Social Stratification

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Social Stratification

Do you agree with Kilbourne’s observations that the way in which women are portrayed in advertisements is harmful to their self-esteem and/or leads to social problems such as eating disorders and violence against women?

There are several critiques of Kilbourne’s observations regarding the selective character of her studies. However, the true point about these observations is that they concern the overall meaning of a woman. Advertisements have transformed to a considerable degree during last decades. With the emergence of new technologies, it becomes easier to create a perfect image of a selling product. Nevertheless, it affects human’s perception of beauty. The majority accepts what is being portrayed in advertisements as an ideal, something, or someone regarded as perfect. Thus, people try to attain this ideal by sacrificing their physical and mental health. Many tend to copy the harmful lifestyle, which results in devastating consequences. Consequently, this overall situation leads to serious social problems that need to be solved.

Of the two approaches discussed thus far (Epstein’s nurture and Goldberg’s nature), which do you feel explains best why globally women are much more economically, culturally, and political disadvantaged compared to men?

In order to explain the disadvantaged position of women as compared to men, it is essential to address both approaches ad combine them. All the existing differences between men and women are based on their differences in terms of biology; thus, they play diverse roles in society. Men are stronger and faster which makes them perfect hunters, while women can take care of the household and future generations. However, this initial stratification is not applicable in terms of a modern world and its conditions. In developed countries, the gender roles have even switched in some cases. Consequently, this makes Epstein’s theory more adjustable and relevant. The disadvantaged position of women can be explained by the attempt of men to remain dominant in terms of their role in society. Therefore, the limited opportunities for women’s realization hamper their development globally as they are supposed to be responsible for their households instead of competing with men in various spheres.   

Of all the topics we discussed throughout the winter semester, which one did you find most interesting and why?

Each of the discussed topics represents serious subjects to think over; however, the most significant discovery is how the mass media affects the life of a modern human being. People’s thoughts and perceptions are mainly being imposed, in order to shape a society, where each member relies on what was taught or told instead of inquiring himself or herself. This is a serious social problem, which needs to be solved. Nevertheless, the perfect picture sells: which leads to crucial changges within society. For instance, women are suffering from eating disorders and are able to starve themselves in order to look like their favorite actress, singer or model. However, they rarely understand that people they have chosen as their idols are human beings, as well. The mass media imposes a distorted perception of what is truly beautiful whereas the created reality does not correspond with the actual one. 

When MTV’s Jersey Shore first aired, it was surrounded by controversy. Groups felt it portrayed Italian Americans in a negative way(?). Recently VH1’s Mob Wives has received similar criticism. Why do these groups worry and what does this criticism tell us about the historical treatment of Italian Americans in US society?

Both shows have received a substantial amount of criticism because of their distorted way of showing the main characters. Mass media plays a vital role in modern world, as it is responsible for shaping the people’s perceptions of various things or other people. Television imposes the only version of events, which makes the audience accept the proposed model of behavior towards something or someone. The ‘victim’ groups feel insecure due to inability to protect themselves; meanwhile, the majority tends to form a certain stereotype about them. Such stereotypes exist in society for a very long time, and it is almost impossible to get rid of other’s beforehand prejudice cultivated by the mass media.  

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