and news is created for intellect, it is obvious that men would be dominant in news.

This article is based on a study that examined the representation of women within two newspapers. The study examined the representation of women in the content of these newspapers and compared it to the perceptions of the news staff and readers. According to the authors, "content was compared to perceptions rather than demographics because occupational statistics tend to represent the outcomes of a patriarchal system. Rather, by examining both male and female perceptions, we get a better sense of attitudes toward the system and determine how well content matches perceptions." The study found that seventy-five percent of the individuals in the newspaper stories were men and thirty-three percent of photos featured men. Women are found in more "feminine" sections of the paper and men in more "masculine" sections. Women did however appear equally in business photos and in entertainment sections. Newspaper staff knew that women were represented in entertainment. Although, more than half of all the news staff reported that news photos were more often of men. However, readers agreed less than news staff that women appeared equally in photos.

The conclusion to this study was that masculine cultural hegemony prevails in U.S. culture. The question to the results of this



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