Growing up Female/Male in American in 2011- Differences in Expections in Relationships as represented by the Media

I think it’s important to notice not only how relationships are represented in media but how the expected roles of females and males differ from each other and how the representations of relationships themselves are actually different in advertisements targeted to men compared to advertisements targeted to women.


In the short film “Marry me” by Michelle Lehman, it was interesting to see how over the course of the “relationship” between the two children, the girl changed somewhat drastically and did not stop until she captured the boy’s attention. The main change that the movie focuses on is the bike. She trains herself to ride without training wheels to impress him, she diligently covers her bike with black permanent marker because he made fun of its former pink color, and she goes over the jump on her bike to get his attention. However, it is also important to notexternal image fox_megan_transformers.jpgice other changes, especially those in her appearance. She starts off wearing pink and girly pigtails but as the movie progresses and she finds out he doesn’t like “girly” things, she starts to wear her hair down and not curled, and doesn’t wear pink after that. It is kind of sad to see that this is the “expected” role of women and girls. We are expected to change for the guy while he just sits there not really paying attention.

These expected roles however are not universal. They change based upon the audience. It has become quite a pattern that in movies targeted mainly to men such as Daredevil and Transformers the female lead character is very physically attractive. It basically establishes that the role of women in relationship is to be a sex object.
This seems to be repeated or re-affirmed in print ads. If you compare fragrance ads for women to fragrance/cologne ads for men there is quite a difference. Womens' Perfume advertisements having a couple in them tend to have romantic sentiments. In this Ralph Lauren Romance advertisement the male is not really overexternal image ralph-lauren-romance-for-women.jpgpowering the female, it is not overtly sexual or violent. It gives the idea that the female and male in a relationship are truly partners and are equal. By not having a sexual nature, it gives women the idea that relationships are about more than physical attributes. However, the advertisements that men see for cologne give them a completely different ideology. Women are repetitively seen as sex objects or as inferior in some respect to men. In the Tom Ford advertisement all you see in the cologne bottle, the women's chest, and her open mouth. It demonstrates that extent of her role is to be physically attractive.

external image tomford2.jpg If females and males are getting different ideas of what relationships should be and how the two partners in relationship should act then the base and the assumed understandings and expectations of the relationship will be quite different for the two people. It is kind of a frightening concept to think about.