The most prominent and common theme that struck me in reading this week’s articles was the idea of the media as a representation and mode of how society views gender and gender roles. In many ways it can seem as though the media dictates our attitudes toward how males and females should behave, but in truth it is people who control the media, and the attitudes they put forward are common with those of the larger society. In many ways it can seem like a never-ending positive feedback cycle in witch the media takes popular societal views, puts them into books, ads, radio, tv, etc, and feeds them back to us, thus cementing these previously established assumptions deeper into our minds and daily lives.
While reading this week’s articles, many pointing the finger at the media for our society’s unequal assumptions and attitudes concerning gender, I couldn’t help but recall an article I had read previously called, “Separate Confrontations: Gender as a Factor in Indian Adaptation to European Colonization in New France.” The article describes the resistance to Christian missionaries shown more dominantly by the indigenous women than men. Before the establishment of Christianity, Indigenous men and women living in Canada shared separate but equal roles necessary to the survival of the band. Men and women both had equal power in decision making, rights to sexual freedom, and rights to establish or abolish marriages. By introduction of Christianity, these roles and rights were drastically changed, and in some cases, eliminated. With this in mind, I began to question society’s values and gender assumptions as a result of religious teachings and expectations as, arguably, the earliest forms of media, and the beginnings of gender as a social construction.